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Bausch and Lomb Charity Bike Build Case Study:
A philanthropic team building white paper

Charity Bike Build Case Study
Just about everyone I tell about the Charity Bike Build, a philanthropic team building program wants to know more – what happens, what it’s like for the team that builds the bicycles and what it’s like for the kids who receive them. Do you want to know more? Here’s your chance.

Quixote Consulting recently led a Charity Bike Build for Bausch and Lomb. Here’s the story of what happened. You will get a chance to hear first-hand from everyone involved: Bausch and Lomb, the parents of the children, the charity organizations, the Quixote Consulting consultant and even the venue where it happened!

Everyone loves a story, and here’s a good one…it has a happy ending. Enjoy!


The Charity Bike Build, with its goal of building bicycles for under-served children, is Quixote Consulting’s most popular charity team building event. A management team of 30 people from Bausch and Lomb met in the San Diego area and built bicycles for under-served children. The team building was led by Michael Riley, a Quixote Consulting consultant. The St. Germaine Children's Charity vetted the San Diego Armed Services YMCA as the most deserving charity in the area. A parent of each child wrote a letter explaining why he or she would appreciate a bicycle. Most children have one parent serving overseas in the Armed Services. The children surprised the Bausch and Lomb team by appearing in person to receive their bicycles and individualized gift bags, as well as enjoying ice cream sundaes.

The Client:
Bausch & Lomb Pharmaceuticals

The Program:
Charity Bike Build charity team building

The Story:
Stacey Malone, a Bausch & Lomb Pharmaceuticals ocular specialty manager based in the San Diego Region contacted Quixote Consulting. She wanted a special kind of team building event for the western region management sales force. She wanted something that would bring people together, have a great message, show how by supporting each other everyone wins, and motivate people to emotionally and mentally recommit. And she wanted it to be fun. In short, she wanted the Charity Bike Build.

She knew where she wanted it to happen – at the Hyatt Regency La Jolla. And she knew when she wanted it to happen – after a three-hour buffet dinner from 6:30 to 9:30. The Quixote Consulting team went to work.

The Coordinating Charity: St. Germaine Children's Charity
Quixote Consulting contacted Sheila Scaramella, President of the St. Germaine Children's Charity. St. Germaine is a re-gifting organization. They raise money and support for 16 agencies servicing the children in the San Diego area. When they receive a donation, they vet the other charities and determine where the help will do the most good.

Bike Build Case Study
Sheila says, "St. Germaine Children's Charity is an all-volunteer organization of 330 members. Our mission is to "stop child abuse" by working with area agencies (16 this year) here in San Diego County that provide services to abused and at-risk children. We provide grants to children's programs, distribution of in-kind gifts, and hands-on volunteer services. All money raised or donated goes directly to the children's programs. One of our major strengths is our extensive granting process involving onsite visits, application and financial reviews, and follow up with midyear and annual reports. All of our operational expenses come from our annual membership dues."

Paula Taylor, St. Germaine's Philanthropy Chairman named the San Diego Armed Services YMCA as most eligible to use the bicycles. She said, "There is a large military presence here in San Diego and the largest military housing community in the country. These families are under added stress because of extended deployments and economic conditions. Your efforts would be helping our military families as well as 'at- risk' children."

The Receiving Charity: San Diego Armed Services YMCA
San Diego Armed Services YMCA services the Murphy Canyon/Serra Mesa area - the largest military housing facility in the country. Since 1920, the San Diego Armed Services YMCA has provided free programs specifically to address the stresses and needs of the San Diego Military and their families. In 2010, they offered more than 40 free programs and served more than 8,000 military and their families each month.

Brittany Murphy, Director of Development and Public Relations, came up with an innovative way to decide which children could most use a new bicycle. She had the parents write a letter about why their children could use a bike.

Letters from the Parents of the Children
Here are some of the touching letters Brittany received. Reading these letters in the Quixote Consulting office really helped us to focus our efforts, knowing that what we were working on would so directly benefit these kids who could really use a helping hand.

"I'm interested in being in the bike giveaway for my child. He is 9 years old.

My husband recently returned home from deployment (Hooray!). It's been hard going through this summer alone. My son is the oldest child. I have a daughter who is 3 years old. They have both been really good at helping out around the house while Dad was gone. This time was especially hard for my son, being the oldest. Being the oldest child with a parent in the military is really hard because you lose a lot of your childhood trying to help your parent out around the house. All this summer my son wanted to ride bikes with his friends, but he was not able to because he has grown too big for the bike he has and the chain constantly falls off as he rides it. So he was in the house for the summer when kids rode bikes in the neighborhood. I feel with all the sacrifices of this summer, his daddy being deployed, and him helping me clean the house and sit with his baby sister, that he deserves something special, and this bike would be perfect.

I do hope that you are able to give this boy the bike that he so deserves."


Charity Bike Build Case Study
“I would like my daughter to be entered in the bike giveaway. She has endured many things in her young life, such as my two deployments to Iraq, an unexpected move here to California, and has handled them remarkably. She is always a joy, has a smile on her face no matter what the circumstances and selflessly gives before she receives. She is always thinking of ways to cheer her classmates and has been chosen by school officials to take part in many student discussions regarding positive treatment of classmates. She is and will continue to be a joy to her mother and I, an outstanding sibling to her sister and two brothers, and a model student at all levels. I know she would be ecstatic to be chosen for this opportunity.”


“Being in a household with four children and only one income, it’s quite hard to get the kids certain things we know they’d enjoy. My oldest son is a hard worker and a big helper in the family, and a very conscientious student. He tries his best at everything, and as much as we would love to get him a bike he can ride and enjoy, we just can’t on our income. If he is rewarded with this bike, I know he will enjoy it very much, because he will be able to play outside and just have fun!  So if we were chosen, this would be such a blessing for him and we will be very grateful! Even if we aren’t chosen, I think what you’re doing is awesome, and we are grateful for the opportunity!”

The Big Day
Doing What It Takes To Make The Event Perfect
When Michael Riley, a Quixote Consulting consultant based on the west coast, unpacked the materials for the Bike Build, he knew there was a problem. The bicycles that were sent from the manufacturer were the wrong combination of boys and girls. What was sent would mean that some little boy would be getting a girl's bike. This wasn't acceptable.

Michael is a veteran of hundreds of Charity Bike Builds. He knows that if there is any program during which something has to be taken care of last minute, this is it. Quixote Consulting offers nearly a hundred different corporate team building and training programs, but the Charity Bike Build is probably the most complex. There are so many details, between charity and client, venue and materials, that can go wrong. And as we all know, life goes its own direction, just like it did this day.

Michael leapt into action. Within a half hour, he sleuthed out a local bicycle shop and got a boy's bike for the little boy. And he even got a ten percent discount because the shop keepers loved the Charity Bike Build concept!

Getting Energized
After the buffet dinner, the Bausch & Lomb management team met Michael. Because they booked three hours for their event, they were able to take part in an hour of ice breakers, energizers and team challenges from Quixote Consulting's collaborative team building activity Team Collaboration Quest.

The activities focused on getting to know each other as people outside of work to break down barriers, and come together as one cohesive team, and to have fun doing it. The team got to play a high energy game of 'Gotcha', learn something interesting in 'Human Bingo', discover a peak moment of success in 'Personal Best', guess at the most interesting things their team-mates had done in 'True Lies' and build the world's tallest tower with the least amount of resources.

Building the Bikes
Teams completed a series of fun challenges testing their innovation, knowledge and communication. Although Quixote Consulting usually customizes the questions for the client, Bausch & Lomb decided they would like the emphasis to be on pure fun, especially since this was an evening event. We love fun too and were happy to oblige – from figuring out the Top Ten Chicken Producing countries (hint: one of them is Turkey) to unscrambling the letters in the puzzle “seek a phrase” to come up with someone famous. (Hint: He’s a ‘playful fellow’.)

By completing the challenges, they earned enough chips to purchase their bicycles, helmets, locks and decorations. Every member of the team went into action according to their strengths and interests. Some put the bikes together, some continued answering challenges. Others got their bicycles checked off for safety, while others rode them through a wacky obstacle course (definitely a photo opportunity). Others decorated the bicycles, while others worked on a fun commercial of their team and their bikes.

Charity Bike Build Case Study
Ice Cream Sundae Time
Unbeknownst to the Bausch & Lomb team, the children from the San Diego Armed Forces YMCA where actually in the hotel as well, in their own room, enjoying ice cream sundaes and creating amazing works of art with crayons and other art supplies. Usually the kids are incredibly excited about the tasty treats and being in a fancy hotel, never mind that they also get a free bicycle! This group was no exception. Sugar and adventure are pretty awesome for kids of all ages. And to add to the drama, this group of children had no idea they were getting free bicycles. Imagine what this was like for the boy who had to spend all summer at home while his friends were out riding because he didn’t have a bicycle.

The Unveiling – Meet Your Customers!
The commercials had been performed, the decorations paraded. The bikes were all checked off for safety and had been on a test run through the obstacle course. The group thought the event was just about over. Then the far door opened and in ran the kids!

The surprise and excitement was visible on both sides. The expression of the little boy’s face in the photo says it all! Their parents were there too, along with Paula Taylor, St. Germaine’s Philanthropy Chairman, (she selected and coordinated with the San Diego Armed Services YMCA) as well as Brittany Catton, the YMCA’s Development and PR Director.

Charity Bike Build Case Study
Part of the magic of the Charity Bike Build is that teams get to actually meet their customers. I find this is especially important for people in jobs that no longer allow for direct contact with customers. The Charity Bike Build gives them a powerful experience of connecting purpose and meaning to what they do. They get to see first-hand the powerful benefit their hard work can make on young lives.

But on a more primal level, this moment of children meeting teams is powerful. Roles get forgotten; everyone is excited, and the feelings are powerful. It’s not surprising to see the most reluctant members of a team start tearing up the floor and being the first to help the kids on the bikes, get the seats to the right heights and steady the bikes as the kids pedal around the room, often for the first time. This is exactly what happened at the Bausch & Lomb Charity Bike Build:

Michael Riley, Quixote Consulting consultant, said, “I am really proud of this Charity Bike Build because we addressed the client’s issues regarding her team. One woman was not happy being there at the beginning but at the end she told the whole group that she thought this was going to be a stupid team builder but it turned out to be the most touching thing she has ever done! She then walked up and hugged me and said thank you!”

There was a special surprise for the children as well.

First, the sister of one of the boys who came along for the adventure got a surprise new bicycle, thanks to the manufacturer sending the wrong sex bicycle. Because Michael had gone the extra mile and gone out and purchased another bicycle, there was even one more happy child that day.

Next, every child got a personalized gift bag that focused on his or her interests, thanks to Bausch & Lomb.

Charity Bike Build Case Study
Relating The Power of Purpose Back to Work
After the happy children left with their new bicycles and gift bags, Michael brought the group together for a debrief to relate the power of purpose back to their work. Team members told about how powerful the experience was for them and how that power could show up every day when communicating with each other and the people they manage. They made the connection between helping these young customers to the benefit that their hard work provides every day to millions of people. They literally help people to see better. What a gift to provide every day!

The program ended at 9:30 PM after a long day of meetings, but no one was tired. They were exhilarated by connecting with the power of purpose and fired up for the next day.

After the Program – The Feedback
Here is what the client, the charities, the consultant and even the venue had to say after the Charity Bike Build.

The Client
“The event was excellent!  Michael was an exceptional presenter and did a great job facilitating the program. He rolled with the punches and did an amazing job of turning a situation into a great learning opportunity. He has a true talent for relating to people and diffusing volatile situations. There is no doubt in my mind that everyone clearly understood the message of the evening event and enjoyed themselves. I even had people from headquarters comment that it was the best team builder that they had ever participated in.

Your company was great to work with. You were flexible to our time and size restraints, worked within our budget, and made the program seem specifically designed to our company. Thank you for a great event!  If you have other similar products that we could consider you for in the future, please pass on the information. I would love the opportunity to work with you again!”

Stacy Malone
Ocular Specialty Manager - San Diego Region
Bausch & Lomb Pharmaceuticals

Charity Bike Build Case Study
The Coordinating Charity
“I wanted to thank you again for contacting St. Germaine Children's Charity here in San Diego, California and giving us the opportunity to coordinate recipients for the Bike Give Away. The children were surprised and so excited to receive the bikes and goodie bags!  It also provided an opportunity for the employees to thank the fathers and families for their military service. The families attended with the children and all dads had been recently deployed. The event had the added impact of supporting our military and their families.

It was a pleasure working with Quixote and we hope to have the opportunity again in the future.”

Sheila Scaramella
St. Germaine Children's Charity

The Receiving Charity
“Thank you all for the fantastic job you did with the Charity Bike Build Giveaway. The military families were thrilled. I love the expression of the little boy’s face in the photo. That says it all! Thank you all, and we welcome the opportunity to partner again in the future!”

Brittany Catton
Director of Development and Public Relations
San Diego Armed Services YMCA

The Consultant
“I love that very special moment when the group’s eyes see a child go to the bike they built. Of course the kids are very excited, but when an adult sees the fruits of their labor touch a child, wow, what a heart rush! They walk away knowing that they did something special today.

All of the special memories they had on a bike is now passed on to another! Freedom, imagination, the wind in your hair, being able to ride with friends, riding to school and independence. They, through the Charity Bike Build get the honor to pass that on to another – to a deserving child. It is my hope that through that one moment, the teams realize that they can make a difference and will carry that forward into their personal lives.

It is also my hope that the child who receives that bike will remember that when they are older and realize that someone made a difference in their life, thus inspiring them to make a positive difference in another's life.

And the cool thing for me is I get to be the very blessed person who gets to witness that magic!”

Michael Riley, Quixote Consulting consultant

The Venue
“I am so happy that the kids had a great time and got to take home a new bike on behalf of Bausch & Lomb. I am sure the group really enjoyed the team building event, putting bikes together and donating towards a great cause. Again, we appreciate you thinking of the Hyatt!”

Doris Dungca
Convention Services Coordinator
Hyatt Regency La Jolla

About the Author
Rob Fletcher is a consultant, award-winning author, speaker and founder of Quixote Consulting. His dynamic and friendly approach has helped individuals and organizations around the world put their unique strengths in action. He can be reached at