Cindy grew up in Coquitlam and studied Political Science at SFU, where she met Ryan Beedie. They married 25 years ago and moved to West Vancouver, where Cindy raised her three children, now aged 22, 20 and 17, as a full-time mom.
- How did you become interested in philanthropy?
- “The biggest donation that we’ve made as a family was to SFU in 2011 (which established the Beedie School of Business), and that kicked off us getting connected to the philanthropic community in the city. We had a lot more people approaching us to tell us more about what they do and we got a lot more educated about the needs of the city. “The father of my husband’s friend had been the original architect on the previous renovation of Powell Place, which is a downtown zero barrier women’s shelter. That means it’s for women who have used up all options for places to stay and don’t have anywhere to go. It’s an emergency shelter but often women stay there longer. He approached me and asked if I would go down there and check it out. It was really moving for both Ryan and I. Powell Place asked me to Chair a capital campaign in 2012 and that’s when I really started to understand more about the Downtown Eastside and what women in particular are facing there. Our campaign was successful and we doubled the number of beds from 26 to 52.”
- Why did you become involved with Cause We Care?
- “I connected with Andrea Hill and talked about what she was doing. I feel very compelled to give to organizations that are supporting people living in real poverty. I love what Cause We Care Foundation does for women and their children, so I became involved with making donations and it’s grown into something much greater than that now. I love what Andrea does and what the organization is about: I really like helping these children and mums. “Feeding children is something else that I feel very passionate about, such as the Cause We Care after-school programs that give them a place to go after school to do their homework and get a nutritious snack while their parents are working. It’s incredibly supportive and makes a big difference for the children. “I’ve been very fortunate and I haven't had to have the struggles or make the choices that other women have to make between covering their heads or putting food in their kid’s tummy. I feel very blessed and I can’t imagine the hard choices that some women have to make on a daily basis. As a mom we’re engineered to have our offspring survive so we give everything that we have to our children so that they don’t go without. A lot of these women are struggling on $50 a week for groceries, I can’t imagine.”
- What other causes do you support?
- “I’m also involved in the One campaign, which has some overlapping similarities in that its most recent international campaign is that poverty is sexist. Poverty hits women much harder than it hits men. It exposes what really happens to women and their children. “Another cause that our family and the company, Beedie Development Group, gives to is the Vancouver Sun’s Adopt-a-School breakfast program at Burnaby’s Douglas Road Elementary School. We all know when you’re hungry you can’t focus and you can’t learn as well. We all need to look at the fact that these kids opportunities for learning are limited by their opportunity to be fed. “I’m honoured to be part of Cause we Care and really believe in the work they are doing for the women and children of the community.” We’re thrilled to welcome Cindy Beedie as our newest board member this coming November at our AGM.