The Wood Foundation’s UK Director, Ali MacLachlan, has been appointed as Chair of the Scottish Grantmakers’ network. She shares her ambitions for the collective as a force for change, a forum for challenge and inspiration, and redressing the perceived dynamics of the sector.

“I am incredibly proud to have been appointed Chair of an organisation which represents a community which has such a vital role to play in society.

“I have dedicated my entire professional career, and much of my personal life, to the third sector. There has long been a distinction between what is seen as the traditional third sector and grant making organisations. This must change. That narrow view devalues the absolute interconnectedness and opportunities that arise from working in partnership for a vibrant, collaborative, and forward-moving third sector which recognises the rewards of working together.

“This is a new chapter for the organisation. Having recently become a SCIO, we have a new constitution, and I am joined on the board by Jo Elliot and Gareth Morgan as fellow new trustees. It’s a really exciting time to be driving the change agenda that we so wholly believe in. We can build upon these new foundations with ambition, remaining forward-looking and progressive. We are far from homogenous, but rich in experience, interests, and ambition. Together we can be a real force for change.

“Societally, it also feels like we are entering a new chapter. The fallout from Covid-19 will be fierce and it will be long-lasting, but we are moving forward, harnessing the lessons learned in the past year to boldly reimagine a great many elements of both the world we live in, and how we engage with those around us.

“A strong, collaborative, committed grant community has an important role to play in this new chapter.

“We can only do that by being open, honest, and committed to this network; by being proactive in training, sharing best practice, listening to inspirational speakers, and hosting safe forums for robust challenge and discussions. These are principles and values we, at The Wood Foundation, believe in absolutely, so we have a responsibility to model that and meaningfully lead on these efforts within the sector.

“Another welcome change we have seen this year is the shifting dynamic between charities delivering upon key services and the grant making community. There has traditionally been a tension emergent from an ‘us’ and ‘them’ distinction, with perceived power dynamics around parity of voice, alongside rigid funding models. There is a new opportunity due to the flexibility required to manage the Covid-19 response. Relationships, values, and alignment are acutely important in how we move forward. We must use this as a building block to further strengthen the relationships to ensure our funding, expertise, and support is having the biggest impact on Scotland’s communities.”