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Open Palm: Creating fairer opportunities for young people

Each year, Charles Stanley employees from across the organisation vote for a nominated charity. This year, they chose Open Palm. Ralph McBaiden explains why they set up the charity and what it aims to achieve.

| 4 min read

Each year, Charles Stanley employees from across the organisation vote for a nominated charity. This year, they chose Open Palm to dedicate the next 12 months of charity fundraising. The organisation was founded by Ralph McBaiden, who works in Charles Stanley’s Finance Department, and his wife Sophie, to support fairer opportunities for young people. Here, Ralph explains why they set up the charity and what it aims to achieve.

Open Palm’s mission is simple: to create fairer opportunities for people to thrive, regardless of their ethnic or socio-economic background. It is a UK-registered charity (1190203) which aims to make education more accessible, empowering young people to succeed regardless of their ethnic background. It does this by delivering free educational life-skills programmes to under 18s, improving learning environments and addressing racial inequality.

I am a Chartered Accountant working as a Finance Business Partner in the London head office. I’ve worked for Charles Stanley for nearly three years. Not only do I believe in the cause, but I have also lived the cause. Today, I regularly see statistics around the lack of ethnic diversity on boards, the ethnic wage disparities and the systemic inequalities such as healthcare and education outcomes disproportionately affecting ethnic-minority communities.

I regularly speak to young people who still think that people of colour don’t work in the City or Canary Wharf – outside of cleaning and security roles. It’s hard to expect change without changing perceptions and providing targeted tools to enable it.

Open Palm has developed a Financial Literacy course, WYZ Money, and is soon launching an employability skills programme both aimed at 13-17-year olds from black and minority-ethnic backgrounds. Both courses allow young people to gain a nationally recognised accreditation in the process.

My wife and I are Trustees & Co-founders of the charity which we set up in July 2020 during the pandemic. We’ve reached our beneficiaries remotely and, with the easing of social-distancing restrictions, we have plans to do in-person work with our partner schools and youth groups.

Our goal for Open Palm this year is to raise at least £20,000 to allow us to widen our reach and to support our accredited programmes. Open Palm is considered a ‘micro-charity’ but with the support of Charles Stanley, this amount would help bring us to the next level to become a ‘small-charity’.

Fundraising should be fun and social. I want to encourage staff to participate individually, as departments or teams and with their families. With the loosening restrictions over the coming months, we can do more socially and what better way to do so than for a good cause.

The first initiative was the Captain Tom 100 – Do it your way campaign “Inspiring hope where it is needed most”, in honour of the great achievements of the late Captain Sir Tom Moore last year.

The challenge was open to all charities and involved people gaining sponsorship for doing ‘100’ of anything they choose. Charles Stanley staff raised £6,500 on the day, with staff raising money by surfing 100 waves, flipping 100 tractor tyres in 100 minutes, carrying out 100 acts of kindness online and much more.

Supporting Open Palm is a commitment to provide actionable tools to communities left behind. Their work helps to level the playing field when it comes to life opportunities and outcomes.

Over and above donations, I aim to use the wealth of knowledge we have available at Charles Stanley to provide some form of work experience for our beneficiaries and content contribution focusing on employability and financial literacy.

Find out more: www.openpalm.org.uk/
Dedicated Charles Stanley donation page for Open Palm: www.virginmoneygiving.com/fund/C-Stanley-charity-of-the-year-21-22

Nothing on this website should be construed as personal advice based on your circumstances. No news or research item is a personal recommendation to deal.

Open Palm: Creating fairer opportunities for young people

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