It’s been a hard week for many of us.
I’ve noticed at conferences and gatherings that there are many colleagues in the credit union movement who don’t get into politics, and at times that’s a lovely respite from all the arguing. We all want to see our communities increase their self-reliance. Whether you’re in the movement because you like to see a non-governmental actor dive into the solution or because you see the need for progressive financial institutions shoring up what should be the government’s responsibility, we are working toward common goals.
"We all want to see our communities increase their self-reliance."
In this uncertain time we are entering, our core values are likely to be pressured, and many of the people we’re here to serve will need increased support. We need to have healthy discussion in the movement about our purpose. Our “why.”
I came across this excellent five-part podcast from NPR’s On The Media about poverty in America called Busted: America’s Poverty Myths. I believe this should be required listening to any of us who believe in the core purpose of a credit union to increase the financial inclusion of our neighbours. What would result if groups of people in your co-operatives listened to this and came together, book-club style to discuss? What would happen if we invited our boards and members into that dialogue? Poverty is real and often our belief in a meritocracy is just that: more a belief than a reality.
I offer up the following for discussion.
William Azaroff is the VP of Community Investment at Vancity, a values-based financial co-operative serving the needs of its half-million member-owners and their communities. He is also the proudly elected Board Chair of Modo, a car-sharing co-operative in Metro Vancouver and Victoria.