Momentum celebrated a big anniversary in 2016. For 25 years now, we have been taking an economic approach to social issues, and adding a social perspective to local economic development. The pressures of our struggling economy brought out the best in us, and this year has been one of our finest. We are grateful to our board and staff, participants, investors and community partners. We proudly invite you to celebrate this work and the successes you have helped make possible.
Portion sizes for 2016:
- 3,770 program participants in 2016, and 43,000 since 1991
- 98% participant satisfaction across the organization
- 27 micro business loans paid in full with only 6 written off, 42 new loans issued
- 300 assets purchased with matched savings, including 10 homes
- 98% of Trades Training participants passed the pre-apprenticeship exam
Everything we do is grounded in the principles of community economic development. We work with individuals living on low incomes to increase their ability to manage and save money, start a career or create their own jobs. We work with businesses and communities to build and sustain the local economy from the ground up. And we work with all sectors to help remove system-level barriers, allowing people to become more financially stable.
Momentum’s work is guided by our strategic vision, and our reference point is the strategic map that board and staff developed together in 2011. It’s a five-year map, not the more common five-year plan: it sets a direction to guide us through time, rather than laying down fixed goals that might lose their relevance when confronted with changing circumstances. It’s therefore a living document, one that we use consciously and deliberately, and review annually. We have had to adjust our responses to remain effective—for example during this recent economic downturn—but our strategic direction of contributing to the resilience of our community, our participants and our organization remains unchanged.
In the 2011 strategy, the board and staff identified Momentum’s culture as our competitive advantage. It’s what allows us to attract and retain talented people, offer innovative solutions, relentlessly pursue results and build a financially resilient organization.
This report to the community celebrates a key aspect of Momentum’s culture: We make time for fun and laughter, and always for good food. Join us, then, as we explore the Recipes for Resilience that have served us well in 2016.
Must-haves for a resilient kitchen
Just as you might keep key ingredients and equipment on hand to prepare your favourite recipes, Momentum’s pantry contains what is essential for our Recipes for Resilience.
Values: These fundamental principles and beliefs are the key ingredients in all our actions and decisions.
- Compassion and Social Justice
- Equality and Respect
People: We focus on building relationships, knowing that more cooks make for more delicious meals.
- Participants—living on low incomes, and ready to invest in themselves
- Staff—talented, innovative, engaged, empowered and earning a living wage
- Volunteers—community members who enjoy working with participants and being inspired by their motivation, perseverance and successes
- Formal and informal community partners—hosting off-site programs, acting as referral contacts, involved in mutual work to make changes at the systems level
- Financial partners—people, organizations and government investing in lasting change
Programs: We offer a unique suite of asset-based, community economic development programs. They are the feature items in our buffet.
- Money management skills
- Savings to purchase assets, including education, tools for work or a home
- Skills training
- Work experience placement for employment
- Entrepreneurship training, including business-plan development
- Micro loans for business start-up or expansion, or to get a better job.
Money: Empowered by our forward-thinking investors, we strive always for financial stability, accountability and resilience. This ingredient is essential for every Recipe for Resilience.
- Revenue longevity—with multi-year funding agreements, we hire and plan more effectively
- Revenue flexibility—with agreement from funders and donors, we work to ensure revenue can be used in all areas of need
- Revenue reserves—with money in the bank, we can innovate in areas where funding is not yet available, which is how we began our public policy work; we can carry programs and staff if funding is cut, until further funding can be found; and we can respond to sharp increases in demand, as during the economic downturn
Practices: We and our participants work hard, and celebrate our successes—often with food.
- Relentless pursuit of results, and equal commitment to building relationships
- Culture of continual improvement and a willingness to experiment
- Commitment to transparency and striving for inclusive decision-making
- Acknowledgement that strategy is important, but culture is critical
- Focus on strategic thinking, more than simply strategic planning
- Ability to respond to a changing environment
- Research-based approaches that create a strong base in programs and system-level interventions to reduce poverty