Ian Potter partnership backs innovation

ICAN is excited to announce our ground breaking new partnership with the Ian Potter Foundation to explore the integration of Canadian Community Economic Development (CED) principles into our successful Yarnin’ Money financial capability program. Highlighting ICAN’s excitement, CEO, Aaron Davis said, “Receiving an Ian Potter Foundation grant is like winning an organisational excellence award, to even get past the initial concept stage is a big deal, they really take philanthropy seriously.”

The project builds on a two year friendship with Professor Jerry Buckland from the Canadian University of Winnipeg. Professor Buckland visited Cairns as part of an international study tour of Australia and New Zealand, exploring developments in Financial Inclusion in late 2016. With the help of Professor Buckland, both ICAN’s CEO, Aaron Davis, and Research/Communications Manager, Carmen Daniels, visited key Community Economic Development organisations and universities in Calgary and Winnipeg on an information sharing mission the following year.

As a result of this trip, Carmen Daniels and Yarnin’ Money Coordinator, Eddie Buli, were invited to Vancouver, Canada, to present at, and participate in the ABLE Financial Empowerment conference, hosted by Prosper Canada. The conference, held at the Radisson Richmond Hotel on May 8th & 9th 2018, brought together Canadian practitioners, academics and government agencies with an interest in financial empowerment, research and working in diverse communities.

The team was very excited to present the Yarnin’ Money program and to share best practice in financial capability with practitioners from Canada. The conference theme, “Financial well-being for all”, allowed ICAN to learn about innovative financial empowerment initiatives being delivered across Canada and the United States. One area of interest for the ICAN team was the inclusion of Community Economic Development principles in their financial literacy and capability activities.

This interest led ICAN to submit a proposal to the Ian Potter Foundation to build on the Yarnin’ Money brand to develop a Yarnin’ Business and Yarnin’ Jobs program, with learnings from key Canadian Community Economic Development organisations, Momentum (Calgary), SEED (Winnipeg) and Prosper Canada (Toronto). The Ian Potter Foundation board accepted ICAN’s proposal in December 2018.

“If you visualise a three circled Venn diagram, the juncture between the government, corporate and community sectors is where true Community Economic Development lies,” said Mr. Davis. “Each sector can add so much value to the other when we all work together in the best interests of the communities we serve.”

ICAN is planning a study tour to Canada in April/May 2019 to visit Professor Buckland and key Community Economic Development organisations, Momentum, SEED and Prosper Canada. It is expected that learnings from the tour will inform the development of our Yarnin’ Business and Yarnin’ Jobs financial capability programs. “We’re really excited about learning how we can influence the income generation side of the budgetary equation”, said Mr. Davis. “Looking at expenses can only do so much when you’re living on the poverty line.”