Personal inspiration provides for community innovation

September 18

By Sean Meyer


Andrew Young has been a mortgage broker for 13 years, but he’s been a son his entire life, so when his father passed away in May 2011, he decided to combine his grief with his professional skills in the most inspiring way he could.

That inspiration led to the creation of Community Mortgage Movement, a co-operative approach to supporting the community while delivering the best financing options and service to his clients. Put simply, every time someone chooses Community Mortgage Movement, they are also giving back to the cities they live in.

While the movement’s mission is community minded, it was created to support an extremely personal motivation.

“When I lost my father . . . it was a little bit of a shock, he died of a massive heart attack. After that happened, I was just looking for a way to eternally make him proud of me,” Andrew said. “He was 61 when he passed. The thing was, we were past the point of father and son and we were buds who exchanged stories about cars and girls, prior to my mother of course. After he passed away I was looking for an outlet, a way to give back.”

The idea of giving back to the community a percentage of every deal he makes is only part of his mission. Not only is he supporting various charities in the short term, he also holds back a portion and contributes it to an endowment fund.

Andrew’s fund, operated through London Community Foundation (LCF), means he is not only helping current needs, but ensures he’s giving in the future too.

“I follow the Vital Signs report (which LCF puts together every two years) and that’s how we choose what companies we give to. They are thoroughly vetted to make sure the money is going to the right place,” he said. “It’s a great source of pride. Every holiday season I get cards from these different organizations I’ve been able to help. Last year, from My Sisters’ Place I got this handwritten card that made me cry. That was a special kind of result.”

Although he could have operated Community Mortgage Movement from his kitchen table, his connections to the city’s non-profit agencies made it natural he would end up finding space as a co-tenant at Innovation Works.

A big fan of not only Innovation Works, but the Pillar Nonprofit Network that operates it, Andrew said the more he discovered about the space, the more he wanted to be around those who were like-minded — disrupters and innovators like himself.

“Everyone in this space is very open-minded and doesn’t mind sharing what they are doing,” he said. “A place like Innovation Works, which is full of big thinkers who are collaborating in a big space, how could you not succeed? How could you not grow in a place like that?”

Since joining Innovation Works, Andrew said he has been struck by how many “honest conversations” are had within the space, adding he finds it inspiring people honestly ask how someone is doing, how their business is going, and if there is anything they can do to help.

It’s the type of “truly genuine conversations,” that surprises him the most.

“It’s bizarre. I used to work for the banks and that’s a very different culture,” Andrew said. “London isn’t really known for being innovative, thinking outside of the box. When an opportunity like this happened, I wanted to invest in it, get a desk here and share in the energy of this place.”

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