Donating the Time to Do it Right
Giving back to the community is a vital piece of the Canada ICI puzzle, although you won’t often see the company patting itself on the back. “One of the things that we could do a better job at is promoting our nonprofit work,” says Kyle Edwards, Director of Mortgage Origination at ICI Calgary.
There is no better example than the Glamorgan project. When the nonprofit organization Horizon Housing decided to build a $34 million, 161-unit affordable housing project in Calgary, Kyle and his fellow Director Tye Reidie offered to help — they simply knew it was the right thing to do.
In the past, Horizon Housing has typically fulfilled their low-income housing mission by purchasing existing buildings and restoring them to accommodate Calgary residents in need. This time, however, they realized that housing hundreds of Calgarians meant building new construction.
“This was the first construction project that Horizon Housing undertook on their own, and they simply did not have the expertise to do it,” Kyle says. Not only was Horizon in uncharted waters for the first time, but the Glamorgan project was also the first project of this type funded through a new initiative from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s (CMHC), a government-run corporation supporting Canadians in need of proper housing.
“The process was different because we weren’t sourcing capital from a traditional financial institution,” Tye explains. “We were sourcing capital from a government-funded program that had been announced, but had not had any successful applications through the program as of yet. We were the first going through this process. Until somebody jumps all those hurdles, you don’t know what’s working and what’s not.”
Thanks to Kyle and Tye, Horizon Housing and CMHC were able to make the Glamorgan project a reality. It certainly wasn’t an easy process, and Kyle is quick to point out that many in the commercial mortgage industry would never have allocated resources to a project like this. “It was great that our management allowed us to do that,” he says.
“Obviously, we’re devoting time and our knowledge towards something that may not be profitable for the company, but it’s something that can make a significant impact on the people in our community.”
Kyle asserts that he and Tye didn’t take on the Glamorgan project for any sort of personal gain, though he does admit that “there’s certainly personal satisfaction when you’re driving by and seeing it. When you see it completed, and you can see 160 families move in, that feels pretty good.”