This week saw the annual Open charity giveaway. The moment in the year where the owners of the business give every member of staff £1,000 to give to the charities of their choice.
It’s one of the many many reasons why I love working where I do.
Shared values are very important to me and there is no better way of knowing that you share values with your colleagues than sitting a room with all 57 of them and hearing them explain who they are giving to and why they decided to give.
For the record I gave £500 to Somerset STAR and £500 to Medecins Sans Frontieres.
The former because I come from Somerset and I know from my first hand experience that if the kids there get a shit start to life it can set their trajectory for ever. So I asked Somerset STAR who work all over Somerset if they’d restrict my gift to my home town. And they agreed. And every time I donate they send me a breakdown of what my money has been spent on over the last 12 months.
It fills me with pride to see this list. It feels me with pride that some kid in my home town has a camera part funded by my donation and is hopefully pursuing their passion with it.
I will give to this organisation for the rest of my life based on the experience that Open gave me.
I gave to MSF for a number of reasons. But mostly because I have been massively impressed by their response to the situation in Syria and the refugee crisis in Europe. It disgusts me that both situations are real situations, but I take reassurance that our species isn’t morally bankrupt when I see the work of organisations like MSF.
I went first this year. And to be honest I felt a little overcome with emotion as I explained my reasons. But what made that OK was the fact that I was sat alongside 57 other people who give as much of a shit as I do.
I wrote the words that sit alongside this picture when I was on the bus home after the event...
Well that was an emotional afternoon. Today was the @lifeatopen charity giveaway. The day when each member of staff is given £1,000 to donate to the charities of their choice. I gave half to a local project in my home town in Somerset who give kids who've had a shit start in life a bright moment. See previous pic. The other half I gave to MSF. Who as I was preparing to speak about my choices WhatsApp'd me to tell me that members of MSF staff were killed yesterday in a hospital in Syria. A timely reminder if one were needed of what an amazing organisation they are, full of incredibly brave staff. I'm so proud to work at Open, an organisation that gives me this phenomenal opportunity.
Fiona also wrote about the experience here.