Sunrise Foundation Plays Vital Role in Supporting Cancer Research

Without the generous support of individuals, businesses and family foundations, ACRF would not be able to accelerate important life-changing cancer research. The vision of philanthropists and the charitable mindset of generations of families play a vital role in realising our shared dream of a world without cancer.

One such family has played a significant role in the success of ACRF’s cancer research programs, giving over a quarter of a million dollars to various projects since 2009. ACRF’s Philanthropy Manager, Victoria Bonsey, interviewed family members of the Sunrise Foundation recently to get their insight into the why and how of their charitable giving.

How did Sunrise Foundation come about?

The Sunrise Foundation was the brainchild of our parents, Michael and Moreen Eger. The name drew inspiration from the family business established by Michael’s father and grandfather, called Sunrise Confectioners.

The family business was successful and when it was sold in 2003, it was still run as a family business with a strong culture of care and compassion for all who worked there.

The Sunrise Foundation was created with a view to creating a philanthropic commitment they could begin and then handover to their children and grandchildren to continue their legacy of social responsibility and trying to make a difference whenever you can.

The original Sunrise Confectioners factory.

Why did you start to give to charity?

Caring for not only yourself but others, has always been a theme instilled in us by our family as we were growing up. As long as we can remember, our grandmother had many charitable interests she supported. The idea that you aim to do as well as you can in life whilst knowing that there is always the capacity to share what you have with others. Some of the most charitable people we have met have had very little but still managed to share what they have with others. Charity should be a mindset, not a dollar value.

Why did you choose to support cancer research and in particular ACRF?

It sounds like a cliche but the truth is that the longer you live, the higher likelihood is that cancer will touch your life in some way. This intersection forces you to consider the impact of cancer on family, friends and the community.  Exposed to cancer’s impact on those around her, for Moreen it seemed logical to support research efforts that will have contribute to decreasing the impact of cancer on society. 

We chose ACRF specifically as it is one of the Sunrise Foundation’s goals to provide philanthropic support to agencies that ensure monies received are directed efficiently where they are needed the most – ie. with the least amount of cost.

How do you feel knowing that your support can save lives?

Of course, knowing that our support can provide this gives a sense of accomplishment and renewed purpose.  It is also a great feeling to know that you’re contributing to a ripple effect: the ability to support the researchers’ efforts, give hope and some comfort to those experiencing the impact of cancer. Supporting the dedicated pursuit of knowledge through research is one small way that we feel we can help to make a difference.

The most impactful way to give is to pick a few special causes, rather than spread a smaller donation amount over a larger group of charities. How do you collectively decide on what is the most deserving cause given how varied your interests must be?

Ultimately all causes are deserving.  We aim to direct the Sunrise Foundation’s limited resources to achieve maximum impact with the most efficient return on the support provided. For example, we have withdrawn support in the past when we had concerns about how much of the money was ultimately being provided to those who needed it and being consumed by administrative costs.

We have a philosophy of thinking globally and acting locally when possible by being in tune with areas that need support and looking for local agencies that are engaged in those areas. This is in contrast to contributing to a much larger global pool without any clear idea of ultimately, what and where the impact of that contribution might be occurring.

What would your advice be to someone considering giving more to ACRF or to charity in general?

Do your homework. Dig into the charity and found out what they actually support. Find out for yourself what work is being done, what is needed and how well the charity is working towards meeting that need. Follow the charitable chain to the source to ensure that any support translates into positive outcomes. If you invest the time and energy into building a good relationship with the people running the charity and those who they support, you will feel far more connected to the ‘team’ helping to deliver those positive outcomes.

Find out more information on supporting ACRF through our unique philanthropic initiative, ACRF Accelerate, here.