Each year Meyer Vandenberg staff choose a new charity to support. The firm’s community engagement committee approves pro bono work and organises and coordinates events for their chosen charity, which will be the Stella Bella Little Stars Foundation in 2019-20.
Meyer Vandenberg Associate and chair of the community engagement committee, Nicholas Scotton, says planning is underway to emulate the success of 2018-19’s clothing drive that helped raise $18,000 for Bosom Buddies ACT.
“It is not just about the money-raising, which is important, but also we support our charity by attending their events, volunteering our time to assist them, as well as providing legal services if they need them as well,” Mr Scotton says.
“We want to have broad and meaningful partnerships with ACT charities, rather than simply handing over a fundraising cheque.”
To support Bosom Buddies the committee batted around a few very worthy ideas before deciding on a corporate clothing and high-quality work-wear sale. “MV had previously put on trivia nights and wanted to do something a bit different. The Committee thought the clothing sale would be a good way of getting plenty of community engagement, and there would be a lot of young workers, and students who would come to this.
“MV has great relationships with the ANU and University of Canberra, so we advertised to them and other groups of young professionals via community radio, so that we could reach out to people wanting a wardrobe refresh on a budget,” Mr Scotton says.
The response was outstanding, with a wide section of the business community getting on board donating over 1200 items of clothing. The clothing sale ended up being almost a clothing exchange, as many old favourites we bought and sold at bargain prices in February. The event raised over $14,000 and the partners at Meyer Vandenberg generously donated more to take the final donation to Bosom Buddies to $18,000.
Women supporting a friend diagnosed with breast cancer started Bosom Buddies nearly 25 years ago. Vice-president Shelley Atkins says the Meyer Vandenberg support was very welcome. “We have a small group of active volunteers, but our wider membership are either undergoing treatment, have gone back to work as they are still raising families, paying mortgages and rent etc., or else retired.”
Bosom Buddies supply each breast care patient with a care and information bag – a ‘blue buddy’. They offer support and information, hold regular coffee gatherings, arrange daytime and evening information sessions, subsidise headgear, specialised underwear and lymphedema sleeves for women experiencing financial difficulties.
Launched in 2012, the Stella Bella Little Stars Foundation brightens the lives of children in the ACT region with serious, long-term illness. Suzanne Tunks launched the Stella Bella charity in 2012 after learning first-hand about the struggles faced by families with seriously ill children and children in palliative care.
Suzanne’s daughter, Stella, changed the focus of the family through the little time that they shared. Stella’s short life alternated between hospital and palliative care at home.
Meyer Vandenberg’s community engagement committee will hold a big event either later this year or early next year. “Throughout the year ahead our people will also hold smaller fundraisers, staff bakes sales and movie nights,” Mr Scotton says.
“Over many years our business has enjoyed a lot of engagement with our referrers, clients and the business networks we work with when it comes to giving back to our region. We certainly include our network in community events.
“It is really about what we can do to give back to the Canberra community with a focus on helping the disadvantaged in Canberra.”
The official handing of the cheque to Bosom Buddies took place on Friday (5 July) at an event hosted by Meyer Vandenberg, while also announcing their new partnership with Stella Bella Little Stars Foundation.