We interviewed, Joaquín Serra Saval, Chairman of the Foundation, on the occasion of the announcement of the Ricardo Fisas Natura Bisse Foundation’s launch in the United States.
Ricardo Fisas Natura Bissé Foundation
In 2008, Ricardo Fisas and Gloria Vergés, the founders of Natura Bissé, created a private and independent foundation committed to the welfare of vulnerable people–an initiative representing their personal values and beliefs. From then on, the Ricardo Fisas Natura Bissé Foundation has created collaborative and sustainable projects alongside top professionals, wherever we identify a social need that we believe we can help with. With this in mind, the Oncology Aesthetics program was born. The program offers individual free aesthetic skin care treatment in Spain and education in the United States to those undergoing oncological therapy.
What is the Foundation’s philosophy and the mission in the United States?
The Ricardo Fisas Natura Bissé Foundation is launching in the United States by teaming up with family-owned luxury skincare company, Natura Bissé, and Susan G. Komen, the world’s leading nonprofit breast cancer organization, to enhance well-being and provide skincare support during cancer treatment.
In addition to raising needed funds to support Komen’s mission to save lives by meeting the most critical needs in our communities and investing in breakthrough research to prevent and cure breast cancer, the organizations will partner on an integrated program to ensure the skincare needs of cancer survivors, and those living with the disease, are understood and met in a compassionate and supportive environment.
As part of this partnership, Komen and the Ricardo Fisas Natura Bissé Foundation will provide education, training and resources to those undergoing oncology treatments, as well as providers, caregivers and aestheticians. This effort will promote well-being by helping those going through their cancer journey understand and navigate the common physical and subsequent emotional side effects of cancer and cancer treatment, with a special focus on potential skincare side effects.
How did the Foundation come about?
It all started in 2008, when my father-in-law and mother-in-law decided that was the time to delegate the management of Natura Bissé to their children.
They felt the need to be supportive and able to help less favored people. They wanted to do their service in this world and redirect the fruits of their efforts into a good cause. Ricardo once stated, “Either we create a Foundation to give back to society all it has given us or (said jokingly) or I start a Natura Bissé II”. That’s where the idea of the Foundation came from.
What do you think was the biggest challenge the Foundation has faced thus far and how did you overcome it?
The biggest challenge as a private and independent foundation has been to create long-term collaborative and sustainable projects alongside professionals. Even though we collaborate with some organizations who support and accompany those at risk of social exclusion, we mainly manage our own projects generating value chains.
The first project that was setup was the Oncology Aesthetics Program and as it arrives to the United States, we celebrate its 10th anniversary. Now, the challenge is to integrate this Foundation and its mission into more countries, collaborating with strategic partners to intensify the impact of giving back to those undergoing cancer journeys.
What success has the Foundation seen in Spain?
In addition to having found a path that has satisfied desire to give back to society, we have managed to create a system of collaborative networks that ensure the growth and continuity of all projects.
Nowadays, the Oncology Aesthetic Program network in Spain is made up of hospitals, patient associations and voluntary aestheticians. Thanks to them, we have carried out more than 10,000 treatments on 1,900 people diagnosed with cancer.
Another very important goal for us was to establish a highly-involved and committed team who capture passion, human quality, professionalism and the ability to overcome difficulties so that these efforts could be eflected in the day-to-day of every project, just the way my father-in-law did. Today, he would be proud to see what has been created.
Internationally, The Ricardo Fisas Natura Bissé Foundation has: • Conducted more than 10,000 free treatments • Currently, working with 19 hospitals and non-profit organizations • Trained more than 1,000 people • Provided specialized training to more than 600 aestheticians
Although, the Foundation in the United States will not provide hands-on treatments, the Foundation and Susan G. Komen will offer an integrated program and ensure the skincare needs of cancer survivors, and those living with the disease, are understood and met in a compassionate and supportive environment.
What are your objectives in the short and long term?
Our main objective is to provide education, training and resources to those undergoing oncology treatments, as well as providers, caregivers and aestheticians. This effort will promote well-being by helping those going through their journey understand and navigate the common physical and subsequent emotional side effects of cancer and cancer treatment.
Why did the Foundation decide to partner with Susan G. Komen when launching in North America?
Susan G. Komen is the world’s leading nonprofit breast cancer organization and is invested in the fight against breast cancer. Due to our shared compassion and Susan G Komen’s mission to save lives by meeting the most critical needs in our communities and investing in breakthrough research to prevent and cure breast cancer, the partnership was in perfect alignment; as the Ricardo Fisas Natura Bissé Foundation is committed to providing support and removing barriers to care for people at a time when they feel they are on their own.
What memory would you highlight as monumental for the Foundation from the past 10 years?
Every time that an aesthetician thanks us for adding value to their profession, every hug and word of thanks from someone undergoing a cancer journey for improving their quality of life and for restoring their self-esteem and their hope–it all matters. The skincare side effects of oncological therapies are frequently underrated. There are people who can’t hold their kids due to extreme hand dryness or some who can’t even sleep at night due to itchiness and skin irritations–knowing that we support them during their journey is extremely satisfying and unforgettable.
Who has been essential in bringing this dream to life?
I would like to thank the team of volunteers and the collaboration of hospitals, patient associations and Susan G. Komen. Thanks to them we are able to offer the best care and dedication to people who benefit from our programs.
Thanks to Natura Bissé, who funds the Foundation with 0.7% of the purchase price of all products sold, and to the support of their network of clients, distributors, collaborating companies and staff, we can make these programs and this level of support possible. I also want to thank Natura Bissé’s clients–those who participate in the Foundation through the donation that the company gives to the Foundation with every transaction–and the generosity of the donors and the trust of the collaborators. Without all of them, this project would not have been possible. I hope we can continue counting on your support and working together to face future challenges and achieve our future goals.