City banking giant backs children’s food charity

Bank of America makes pan-tastic breakfast pledge
Fry up: Anthony Harte shows off his skills

A bank with a Square Mile HQ added an extra dash of ‘Magic’ to Pancake Day last week, pledging two years of financial backing to a charity that helps feed some of the most underprivileged children in the country.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAML), with offices in King Edward Street, has teamed up with Magic Breakfast in a partnership that will see the firm’s employees sharing their skills with the charity while raising funds to provide one million healthy breakfasts to schools in disadvantaged areas of the UK.

To celebrate the launch of the partnership – announced on Shrove Tuesday – Anthony Harte, BAML’s senior vice president for environment, social and governance, went along with a group of staff volunteers to cook a pancake breakfast with the help of students at Woolmore Primary School.

Independent research published by the Education Endowment Foundation and carried out by the Institute for Fiscal Studies, with the support of Magic Breakfast, found that Year 2 children attending schools that offered them a free, nutritious breakfast before lessons boosted their reading, writing and maths by as much as two months over the course of an academic year.

Carmel McConnell MBE, founder and chief executive of Magic Breakfast, said: “I want to thank Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s
UK workforce for choosing to support the work we do at a level which is truly transformative.

“This ambitious charity partnership will fund over one million healthy breakfasts to UK schoolchildren who right now risk missing their classroom learning through hunger or malnourishment. “We are passionate about every child having the chance to succeed, and to have the bank alongside, with such strong and sincere commitment, gives Magic Breakfast a massive boost towards ending child classroom hunger in this country, forever.”

It is estimated the partnership will reach around 2,500 children every schoolday. “From past experience, I know that we will pull out all the stops to raise vital funds to help children access breakfast clubs and nutrition advice,” said Alex Wilmot-Sitwell, BAML’s president for Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

“One cannot overestimate the importance of a healthy meal to start the day, and the long-term benefits this can bring.”