Jamaica Gleaner



CHAS. E. Ramson has a proud history of giving back to Jamaica on a national level. Many are aware of their sponsorshi­p ties to the Tallawahs (cricket), the Sunshine Girls (netball), club football teams and Olympic boxing, plus the generous donations they’ve made to the Bustamante Children’s Hospital and The University of the West Indies. While these ‘top-down’ investment­s in Jamaica are celebrated in the media, much of Ramson’s giving happens out of the public eye at a grassroots level. This is because Chas. E. Ramson Limited, a company whose motto is ‘Built on Service’, believes that putting Jamaica first means uplifting and empowering Jamaican youth on an individual basis.

“We are very nationalis­tic,” explains Phillip Ramson, managing director of Chas. E. Ramson Limited.

“Anything related to supporting Jamaica, we get on board. Whether it’s hurricane relief or nation-building.” Ramson’s partnered with Mark Josephs from Kisko in 2019, to build the Salt Marsh Primary School in Trelawny. Not only did Chas. E. Ramson donate money, they also recruited volunteers from the Ramson’s team to physically build the school alongside tennis pro, Serena Williams, showing the depth of their commitment to the cause.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, when Jamaican residents were held in quarantine zones in Bull Bay, St Thomas and Corn Piece, Clarendon, Chas. E. Ramson answered the call to service. In partnershi­p with their sister company Caribbean Foods Ltd, they donated 200 cases of Foska Oats and 200 cases of Real Soap to these residents who were unable to leave the zone. “Jamaica always comes first, because without Jamaica, you don’t have Ramson’s,” explains Phillip.

This sentiment rings especially true for Jamaican youth. Foska Oats partnered with the Melbourne Cricket Club for four years, to put on a summer camp and a year-round camp, aimed at building youth sports. “eighty to 100 students between the ages of five and 15, some from disadvanta­ged homes, attended camp every Saturday,” explains Kathryn Silvera, director of sales and marketing at Chas. E. Ramson.“in addition to cricket coaching, they learned computer skills, life skills, and were provided a nutritious meal.” Grassroots and community building programmes is what Chas. E. Ramson Limited really embraces because they make such a significan­t change in the lives of individual­s.

Another opportunit­y to create positive change was born from Christophe­r Ramson’s involvemen­t with yoga. While participat­ing in an outreach project at the Rio Cobre Juvenile Centre, Christophe­r spoke with teens, ages 12 to 18, who had been remanded for committing violent crimes. He heard moving tales of how meditation and yoga helped transform their lives. As a result, Chas. E. Ramson Limited became active in that community. The company organised a series of motivation­al speakers and invited a few young men to listen. “These kids who have been completely bullied by life, now have been given the tools to become introspect­ive and gain control of their lives through yoga and meditation,” Christophe­r explains. “We wanted to help them along on this positive path by sharing stories of people from similar beginnings who had found a way out.” Ramson’s even hired one young man from the facility and helped him get back on his feet. The Rio Cobre Juvenile Centre remains a high priority for Ramson’s, who continue to donate bulk oats to supplement the cost of feeding the young men remanded there.

While Christophe­r focused on uplifting young men, Kathryn sought to empower Jamaican girls. Through Chas. E. Ramson, she partnered with ‘We Inspire Girls’, to help fund workshop initiative­s, implemente­d in high schools across Jamaica, aimed at cultivatin­g emotional intelligen­ce, leadership, self-mastery, and many other values in our female student population. “women play a pivotal role in our society, both in the workforce and in the home. We want to ensure that they receive more opportunit­ies to build their confidence so they can reach for the stars.” Kathryn was excited to contribute as a speaker, as well as through product donations by Chas. E. Ramson Limited.

In 2019, Kathryn and Phillip welcomed Eddie Ann Gordon, the We Inspire Girls Social Change Scholarshi­p recipient, to a paid summer internship at Chas. E. Ramson Limited. Eddie Ann, a 10th grader at Vere Technical High School, spent six weeks sharpening her business acumen and broadening her experience level as she studied under Kathryn, Phillip and all the directors at Ramson’s. “We enjoyed playing a part in what will surely be, Eddie Ann’s success story,” adds Kathryn.

As the fourth generation of Ramson’s, who remain active in the business, Phillip, Christophe­r and Kathryn take the company legacy, ‘Built on Service’, seriously.

They continue to seek out philanthro­pic opportunit­ies that encourage youth developmen­t and nation-building, and causes that improve Jamaica, one Jamaican at a time.

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