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Why philanthropy should be ingrained in workplace culture

BOWERBIRD Interiors Directors Lauren and Geoff Lewis are passionate about raising money to save the lives of children with cancer.

Bowerbird Interiors CEO Dare to Cure childhood cancer

Cancer kills more children than any other disease, ending the lives of three young Australians every week.

For BOWERBIRD Interiors Directors Lauren and Geoff Lewis, they were personally touched by the agonising reality facing more than 1,000 families every year.

“Our little daughter’s friend, who she went to preschool with, died of brain cancer when she was five years old,” Lauren shares with The CEO Magazine. “Having it that close and watching Milan and her family go through that was just horrific.”

Working with the Children’s Cancer Institute (CCI) as Ambassadors of the 2021 CEO Dare to Cure, the BOWERBIRD Interiors Co-Founders have made it their mission to help end childhood cancer.

“Prevention is always better than cure,” Lauren says. “The research side of things and helping to prevent cancer with better treatments is just so important to us.

“We’ve heard of some incredible stories of children who were told they were going to die and have gone on the Zero Childhood Cancer program and now they live healthy, happy lives.”

With medical prevention the only way to end childhood cancer, funds are crucial. And the CCI’s CEO Dare to Cure has raised millions since it was established four years ago.

“Sometimes people feel stressed – but do you know what’s stressful? Having a child with cancer. That’s stressful.” – Lauren Lewis

It’s little warriors like CEO Dare to Cure child Ambassador Huey who truly inspire leaders to tackle dares and raise money. At just 10 weeks old, Huey was diagnosed with Stage 4 neuroblastoma where a five-centimetre tumour impeded on his breathing and spread to his liver. After eight rounds of chemotherapy and countless blood transfusions, today Huey is living a healthy, happy life. However, every day his parents are faced with the threat of their five-year-old son relapsing.

Watch this special message from Huey and his mum Jill:

Helping to raise money for effective pioneering treatments for children like Huey, the BOWERBIRD Interiors Co-Founders have raised A$90,447 and counting – placing them among the highest fundraisers for CEO Dare to Cure in 2021.

“We’ve always tried to donate to different causes and we’d funnel money to different charities,” Geoff says. “What we realised was we’d rather go really, really deep with one and make it more meaningful.

“It’s been really rewarding to take our contributions to a different level with CCI.”

Aside from genuine passion to create a better world, the entrepreneurs embedded philanthropy across all aspects of their business as a CCI corporate partner.

“The better we perform as a business, the more we’re able to contribute to something so much bigger than all of us.” – Geoff Lewis

From committing to raising A$100,000 through multiple initiatives (including CEO Dare to Cure) and pledging to donate A$100 to the CCI for every project BOWERBIRD Interiors books and installs (in September, October and November 2021), to dollar-matching every donation their employees make, the awe-inspiring creative leaders hope to truly make a difference.

“We looked at what was possible in a more holistic way and have integrated the CCI into a whole bunch of our business activities,” Geoff reveals. “We’re pegging our results to our ability to contribute – our team is starting to wrap their heads around that now.

“It’s not just about business revenues and profits. The better we perform as a business, the more we’re able to contribute to something so much bigger than all of us.”

Not only does the mission create a richer workplace culture, but it also allows for a greater perspective and understanding in life.

“Recently one of our sales girls felt so overwhelmed and so busy, but when she stopped for a minute and realised we’d been able to donate another A$13,000 to the CCI from all her hard work, that’s when she instantly connected with why she’s doing it,” Lauren explains. “Sometimes people feel stressed – but do you know what’s stressful? Having a child with cancer. That’s stressful.”

It’s this well-rounded approach that the Co-Founders believe all business leaders should embrace.

“Hopefully there’s millions of people like us who can band together to make one huge difference,” Lauren says.

And more than 200 of Australia’s top executives will be doing just that at CEO Dare to Cure.

Held at the iconic Fleet Steps at Sydney’s Royal Botanic Gardens, CEOs will take on their dares on 23 November, 2021 from 6.30am.

Representing Team Huey, the husband and wife duo will be taking on the Extreme Fitness Challenge, led by none other than F45 Co-Founder Luke Istomin.

“We want to be part of winning the fight against children’s cancer,” Lauren says.

Donate to Lauren and Geoff Lewis’ Extreme Fitness Challenge for CEO Dare to Cure here.

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