One of the benefits of success in business is that it provides an ability to support other organisations who are focused on improving the world and societies that we live in. Philanthropy is something Stuart and I are very passionate about and feel a real sense of obligation to pay that success forward into a range of activities and causes, all of which have hit a chord to engage us in some way.
The fantastic team at Epic have joined us in supporting many of these causes, and more recently we have also been thrilled to see our children start to actively participate in the philosophy of giving as well.
AEIOU and Very Special Kids have been core charity partners of Epic for an extended period of time now. AEIOU, who deliver early intervention programs for children with autism, was first introduced to us by their founder Dr James Morton and his passion and enthusiasm, combined with an extremely sound financial operational model, provided a compelling case for supporting an organisation which has helped so many Queensland families. That support has been ongoing for many years now with a number of members of the Epic team participating in one of the organisations core annual fundraisers, Take-A-Hike, and Stuart’s love of a good costume ensuring that there is always plenty of additional opportunity to up the fundraising ante!
Our support for Very Special Kids came through a closer personal connection, as we’ve seen the impact this wonderful Melbourne based childrens’ hospice has had in supporting long term friends who have a child with a serious health conditions requiring 24-hour care. Our Victorian teams happily jump on a treadmill each year for their 24-hour Treadmill Challenge, with teams around the country supporting their efforts with local fundraising morning teas and events. This year’s event happens this Friday May 22, and you can support the Epic team here!
In addition to these two core partners, Stuart and I have identified a number of other causes which resonate with us and which we’ve been delighted to support. I was approached to participate in the inaugural Dancing CEOs event in 2014, which raises funds for the vital work Women’s Legal Service do for women who are experiencing domestic violence. Sadly, this is an issue that has been gaining increasing prominence as the number of women impacted continues to climb, and one that had a personal connection for us and Epic after a former team member tragically lost her life at the hands of her partner several years ago.
Similarly, St Vincents’ invited me to take part in their annual CEO Sleepout fundraiser for the first time in 2012, and the more I found out about the facts around homelessness, and the people behind the statistics, the easier the decision to participate was. This will be the third time I’ve packed my sleeping bag and slept out in what is an incredibly well run and impactful event, and fundraising for this will kick off in earnest once the VSK event is wrapped up this weekend.
Stuart and I were thrilled when Sascha and her friends decided to form the first Girl Up club in Australia last year, and get involved with this UN Foundation initiative that sees girls raise funds and awareness to support other girls in developing countries. We’ve seen how empowering the opportunity to get actively involved in work that makes a difference is, and look forward to her and Sam having the chance to do more of this.
We’ve recently started doing some work with a Brisbane based organisation called Man Up, which provides support for men affected by prostate cancer. While also being active supporters of the Icon Cancer Foundation, the not-for-profit arm of Icon Cancer Care, we felt Man Up provides great messages encouraging men to proactively look after their own health, an area that doesn’t always receive as much focus as it needs, and were delighted to help them with this important work.
With an increasing portfolio of philanthropic activities to manage, we’ve decided to bring them all together under a new banner, and what could be a more appropriate name for this than Epic Good.
The activities to support our existing partners will be coordinated through this new entity going forward, and we’ve just signed off on a number of exciting new initiatives that will see us significantly expand our philanthropic scope in the 2015 – 16 financial year. More details to come soon!
The range of organisations Epic Good supports is diverse, and may even at face value appear disparate. The common thread linking them is each has been able to engage us in a way that sees us want to add value above and beyond just writing a cheque. Successful entrepreneurship requires so much more than just a desire to make money, it takes passion and a strong sense of purpose, and we view our philanthropic activities as requiring a similar commitment and focus. If it’s not a cause we can get excited about supporting, it doesn’t mean it’s not a great cause, it just means it’s not the right fit for us.
Watch this space for an announcement next week about something that we are incredibly excited to be supporting, and will play a significant role in the activities of Epic Good for many years to come.