Melissa and Ross Bonetti - Livingspace Interiors
Melissa & Ross Bonetti have been supporters of Cause We Care Foundation since the beginning. In addition to volunteering at all of our events - (you have probably seen Melissa selling raffle tickets at our lunches over the years, hauling heavy boxes at our Care Package Drives and even modeling our CWCF x Aritzia pieces with her sons) - they have also supported us in so many ways through their company Livingspace. We asked them to share their thoughts on giving back to the community, their favourite Cause We Care memories over the last 10 years, and passing their entrepreneurial and philanthropic spirits down to their children.
- Introduction – tell us a little bit about yourselves and your company – Livingspace
- We were both born on the North Shore of Vancouver and grew up in our families’ retail businesses. Melissa with her family’s Toys & Wheel stores, and Ross with his family’s Combined Appliance store. Becoming entrepreneurs ourselves seemed inevitable, and it continues with our next generation as our sons Quinn and Matteo have joined the family business, and our daughter Tavia has started her Friends with Animals clothing line in Los Angeles where she lives. Livingspace opened its doors in 1988 and has grown to become Vancouver’s leading destination for modern European furniture, kitchens, closets and lighting.
- We are so grateful to the Bonetti family and Livingspace for your invaluable support of Cause We Care, both as volunteers and donors. Please tell us why and how you got involved with Cause We Care.
- Ten years ago, Andrea Thomas Hill asked if we could help with decorating the RayCam Co-operative Centre gym for a Christmas dinner that Cause We Care was hosting. The event was for all the families that attended RayCam and lived in the area. It was truly amazing to be involved, and to have our three kids helping to string lights, hang decorations and set the tables. When the families arrived, they were so happy to see the room decorated and celebrate a true holiday dinner with their families. There was such a feeling of community in the gym that night, and we knew this was the start of something special. Helping others is such an amazing and rewarding feeling, and we were so happy to see that we were bringing some joy to these families. Our family has done whatever we could for Cause We Care from that evening forward.
- Mel you are a very active volunteer with Cause We Care. What is your favourite memory of the work you have done with the organization and why?
- One of my best memories was being involved with the YWCA Cause We Care House and seeing Andrea’s vision of the facility coming together. Watching the elated families moving in was so rewarding. I also love being on the front line of the Holiday Care Package Drive. 1,200 care packages went out this year. The Livingspace trucks were loaded with Care Packages, with the help of our sons, Quinn and Matteo, and delivered to schools and community centres, where they were distributed to families in need. So many volunteers help load and deliver, it is the most amazing day, and everyone loves to be involved. Dropping off the Care Packages to the families - single mothers and their children - provides them with a much-needed emotional boost at this special time of year, and makes your heart grow ten times.
- Why is corporate philanthropy important to you and how does it impact your team?
- Philanthropy starts at the top and becomes a company culture, and our employees love to help wherever they can. This culture also grows outside the company as our people learn to pay it forward. Mel also works at Bacci’s (with owners Ross and Andrea Molnar) and both Livingspace and Bacci’s have been involved with Cause we Care for the last 10 years, helping to raise money by donation or providing items for raffles. Corporate philanthropy is very important to both of these home-grown businesses and Mel is proud to be associated with these organizations that support our communities and the welfare of others.
- Motto to live by?
- To put positivity and kindness into your world. It takes little effort and just a smile can change someone’s day