The medals are awarded once every two years to a handful of global philanthropists who the Carnegie family of institutions believes seek to create a world of positive change through their giving.
Sir Ian Wood, Chairman of The Wood Foundation which was established in 2007, is the only European philanthropist on this year’s list. He said:
“I am very proud and honoured to be one of this year’s recipients of the Carnegie Medal for Philanthropy. I feel a particular pride in representing Scotland on this, the 100th anniversary of the passing of our greatest national philanthropist.
“My own philanthropy has undoubtedly been at least partly inspired by Andrew Carnegie, an industrialist turned philanthropist who gave people huge opportunities locally and globally. I hope he would be pleased with a fellow Scot, albeit one from a different generation, who has achieved a tiny fraction of his accomplishments in increasing access, reducing inequity and giving people the tools and platforms to help themselves.”
The Wood Foundation’s work in the UK and Africa includes managing a diverse range of interventions and investments centered on a venture philanthropic model which promotes sustainability, systemic change and transformational impact on the basis of helping people to help themselves.
In Rwanda and Tanzania, The Wood Foundation is transforming regions through the tea industry. As well as investing significant funds and expertise, it is also training 5,000 smallholder farmers each year to create a sustainable industry which can be successful for generations to come. More than 70,000 smallholder farmers now work directly with the Foundation on up to 20,000 hectares of land, creating additional employment for more than 30,000 people.
Recently, more than 9000 smallholder farmers in Rwanda, many of whom had previously been living in serious poverty, held two celebration events called ‘Barazzas’ to thank The Wood Foundation for its interventions.
In Scotland, the flagship programme of its ‘developing young people in Scotland’ portfolio is the Youth and Philanthropy Initiative (YPI). The active citizenship programme has engaged more than 175,000 young people introducing them to philanthropy through the responsibility of awarding nearly £4m to charities. Its recent annual event saw 1000 young people come together to celebrate their achievements, discuss serious social issues and consider how they would continue their philanthropy after YPI.