The 220 Years

We are settling into the extraordinary Tides Renewal Centre two blocks down the street from the old digs at 220.  And before the newness of it all wears off, before we are all once caught up again in the unrelenting pace of business as "unusual", I think its time for a moment of retrospection on the phenomenal years at 220 Cambie Street.

Renewal Partners, Endswell Foundation, Tides Canada, Hollyhock Leadership Institute, Canadian Business for Social Responsibility (CBSR), Centre for Integral Economics, Convergence Communications, OneNorthwest, and Yonathan Gordis Consulting all called 220 Cambie home at some point.

Hollyhock developed its renowned annual conference series in the offices and meeting rooms of 220.  PlayBig, Social Venture Institute, Social Change Institute, Canadian Environmental Leadership Program, Media that Matters and Web of Change constitute a powerhouse set of learning and "non-virtual" networking opportunities that enhance cross-sector effectiveness amongst non-profits of different issue foci and enterprises across the solutions economy.

Endswell funded many of the above, helping build strength and leadership for environmental stewardship in British Columbia. Thousands of grants were made.

Tides Canada was born at 220, and provided incubation services for over 200 Donor Advised Funds and 40 charitable projects across Canada. During the 220 years nearly $80 million dollars was directed towards environmental and social justice solutions through Tides.

220 Cambie was the hub for those groups who designed the cutting-edge global conservation development model around the Great Bear Rainforest.

CBSR grew to become an important national organization bringing sustainability best practices to large companies.

Renewal helped pioneer the field of Social Venture Capitalism, making seed investments in dozens of triple bottom line businesses and visionary entrepreneurs.

Yonathan Gordis went on to head an outstanding international program for young progressive Jewish leaders.

Jodie Tonita (of OneNorthwest) joined Robert and Judith Gass to take their renowned leadership development work to the next level.

Mike Magee is now Chief of Staff for Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson, himself one of Renewal's first investee entrepreneurs with Happy Planet.

At 220 we learned that the ripple effects that flow from intentionally shared office spaces create a 'sum greater than its parts'.  We learned that when social change financial tools of all kinds are applied over time to one region, real systemic change can take place.

The "220 Cambie years" are a testament to Carol Newell's commitment to investing in change. The legacy is a contribution to future generations.

The prayer is that a just and peaceful human world can emerge, living in balance with the natural world.


Great post, 220 Cambie was a hub of so much innovation and fun

This is a great post Joel, documenting some of the history of the last 10 years and the amazing shared space that you created there. I actually think that having you and your entities based in Gastown - while Gastown was still a bit dumpy and not very attractive to many orgs - has helped Gastown turn into the clear hub of social innovation and social change in Van that it is today. (just this week I had lunch at the new Nuba and knew half the people there, all cool social change folks)

It was always fun to visit your offices as it was like a daily "mini-SVI" reunion - the hub of so much activity and a gathering point for so many amazing change-makers.

I know your new Tides Renewal centre will be more of the same, on a grander scale! But I'll always think fondly of 220 Cambie.