Borrowing Power

Community Mortgage Movement brings social entrepreneurship
to mortgage financing

Photo: Andrew Young is co-owner of Mortgage Wise Financial and founded Community Mortgage Movement in 2015

WHEN ANDREW YOUNG’S father died in May 2011, he wanted to honour his memory by doing something that would make his dad proud.

The London mortgage broker—and co-owner of Mortgage Wise Financial since January 2018—made a conscious decision to start giving back.

Young explored his philanthropic options through the London Community Foundation’s Engage! London program. He began volunteering, and founded Community Mortgage Movement in 2015 as a way to deliver financing solutions to his clients while supporting worthy community initiatives.

With every residential or commercial deal that Community Mortgage Movement funds, a portion of Young’s commission is pooled and invested in the AY Foundation at the London Community Foundation. Annual proceeds are earmarked to support London charities and community organizations.

“This approach allows the endowment and our donations to grow,” Young explains. “And the foundation will be around a lot longer than I will.”

During its first 12 months of operation, Community Mortgage Movement was able to distribute $10,000 to local charities and community organizations. Last year, it granted more than $15,000.

“All of our charities approach the same major donors in London, so donations are going down. I wanted to start something small that could grow and be self-sustaining in the long-term”
Andrew Young

The charitable focus is on five broad categories that ­contribute to building a healthier community: health, social services, environment, education and children.

Young works with the London Community Foundation and their bi-annual Vital Signs report to identify areas where funding is most needed. “Then, I like to do a site visit. I meet the people in charge. I want to see what they are doing so I can understand the impact they make,” Young explains. “That’s when we start granting.”

Past recipients include Merrymount Children’s Centre, Community Living London, Animal Rescue Foundation of Ontario, My Sisters’ Place and Literacy London.

One of the greatest impacts Young has seen is with Literacy London, a small not-for-profit that offers adult literacy and numeracy training. “The Vital Signs report found that 20 per cent of Londoners have literacy challenges. That number was staggering to me,” he notes.

Young hopes Community Mortgage Movement’s fusion of corporate profitability and charitable giving will help bridge funding shortfalls by allowing individuals to engage in what he calls “passive philanthropy.”

“The landscape of giving has changed,” comments Young. “All of our charities approach the same major donors in London, so donations are going down. I wanted to start something small that could grow and be self-sustaining in the long-term.”

Clients are buying into the Community Mortgage Movement’s concept. Now Young hopes other mortgage ­brokers and realtors will join the movement. “It’s a beautiful, scalable way of doing business and giving back to our ­community at the same time,” he says. “It may be impossible to fill all of the funding gaps, but we can dream.”   Nicole Laidler