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A photo of a small rock that has been painted with flowers and text that says 'Welcome to our garden'.
A photo of a small rock that has been painted with flowers and text that says 'Welcome to our garden'.

Baillie Gifford

  • Category: Corporate Giving

Back in 1908, Baillie Gifford was founded as an investment management partnership in Edinburgh by Colonel Augustus Baillie and Carlyle Gifford. Their office was situated on Hill Street in the centre of the city and they employed five clerks.

Fast forward over 100 years to today, and the company has established itself as one of the leading independent fund management firms. Its head office remains in the same city it was founded, but Baillie Gifford now employs over 1,800 people and has offices across the globe.  

Throughout the firm’s history, its partners have been involved with charitable giving, and in 2001 they officially founded their first Philanthropy Committee. 

In 2008 they established their first full-time Philanthropy Manager role and in 2021 they added to this with a second full-time Philanthropy Manager. As an organisation, they like to take a long-term view with their philanthropy and work with charities over multiple years, supporting their growth and development.  They have a committee of staff subgroups spanning:

  • Arts
  • Communities
  • Grassroots sports
  • Health and education
  • International
  • Natural Environment
  • Social

Each year, staff nominate and vote for a Charity of the Year, and they then fundraise for the chosen charity through staff events and initiatives.

Most of their philanthropy supports charitable organisations based in Scotland, which is why working with Foundation Scotland made sense.  Sam Patman, who is Philanthropy Manager with Baillie Gifford explained why.

"It’s important to have a transparent relationship with all our partners, and Foundation Scotland has done so many great things and they’re a big player in their arena. It’s not a box-ticking exercise, but we know that they will tick all their boxes and we’re confident in their judgement, which allows us the comfort and safety of giving them a substantial amount of money.

They have a much wider reach than we ever possibly could, and they ensure the money is going to people who really need it. Given their standing in the industry, people know they can go to them and they will find them a fund that fits. And we’re sufficiently broad enough to fund a project that doesn’t fit into any of their other funds. It’s enormously gratifying to see the reach and the diversity."

"Foundation Scotland are a great fit. They’re the experts and they have the umbrella to get all the applications, and the apparatus to judge them. We aim to give as unrestricted funding as possible because we’re not experts, and circumstances change. It’s not about us sitting here saying, right, we want you to spend this money only on X, Y and Z. We’re open to change. Society changes, needs change, and the thing that’s impressed us the most about Foundation Scotland is how they think about that and are forward-looking. It’s a strong relationship that we’re really happy with.’

In the last few years, Foundation Scotland has supported Baillie Gifford to launch their Community Awards Programme, Multi-Year Awards, Grassroots Sports Fund and their International Fund. 

Offering grants of up to £5,000, these four funds have benefited a wide range of causes since their launch. One of those causes is Team United, a Lothian charity offering sporting activities to young people with autism. In 2019, Team United was awarded a grant of £13,915 over 3 years to enable them to run their Team Challenge programme. The programme provided a range of sporting activities for young people aged 8 to 16 years, many of whom find themselves excluded from taking part within their mainstream school settings due to their disability. Almost 50 young people were able to access new sporting activities, build confidence and make new friends thanks to this project.