ACEM’s (Montreal Community Loan Fund) mission is to fight poverty and exclusion through an innovative approach: community credit.
ACEM seeks to democratize finance through the participation of our investors and borrowers, to create an inclusive and prosperous society.
Fair & equal opportunity to access credit
Low income individuals have the ability to develop and manage economically viable projects.
Trust in the potential of every human being
Poverty is not in itself, a factor that increases the financial risk associated with investment in a project.
Leveraging the potential of communities
Investing in projects with a positive social, environmental and economic impact.
Creating opportunities for the disadvantaged
Special attention to women and people belonging to cultural or visible minorities who are particularly vulnerable to poverty and exclusion.
ACEM provides accessible credit and technical support, using social impact investments, to people and communities underserved by mainstream commercial banks and lenders. We provide business plan training, loans for business start-up & expansion and loans for foreign credential recognition. We work with low income populations, primarily women (single mothers), youth, immigrants and visible minorities.
ACEM’s impact in the community
Social and economic justice
For ACEM, economic poverty is not a factor that, in itself, increases the financial risk associated with investment in a project. Rooted in this belief, ACEM promotes community participation in the search for solutions to socio-economic problems.
Popular and Financial Education
ACEM actively participates in discussions on different alternatives in the credit sector, as well as in the reflections concerning the fight against poverty. Thus, ACEM seeks to educate potential investors, community groups and to influence policy makers to create a more prosperous and inclusive society.
ACEM is a community actor at the local and national level. It is a founding member of the Réseau québécois du crédit communautaire (RQCC). In an era of globalization, ACEM knows that it is important to not limit our reflections to only Quebec or Canada. We believe that organizations that see themselves as part of a development alternative and those in the microcredit movement need to meet, share experiences and to build networks.
ACEM is a pioneer of the social and solidarity economy movement in Quebec and in Canada. Established in 1987, and recognized as a non-profit organization in 1990, It is registered as a charitable organization with both the Canada Revenue Agency and Quebec’s Ministry of Revenue. ACEM grew out of a grassroots initiative, as a response to the economic crisis of that period. An umbrella group of ten community organizations* formed a community economic development centre: Corporation de développement économique Communautaire – Grand Plateau (CDEC-GP). Together they were looking for an investment model that would be flexible enough to support the needs of disadvantaged populations and to respond to one of the structural causes of poverty – lack of access to capital.
The Institute for Community Economics (ICE) of Springfield, Massachusetts, USA, played a very important role in creating Canada’s first community loan fund. ACEM’s initial years were built on the foundation of support from the School of Public and Community Affairs, Concordia University, Investment structures (Fonds de solidarité de la FTQ and United Church Revolving Loan Fund), government and other community organizations.
We would like to acknowledge the special contribution of the founding members of ACEM: Lance Evoy (retired director of the Institute for Community Development, Concordia University), Marguerite Mendell (Professor, School of Community and Public Affairs et Director of the Karl Polanyi Institute of Political Economy), Eric Shragge (retired principal of the School of Community and Public Affairs, Concordia University), Yvon Couillard (formerly a community organizer & currently director of GEIPSI) and Delfino Campanile (formerly a community organizer & currently director of PROMIS).
The first twenty five years of ACEM has been built by many volunteers and Board of Directors with a steadfast commitment to our mission. While they are too many to name individually, we need to make a special mention of Mr. Roger Snelling who was a Board member and the President of our Board of Directors for at least 20 years. His devotion to community building and the equitable sharing of resources has made a lasting impact on many people who have passed through ACEM’s doors. We have named one of our rooms after Roger Snelling to honour his legacy of social justice and goodwill.
* The ten community groups representing unemployed youth, immigrants, refugees, single mothers and people on social assistance of the Grand Plateau district of Montreal:
– Tel-ressources (organisme travaillant auprès des ex-détenus)
– Centre portugais de référence et promotion sociale
– Service d’aide aux Néo-québécois et immigrants (SANQI)
– Collectif des femmes immigrantes du Québec
– Amitié chinoise de Montréal
– YMCA International
– Collectif des jeunes sans emploi
– Centre de ressources de la troisième avenue
– La Monoparenté
– Association pour la défense des droits sociaux (ADDS)
Board of Directors
Board of Directors 2016-2017
ACEM’s team 2016-2017
Loan Committees and Volunteers