By Alina Kleinsasser
You may not have heard of Cambia Development Foundation, but if you live in London, it has likely impacted you or someone you care about. Cambia have contributed more than $500,000 to London charities, and continues to give grants to charities in London and beyond.
Co-tenant Lina Bowden and her husband Chris Bowden founded Cambia, a private family foundation, with their own funds in 2009. With only three board members, Cambia is a small foundation with a big impact.
“Cambia,” says Lina, “is how our family makes our contributions to the community and internationally.”
Cambia provides an annual disbursements to registered Canadian charities, with the majority of these grants going to the London area and projects in Northern Peru. Some of the London-based organizations that Cambia has supported are Pillar Nonprofit Network, Unity Project For Relief of Homelessness in London, United Way Elgin Middlesex, Make-A-Wish Southwestern Ontario, and Heart-Links. Cambia provides in grants between $50,000 to $80,000 to the London community annually.
The grants charities which receive from Cambia are often directed to support specific projects. One such project is London Girls Rock Camp. It’s a summer music camp for girls, but it teaches much more than just music.
“What is ends up doing indirectly is empowering girls to stand up for themselves,” explains Lina. “The girls form friendships and a band, and they have a performance at the end. Some of those bands have gone on to stay together after the camp.”
Cambia also supports communities in Peru through programs run by Canadian charities such as London-based Heart-Links. Cambia’s donations in Peru have helped launch a social enterprise and support a community centre.
Cambia finds its own community at Innovation Works, where Lina and Chris use their flex desk to work on Cambia and other projects.
“It’s a wonderful space to get out of your own head,” Lina says. With over 200 co-tenants using the space, Innovation Works has plenty of networking opportunities. Lina praises the diversity of Innovation Works’ co-tenants, noting that they come from backgrounds in business, academia, and non-profit, among others.
“Innovation Works is a great place for us to get plugged into the community,” Lina says. “When we hear about things that are going on in the community that interest us, we let them know about Cambia and tell them that we would welcome a proposal from them.”
Lina has been connected to Innovation Works since its beginning in 2014. After her retirement from a career in finance, Lina volunteered with Pillar Nonprofit Network to support social enterprises. When Pillar founded Innovation Works, Lina lent a hand with her financial expertise.
“I was part of the committee that brought Innovation Works to life,” she says.
Lina continues to support Innovation Works and its mission. “I believe in what Innovation Works stands for and what it has the capacity to do,” she says. “It brings change makers together.”
Would you like to work alongside incredible humans like Lina and others? Consider joining us at Innovation Works!
Also don't forget to check out the many upcoming events happening at the space.