It’s Not About The Tea

This post isn’t about tea, it’s about what tea can do. It’s about our collective responsibility as business owners to be socially responsible and have a positive impact on society. There are many factors to corporate social responsibility, and how each business defines those components may be different, but most include ethical business practices, environmental sustainability initiatives, philanthropic giving, and economic responsibility in their plan. I’m focusing on one here; philanthropy.

What is philanthropy? In simple online dictionary terms, philanthropy is “the desire to promote the welfare of others, expressed especially by the generous donation of money to good causes.”

What are the benefits of corporate philanthropy? If we look at what philanthropy can do for your business from a purely financial view, there are obvious benefits. Philanthropy helps build partnerships and relationships, creates better brand recognition, increases sales, shapes a positive reputation, and even attracts talent. But, for the purpose of this blog, I have a greater ROI in mind; lives saved.

I am in the unique position to be a business owner as well as a director at a non-profit. How I got there was a journey of personal revelation. My middle child went to school with a young boy who was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma at age four. Neuroblastoma is a cancer that develops from immature nerve cells found in several areas of the body. In Kindergarten he was in remission, but by the 1st grade he had relapsed. His twin sister was healthy, and though he was a shiny light of joy, he was sick with cancer. There were no cures, no trials, no hope for him.

Why? Because pediatric cancer isn’t a money maker for drug companies, and there is minimal funding for research. Only 4% of federal funding dollars are disbursed for pediatric cancer, yet it’s the number one disease killer of children. Did you know in the past 30 years only 4 drugs have been approved to specifically treat childhood cancer? Four drugs…for ALL PEDIATRIC CANCER TYPES…of which there are over 100 subtypes.

I watched his family desperate to cure him, start a foundation, and join with other desperate parents to raise 1 million dollars to fund a trial. Hear this…The parents of dying children needed to raise the money to fund a trial to try to save them. What? How could that be? I had no idea. But, once you know something, you can’t un-know it. You can’t walk away, so I joined them. We raised the money. And we funded the trial. But the process took too long, and that sweet boy relapsed 6 weeks before he could take part in it. And then he died. He never saw his 11th birthday. He was diagnosed at age 4 and gone before 11. Decades of potential lost because of TIME. He needed TIME. It all took too long. Thankfully, other children did receive the trial…and they were given more time. So it worked…we saved lives. It just took too long for the joyful boy I wanted to save. Parents should not carry the burden of starting foundations to fund trials to save their children. We need to do that for them. As a society we need to do better. As business owners, we need to do better. And we need to do it faster.

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Every two minutes this month and EVERY month of the year, parents will be told, “your child has cancer.” The future is in our hands. We can make a difference. We can close the funding gap. We can believe the greatest ROI is lives saved, and do something about it.

This September, our small business, Brew Tea Company USA, is donating a portion of every golden box of English Breakfast sold to the non-profit Gold In September to raise awareness and fund research. We aren’t a huge corporation, our contribution won’t be massive, but it will make a difference. We will continue to support non-profits, because we can’t un-see the need.

I challenge you to take a look at what your community needs and find where you can help. What do you know that you cannot un-know? Where can you make a real difference? With a little effort you can find one or many reputable charities that suit your mission.

Our tea can’t cure pediatric cancer, but it can help fund the research that does.

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