Change Accelerator: Sandy Cipriano
Our Change Accelerator for March is Sandy Cipriano, Founder of Cupcakes of Hope, who aim to create awareness and raise funds for children with life threatening diseases, predominantly done through a love of baking cupcakes. Every month Cupcakes of Hope helps 80 -100 little cancer patients by paying for their medical and day-to-day expenses.
How did you get into social impact sector?
I’ve always volunteered as a student. It was not always easy, but it felt good knowing that I could and did make a difference. Unfortunately one of our family friends lost their 3 year old daughter to cancer. Seeing what this family went through, I felt I could do something to help similar families during one of their toughest journeys.
We run a family restaurant and we decided to do our first fundraiser in 2009, we raised R5 000 for one little patient. Our yearly fundraisers grew bigger every year and in 2011 we introduced cupcakes as a fundraising tool. That year we set a New World Record for the MOST CUPCAKES ON DISPLAY, 21 000, and raised R200 000 for children with cancer.
I absolutely loved seeing how the whole community came together to ‘bake’ a difference and I felt that we could help more children if we get the whole South Africa involved so we decided to registered Cupcakes of Hope as a Non Profit Company in 2012.
Since we started our foundation, we have helped more than 2 000 patients as well as 16 other cancer charities in South Africa, and raised over R10 million. This is by far the SWEETEST way to help SAVE a life.
What is your driving force for accelerating change?
I believe that EVERY ONE can make a difference in this world – all you need is a bit of time and LOADS of LOVE! I also believe that every act of kindness has a ripple effect with no end.
If you could “wave a magic wand” and accelerate your organisation’s success, what’s the one big thing you’d most like to accomplish?
I believe that Cupcakes of Hope has created a community of volunteers (our Cupcake Angels), who are between the ages of 3 and 90, from pre-schoolers to firemen, from nurses to accountants, who stand side by side to change the world for the better.
Together we are ‘baking’ a difference in the lives of children with life threatening diseases. I would love to see more people from different socio-economic backgrounds, working together for a great cause.
On National Cupcake Day we see our Cupcake Angels coming together, working side by side to ‘bake’ a difference in someone’s life.
What one piece of advance would you give to future change accelerators who want to make a big impact in their work?
In my case I started with a fundraiser to help one patient and little did I know that it would be ‘the spark’ to ignite Cupcakes of Hope. My message to accelerators is to always dream BIG, and believe that you can make a difference.
Find your passion, in our case it was using our God given talent of baking cupcakes, and try and use that to make a difference in a cause you believe in!
So let your light shine bright and it will inspire others to do the same.
This week International Women’s Day took place. Tell us about a women who has inspired/helped you accelerate change in your life or work.
I always talk about two ladies who had a huge impact on me when I was growing up.
The first one was Oprah Winfrey, as I loved watching her Angel Network shows. The foundation of Cupcakes of Hope is actually based on one of the episodes I watched, where a young 15 year old girl wanted to make a difference, but she did not have money. So instead she visited old age homes and spoilt the ladies by doing their nails and hair… showing me that you don’t always need money to make a difference and that sometimes all people need is a bit of time and loads of love.
I alway knew that one day I would meet Oprah, but I always thought that I would be flying out to America to attend her show, instead Oprah actually came to visit us as she has had dinner at our restaurant in Vereeniging, not once but on three separate occasions. For me this was a full circle moment meeting someone who has inspired and touched millions of people all over the world.
The second woman who inspired me is Mother Teresa, who said ‘we can’t all do great things, but we can do little things with great LOVE” – and that is what Cupcakes of Hope is all about.
Our Cupcake Angels are spreading Cupcake LOVE all across South Africa and my dream is to see Cupcake LOVE being spread all over the world, helping even more children fight their battles because they don’t deserve to fight this battle alone.
Do you know a inspirational Change Accelerator? Nominate them for our next newsletter and to be entered into our global awards by emailing us here.