Representatives of World Merit Councils from around the world met in Morocco in February, 2018.

Representatives of World Merit Councils from around the world met in Morocco in February, 2018.

Taylor Stopforth founder becomes Interim COO of World Merit

by Jack Stopforth

TSCS’s managing director Jack Stopforth has agreed to become Interim Chief Operating Officer of a charity that works with the United Nations Development Programme to realise its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

World Merit was founded by Chris Arnold, owner of Smaller Earth group and founder of Camp Leaders UK – both highly successful businesses, employing more than three hundred people in the UK, US and elsewhere. Jack saw Chris addressing an international business conference in 2013 and was inspired by the charity’s determination to tackle a range of seemingly intractable global problems by empowering and supporting young people to mobilise and organise for change at the level of their own city or community. The seventeen SDGs can be viewed in full at www.undp.org and include ending poverty, zero hunger, good health and wellbeing, quality education, clean energy and other hugely ambitious but vital objectives.

The head office of the charity enables and facilitates the formation of World Merit local councils through financial pump-priming and via the provision of logistical, PR and marketing support. They advise on local laws and regulations, sponsorship options and help from government, state and local authorities in host countries. They also arrange frequent global forums where local council leaders can learn from each other’s experience and share best practice, guided by experts from businesses, non-profits, governments and NGOs. Remarkably, every country in the world that is recognised by the UN has at least one World Merit Council.

Jack is not the only one to have been impressed by Chris Arnold and the World Merit team and the charity has been feted by the United Nations itself as the UN’s leading partner in youth development work in support of the SDGs. In turn, this official recognition by the UN has caused other countries and major international charitable trusts to sit up and take notice, so that Jack’s first task as Interim COO was to accompany Chris Arnold and the charity’s US President, Alexandra Akira on a visit to Saudi Arabia for talks with a major Foundation.

Jack said: “I have been supporting Chris and World Merit in a variety of ways for some years and earlier last month (February 2018) at a summit meeting of the World Merit councils in Marrakesh, Morocco, I was invited to become a Trustee. However, given the scale of the charity’s ambitions in 2018 and the fact that it operates with a talented but very small number of staff members I suggested that I defer the Trusteeship and, instead, worked with the World Merit team as their Interim Chief Operations Officer, to embed some sound organisational practices, support the CEO and board and mentor and grow the team”.

Under the agreement with World Merit, the charity will become a client of TSCS until December 2018 and Jack will be free to work on other TSCS clients and projects in the meantime. Commenting on the deal, World Merit founder Chris Arnold said: “Jack’s experience, business background and extensive media and political contacts will be very welcome at World Merit. This is an exciting period for this charity and I sense that Jack shares our view that we can grow significantly and work with the UN and others to realise their goal of 50 million engaged global citizens by 2030”.

TSCS Director of Communications Carolyn Taylor conducts a seminar for World Merit in Marrakesh.

TSCS Director of Communications Carolyn Taylor conducts a seminar for World Merit in Marrakesh.

Jack Stopforth