Bill Young, social finance leader, on why he’s a donor and investor in Windmill Microlending
Published May 29, 2020.
As one of Canada’s leading voices on social finance, Bill Young is all in on Windmill Microlending. Now the Chairman and Founder of Social Capital Partners, and former CEO of Hamilton Computers and Optel Communications (later Axxent), Bill supports Windmill as a donor and a community bond investor.
Windmill Microlending empowers skilled immigrants to achieve economic prosperity by providing microloans and support. Windmill offers low interest loans for education, training, licensing and professional development to a highly educated and experienced cohort who may be ineligible for credit elsewhere. Windmill’s proven model has been addressing chronic unemployment and underemployment of immigrants and refugees since 2005.
“You’re going to have a hard time finding a better place for your donation budget or your impact investment budget than with Windmill Microlending.”
The organization has lent over $70M to more than 8,500 newcomers since 2005, including over 1,000 loans in the past year. On average, Windmill’s clients see their incomes more than triple. While newcomers are often categorized as risky by financial institutions, Windmill’s repayment rate is 97%. Last year, The Logic named Windmill one of Canada’s most innovative non-profits.
“You’re going to have a hard time finding a better place for your donation budget or your impact investment budget than with Windmill Microlending. We know how important immigrants are to this country, we’ve all seen immigrants who must take survival jobs. Windmill’s model works, the data shows it works and it’s a really important issue.”
While Windmill supports newcomers pursuing a wide variety of professions, over 60% of clients are in the healthcare field, including doctors, nurses, dentists, pharmacist, medical technicians and researchers. These clients will be crucial to the future of Canada’s healthcare system, now, in six months, and in the next two years.
“Canada needs more doctors, nurses, medical technicians and epidemiologists. Internationally-trained physicians have been vocal about feeling unable to contribute during the COVID-19 response,” says Windmill CEO Claudia Hepburn. “Achieving credentials in Canada can be an overwhelming process for internationally-educated healthcare workers, but we can make sure finances are not a barrier.”
Bill’s enthusiasm for Windmill has only grown with time. “As a philanthropist, I like to make long-term bets. I think about it the way people think about their investments in the private sector – find a company with a great strategy, a great management team, and impact. Windmill does all of this really well.”
For more information about how to support Windmill Microlending as a donor or investor, please contact: Sarah Stuewe – Associate Director, Philanthropy at firstname.lastname@example.org.