Record $5 million social impact investment made by Lucie and André Chagnon Foundation in Windmill Microlending

May 17, 2022

Montreal – Windmill Microlending, a national charity that supports the advancement of skilled immigrants and refugees, has received a record $5 million investment from Quebec-based Lucie and André Chagnon Foundation. This is Windmill’s single largest social impact investment since it launched its innovative community bond program in 2017.

This investment will allow Windmill to offer over 500 low-interest loans, transforming the lives of more than 500 internationally-educated immigrants and refugees, and their families. Windmill’s affordable loans and wraparound coaching supports enable clients to more than triple their incomes, on average.

Windmill, offers accessible loans of up to $15,000 to help skilled newcomers pay for the costs of accreditation, education or professional development, in order to achieve professional success in Canada. The charitable organization has served more than 7,000 clients across the country since 2005. Since launching in Quebec in 2019, Windmill has served over 150 newcomers in the province with microloans to empower them to achieve career success.

Immigrants and refugees in Quebec and Canada experience a lack of recognition of their international credentials, and an under-utilization of their skills and knowledge in the workforce. Many new Canadians experience these barriers despite critical labour shortages in sectors such as health care, information technology and community services, in every part of Canada. Statistics Canada recently reported the country reached an all-time high of nearly 1 million job vacancies and its existing labour force is aging faster than ever. In Quebec alone, the government projects “no less than 1.4 million vacant positions to be filled by 2030.”

“We are tremendously grateful to the Lucie and André Chagnon Foundation for its confidence in Windmill’s model for converting potential to prosperity,” says Windmill CEO Claudia Hepburn. “Thanks to their transformative investment, we will empower hundreds more internationally-trained doctors, nurses and engineers to put their skills to work here, where they are so badly needed.”

“This investment complements the philanthropic contributions that are at the heart of our mission,” says Dominique Frenette, Vice-President of Investments, Lucie and André Chagnon Foundation. “A core aspect of our mission is to ensure that all young people living in Québec can develop their full potential. It is a value Windmill shares and we believe our investment will help to foster the integration of newcomers and their families and help build a more inclusive and equitable society.”

Windmill’s community bond program enables investors to put their capital to work for the benefit of newcomers. Windmill clients grow their incomes on average by 3.6x, while unemployment drops from 42 to 8 per cent. Windmill’s repayment rate is over 97 per cent.

About Windmill Microlending

Windmill Microlending works to reduce poverty, inequity and labour shortages by offering affordable loans to help skilled immigrants and refugees restart their careers in Canada. Our vision is to ensure skilled newcomers are equitably integrated into the workforce while contributing their expertise to Canada’s economic and social success. We are the country’s only national charity providing financial support to new Canadians to achieve their accreditation, training and professional development goals. Funded by both the public and private sectors, Windmill converts newcomer potential to prosperity.

About The Lucie and André Chagnon Foundation

The mission of the Lucie and André Chagnon Foundation is to prevent poverty by helping to create conditions that will enable all young people living in Québec to develop their full potential. To fulfill its mission, the Foundation provides long-term support for organizations and networks that are working together to improve their capacity to develop sustainable initiatives aimed at advancing those conditions. Learn more at

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