Social Capital: Shawna Cunningham

Meet the Londoners working to make a meaningful difference in our community

Shawna Cunningham

Passion: Hope’s Eating Disorders Support

“HOPE’S EATING DISORDERS Support is a not-for-profit organization that provides education, resource support and advocacy for individuals 16 years and older, as well as for their family and friends, who struggle with disordered eating or have been affected by an eating disorder.

I started volunteering with Hope’s four years ago after seeing a posting for board members on the Pillar Nonprofit Network website. I started by working on a policy manual, then moved into the role of board president. It’s a small organization with a limited budget, with one part-time staff person and a small group of volunteers that set the vision.

Hope’s has survived with the kindness of our community and the willingness of people who have been there and have a desire to give back. Businesses sponsor fundraising events, people leave bequests in their wills, we receive all kinds of support in big and little ways.

We’ve been through significant changes in the past two years. We closed our physical office and now provide more of our services and resources online rather than face-to-face. We have very low overhead, so when we hold fundraisers like paint nights, people know that the money is going into programs and services.

We run four or five group programs a year. We rely on community partners to provide free or discounted space for our groups, and community professionals who we contract to deliver programs like art therapy.

I just finished my two-year term as president of the board, and I plan to stay on for at least a year to mentor and support the incoming president. Volunteering with Hope’s is not really taxing on your time, because you recognize the significant value it offers for people who really need it.”

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