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Couple's charity tribute to Freddy

August 20, 2020

Roxane Foulser-Piggott and Gary Bowman, founders of The Freddy Bear Foundation

A website founded in the profound loss of a baby boy could soon be uniting volunteers with compatible charities around Australia.

The Freddy Bear Foundation was formed by Bond University’s Gary Bowman and Roxane Foulser-Piggott after their son Freddy died at just 16 days old.

The Freddy Bear Foundation website – launching next month – will help charities link up with volunteers based on their unique interests and skill sets using the "FreddyMatch” algorithm.

“When people get why we are doing it, they want to be a part of it,” Dr Bowman said. “It is so connected to a personal part of our life.

“The genesis was that our son died a couple of years ago when he was two weeks old.

“Roxane wanted to do some charity work, but not just stuffing envelopes or shaking a tin -- something that would match her skill set.

“Roxane has a quantitative background, the mathematical and statistical knowledge she has is incredible. She thought, how can she use those skills to help?”

FreddyMatch helps charities and volunteers find each other more efficiently by using an algorithm written by Dr Foulser-Piggott – much in the same way that Netflix recommends movies and television shows.

“Only 14 per cent of volunteering opportunities are currently filled in Australia and we want to help more people to volunteer," Dr Foulser-Piggott said.

"The algorithm recommends a volunteering opportunity based on your skills, interests and availability.

“Over time it learns from you and as you swipe left and right to “like” different opportunities it will recommend you more tailored opportunities as you go on.

“There are so many good charities that touch so many people.

"FreddyMatch is something I can keep putting energy into that feels worthwhile and it helps me remember Freddy in a positive way.”

The Foundation already has support from software juggernaut Atlassian, Sydney-based Vivienne Court Trading and local web design company Digital8.

“A lot of charities are suffering at the moment because they are not able to hold any events or fundraising, so if we can help in some way, that is a really positive thing,” Dr Foulser Piggott. 

“We are so thrilled that Atlassian have offered volunteer work and we also received $10,000 from Digital8 to help with front-end web design and marketing.”

Charities and volunteers can register their interest at FreddyMatch.org