Reimagining Community Partnership

2 minute read

By most accounts, Kindred Credit Union (Kindred) and Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) are wonderful success stories in their respective sectors. The credit union is a leader in values-based banking, continuing to grow in a competitive financial marketplace, while MCC is recognized as a leading relief and development organization in Canada and internationally. Both organizations have strong communities of support and continue to engage new people in their respective missions. With a shared history and many points of connection, why mess with a good thing?

“We see the needs in our communities continue to offer us new challenges,” reflects John Head, MCC Ontario Executive Director. “What has worked in the past may not be what will work in the future. Being strategic in the decisions we make, there are opportunities to leverage our strengths with other like-minded organizations.”

There is remarkable alignment between Kindred’s Community Inspiration Framework, and MCC’s work in Ontario. Still, it takes intentional work and resources to make impactful ideas come to life.

“MCC has been such a valued partner for all these years and we want that to continue for many years to come,” says Kindred CEO Ian Thomas. “So we asked ourselves, how can we intentionally and creatively deepen our partnership for greater impact? What are the strategic decisions we can make together?” 

Through 2021, in the midst of a pandemic and only able to connect through video conference, leadership and staff members from both organizations worked through a collaborative design process to answer these questions. The outcome was a renewed commitment to working together on a new stage in our partnership

The principles of this continuing relationship centre on a spirit of learning, innovating, and collaborating. It will focus on common interests, whether a particular community population, theme, or area of development, and then look to build on each other’s capabilities and leverage each other’s networks. The partnership design is focused on the creation of an Innovation Committee that has been allocated time and financial resources to pilot new initiatives for shared impact. The results of these pilots will strengthen the existing work of Kindred and MCC.

“I’m energized by the work we have been doing together,” says MCC Associate Director, Kim Lester. “We are building something new with tremendous potential to impact our work and the communities we serve. I’m looking forward to the creative and inspired ways we can build communities of peace and justice, locally and globally.”


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