Karen Napier fund
Russell Napier set up the Karen Napier Fund in memory of his wife Karen, who passed away in 2000.
During the charity’s first decade or so, Russell’s sole focus was providing scholarships for a Masters Degree in Investment Analysis at the University of Stirling, which was the course that Karen took when she decided she wanted to move on from her career in the arts and get into finance. The scholarships were designed primarily for women, who were underrepresented on the course, totalling just 5% of its students. Most recipients of the scholarship were – and still are – from overseas, often from Vietnam or African countries.
Inequality of wealth and opportunity are two of Russell’s biggest concerns, hence his focus on education, which he believes can change people’s lives, and particularly the education of people from less developed countries. Though he can’t do anything about the inequality of wealth itself, he can do something about the inequality of opportunity caused by it.
‘I’m trying to do something in a tiny way about the inequality of opportunity by ensuring that the people who are smart enough to get an education get the funding to do so. I wanted to know about every single charity in Scotland promoting female education. I wanted someone to tell me who were the good and the bad ones, who’s efficient and who isn’t. Foundation Scotland was able to support me.’
In 2013, when Russell had more money at his disposal, he decided to expand the reach of the charity, and now donates to more causes throughout the UK and across the globe.
While Russell works with Foundation Scotland to manage and administer the Karen Napier fund, he also plays a vital role with the Foundation as an ambassador. When speaking of reasons to entrust a charity to the Foundation, he turned to his own experiences:
‘I used to wonder, why isn’t there someone who does this for people? Surely the level of charitable giving would increase if people – lucky people, who are money rich and time poor – had someone to do this for them? Not only do Foundation Scotland take the paperwork off my hands, they help me find the charitable causes best aligned with my goals. The great joy of charity is giving the money away and then seeing what it does, not sitting down and filling in pieces of paper.”