About Cardea

Four people of various ethnicities smile facing away from the camera

Who is Cardea?

We are natural conveners, experienced in connecting the dots between issues and moving beyond siloed approaches to health and well-being to integrative solutions. We are attuned to the interconnectedness of people and the environments in which they live, learn, work, and play.

As a women of color-led organization, we lean into our life experiences. We address complex issues by centering our values…by recognizing our collective humanity and seeking to lead and engage with humility, compassion, collaborative spirit, and innovation.

Our Mission

Cardea addresses complex program, policy, and systems issues by co-creating solutions that center community strengths and wisdom.

Our Vision

Cardea envisions a world in which optimal health and well-being, equity, and justice are realities for all communities.

Our Story

Cardea began in 1971 as James Bowman Associates. At that time, we were a small team, based in San Francisco, working on an Office of Population Affairs-funded Regional Training Center for Family Planning.

Over the last 50 years, we have grown into a national organization with offices in Austin, Oakland, and Seattle and with a geographically dispersed team focused on national, regional, state, and local initiatives and on initiatives with Indigenous partners.

Over the years, the breadth and depth of our work has evolved. Yet, because we stand on the shoulders of those who came before us, while much has changed, much has remained the same.

Cardea remains an organization that is deeply committed to equity, both internally and externally. We remain an organization that is committed to addressing complex program, policy, and systems issues, by co-creating solutions that center community strengths and wisdom. And, we remain a team that cares deeply about relationships.

Ultimately, relationships are at the center of everything we do. We care deeply about our relationships within and across the communities in which we work, our funders and partners, and our team. Through strong and trusting relationships, we believe that optimal health and well-being, equity, and justice can be realities for all communities.

As we look ahead, we see change on the horizon that gives us tremendous hope for the next 50 years. And, we are committed to working with you to deepen our impact.

Catherine Lesesne

Over many years, I have had the pleasure of working with Cardea team as a partner on several federal contracts. I can always count on Cardea to bring deep subject matter expertise, sincere understanding of community health programming, and constant commitment to high quality sexual and reproductive health services for all young people. When I work with Cardea, I know I will get 110% out of the partnership and best of all—I know they are just as much about our collective goal to make a difference for others.

– Catherine Lesesne, PhD, MPH
Vice President, ICF

Our Partners

Because relationships are at the center of everything we do, we believe that our partners’ insights about our work provide another way to understand who we are

In Celebration of April Pace

April Pace joined Cardea in 1991 and served as President/CEO from 2013 until her passing in 2017.

April inspired Cardea’s vision for a world in which optimal health and well-being, equity, and justice are realities for all communities. She was a leader in sexual and reproductive health and a strong advocate and leader in the cancer prevention, HIV, and housing movements. For many, April will be most beloved as a fiercely loyal colleague and friend who was radiant in her love and compassion for others.

Cardea celebrates April’s life and legacy to our organization and the field. We are forever grateful for her leadership, passion, and vision.

Let’s get connected

Are you ready to work with our team to deepen your impact? Reach out and, together, we can imagine a stronger future.