YPI Scotland

The Wood Foundation was launched in 2007 by Sir Ian Wood KT GBE and his immediate family to address economic and societal inequities. In March 2008, The Wood Foundation made its first grant.

Fifteen years later, the UK team, which now totals more than 30 people, is driving opportunities to empower tens of thousands of young people each and every year to thrive in their education and beyond through significant funding and programme management investments.

UK Director Ali MacLachlan reflects on 2023 as it draws to a close and The Wood Foundation’s continued ambition.

“When we The Wood Foundation launched more than 15 years ago, it was with a commitment ambition to do more than simply provide money and sticking plaster solutions. It was with the belief that venture philanthropy was investing in sustainable and innovative solutions which empower people through rich opportunities and experiences to create their own legacies.

“In that time, we have committed more than £100m – a large portion of that in economic development through ONE, as well as in the Lady Helen Parking Centre in Aberdeen which has improved the hospital visiting experience for tens of thousands of patients and families.

“Our team in Scotland is primarily focussed on our developing young people in Scotland portfolio of work which has made significant strides this year. As we set to open the 2024 chapter, I think it’s important to stop and reflect, to celebrate the achievements of our dedicated team, as well as the achievements of those who have been empowered and inspired by our investments.

“YPI is celebrating its 15th anniversary. From launching with a small North-east cohort in 2008, we are now active in almost 290 secondary schools nationally. In that time, 310,000 young people have been responsible for granting £6.8m to local charities the length and breadth of Scotland. They have developed skills, they have raised awareness of crucial support services in their communities, and they have made a difference. We are now meeting YPI alumni in the workforce who cite their experiences at school as inspiration for what they have gone on to achieve. This year we welcomed a team of Programme Officers. This staff model is allowing us to work in far closer partnership with our schools and we are looking forward to seeing what this enhanced level of support can do to deepen the impact of the investment.

“Excelerate is now working in partnership with 17 schools in Aberdeenshire, Aberdeen, and, most recently, Angus. We have appointed six new Business and Community Support Officers and have moved into focussing on scalability and sustainability of the investment to ensure the learnings and achievements of our partner schools can inspire the wider efforts and conversations around much-needed education reform.

“Through RAiSE, we have engaged our final cohort of local authorities and are delighted that exit reporting with those who have completed their two-year Primary Science Development Officer funding period has been overwhelmingly positive. This dedicated resource is making a real difference to the confidence and abilities of primary practitioners and, in turn, raising the consistency of high-quality STEM learning experiences for our learners.

“These are just the headlines, the positive outcomes. What lies behind these has been an ability to overcome challenges, be courageous, develop incredible partnerships, and remain true to our values.

“We look forward to further driving our ambition and impact in 2024 and beyond.”