Could there be any better way to do a good deed than through a glass of wine? I don’t think there is and I’m sure many would agree it sounds like a much more enjoyable alternative than running a marathon in a silly suit.
Back in December, I attended an entrepreneur’s group on the theme of philanthropy, asking the question ‘how can we give back to society through our business activity?’ A few months earlier I’d organized a wine party for friends who weren’t able to attend one of my events using the bottles left over from the producers. I’d lined up over a dozen bottles, provided some food to keep us reasonably sober and talked them through what we were drinking. At the end of the night, everyone went home full, happy and having learnt something more about wine – without having spent a penny. That got me thinking… An evening of eating and drinking in the company of like-minded company is something people are more than happy to pay for so, why not use these events to do some good?
About the same time, I read a post in a Facebook group from Carrie Forster. She told her tragic story of how her daughter was diagnosed with a rare, life-limiting disease about the time my own daughter was born. Begging readers not to shed tears (an impossible request), she wrote of how she was organizing to bring Christmas cheer to the families who would be spending that day in the Palliative ward of one of Munich’s main hospitals and how she planned to organize events to help the families of these children. I dropped her a line, we met and she told me about her family’s experience of dealing with her daughter’s disease and consequent needs. Her strength and determination to do something to help families in a similar situation as hers bowled me over and we started talking about what we could do together.
Through her newly established charity, The Sticky Fingers Family Association, she aims to create activities that foster relationships between these families so that they can help and support each other on this journey. Many organisations exist already to help fund research into curing these diseases or provide kids with unforgettable trips but none support the families that are by their sides during their illness. Her planned activities include fun family days out, events for the parents to give them some valuable of me-time (almost impossible even with children that don’t require round-the-clock care, I know!) and informative workshops on aspects that can improve the quality of life of these children.
I told her about my wine party and we quickly decided to pen in a date for a summer garden party along the same lines. Luckily the sun shone for us that day. With 15 different wines – some left over from events, others kindly donated by friend wine producers – and some delicious food sponsored by Florian of Flo and Co, a sticky fingers board member, it was a food and wine lovers delight. Besides an open wine bar, we also held a charity auction for some special bottles from my cellar. The event was a great success raising over 2,500 euro. On 28th February 2019, World Rare Diseases Day, I’ll help Carrie to organize something special, so this is just the start!
For charities further afield, I also chose to work with the German chapter of Simply Smiles, a charity dedicated to giving brighter futures to the children of Oaxaca, one of the poorest regions of Mexico. Their founder and I met when our children attended the same nursery and quickly became friends. I mentioned to her that I wanted to put the wines that I had to good use, respect the passion and dedication that the producers invest in creating them, and allow them to be enjoyed whilst they were still at their best. On 6th July I hosted a charity wine bar as part of their annual fund-raising event that raised over 1,000 euro towards the construction of a new children’s home in Mexico.
After these events, I’m happy to say that my cellar is empty and my heart is full. There’s nothing more fulfilling than using the privileged position I find myself in to make a difference to people’s lives – without having to run a marathon in a silly suit…
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