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SCF Debate Raises Food For Thought

09 January 2013

A group of influential philanthropists, attending the Scottish Community Foundation’s Philanthropy debate on 6th November were shocked and alarmed at the growing number of people in 21st Century Scotland who are close to the poverty line and reliant on food banks. In a failing economy – it is food bank charities that are booming.

The audience made a passionate plea to the panellists for their help in addressing this growing problem. There was tacit acceptance that there are a great number of causes which need support and philanthropists shouldn’t be bullied into how they donate. However, it was felt that with their connections and ability to leverage additional funds, they could make a difference.

Panellist, Marcelle Speller OBE, founder of commented “The debate highlighted the great opportunity to make a difference in your local area including supporting food banks. This is the core message of the organisation I founded to shine a light on the important work of local charities and community groups.”

Martin Sime, CEO of SCVO who attended the debate said “There is a great diversity of causes which can be supported, but I am banging the drum for this issue, as it is a sad business we have come to this in the 21st century in Scotland. My plea to Scotland’s philanthropists is support causes which are close to your heart, but also help us address this problem.”

The debate was chaired by the BBC’s Sally Magnusson, and attended by 200 high profile philanthropists, entrepreneurs, business and third sector organisations from across Scotland. The four panellists were Lord Smith of Kelvin, patron of the Scottish Community Foundation, Marcelle Speller OBE, founder and Chief Executive of; Angus MacDonald OBE entrepreneur and Beacon Fellow and Fraser Doherty founder of Superjam.

The debate in association with Adam and Company considered a number of issues such as the role of philanthropy in contemporary society, diverse organisations that philanthropists now have the opportunity to fund such as charities and social enterprises and the various forms of funding now available.

The overall aim of the evening was to consider what philanthropists and charities can do better and whether philanthropists should put their heads above the parapet and play an increasing role in society.

Giles Ruck, chief executive of the Scottish Community Foundation said: “This year’s debate tackled a number of key issues affecting society and the role philanthropy has to play. One issue that created some lively discussion was the growing number of families nearing the poverty line and despite Scotland, being known for its generosity that this trend is growing at an alarming rate. SCF has seen a growing number of applications from organisations seeking to fund food banks. More recently, we awarded a grant to a Clackmannanshire Charity, which applied for funding for provision of food parcels. Whilst this was not the charities core service, the application came as a result of an increasing awareness that there was a need to provide essential food items for families and the elderly in their community.

Philanthropists, such as our panel members, are extremely passionate about the causes they support. However, there was agreement that a culture shift is required to ensure that philanthropy can be celebrated by all and that by generating discussions lessons can be learned and we can open up giving to less palatable causes.

SCF will continue to play a significant role in providing a platform for philanthropists to examine a wide range of topics and enable collaboration to tackle some of the issues explored in the debate.”

Graham Storrie, Managing Director for Adam & Company commented “Yet again, this year's event attended by over 200 influential Scottish philanthropists delivered an energetic and passion fuelled debate. Adam & Company were delighted to continue our support in bringing such topical issues to the front of the news agenda, while also providing valuable learning opportunities to our clients. Since introducing a philanthropy advisory service to our suite of services last year, we have been delighted by the interest for strategic charitable giving that has been demonstrated by our clients.”


Media contacts

For more information about the debate or the Scottish Community Foundation, contact Jan Torrance or Jacqui Morris on 0141 341 4960

Notes to editors

1. The panel and Scottish Community Foundation chief executive, Giles Ruck are available for interview. Please contact Jan Torrance or Jacqui Morris to arrange.
2. For more information on food banks in Scotland visit or contact the Scottish Community Foundation on 0141 341 4960.

3. About Scotland’s Philanthropy Debate 2012

  • The Scottish Community Foundation held its first debate on philanthropy in November 2008. 
  • The debate has become a keenly anticipated event in the Scottish philanthropy calendar and attracts a high calibre panel and guests.
  • The debate is an opportunity for philanthropists to engage in debate and learn about philanthropy, perhaps giving them a sense of taking a first or further step on their philanthropic journey.
  • It’s also an event for professional advisers (solicitors, accountants, etc.), who are often the gatekeepers of an individual’s charitable giving, to learn more about effective philanthropy.
  • Often philanthropy is discussed in a UK or international context, the debate aims to provide a Scottish slant.

4. About the Scottish Community Foundation

SCF brings a fresh approach to philanthropy and make the act of giving effective and rewarding. We reach all corners of Scotland through grassroots grant making. And we create high impact in specific areas through major donations, investments and capital initiatives. Our in-depth knowledge of the charitable sector ensures that client giving has the greatest value.

What makes the Foundation different is our ability to engage clients and their funding, high impact community organisations and leaders. Our processes, knowledge and relationships fuel innovative and transformative collaboration. We help people and organisations invest in Scotland, to build strong and resilient places to live, work and grow.

5. About Adam & Company
Adam & Company is one of Scotland’s leading private banks and wealth managers, and a member of the Royal Bank of Scotland Group of companies.
Adam & Company provides banking, investment management and financial planning services to private individuals and their families and their associated trusts.
Further information on the range of services offered by Adam & Company can be obtained by visiting the website or calling Andy Nicoll on 0131 225 8484.


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