As Wood Group globalised, I became increasingly aware of the huge imbalance between the “haves” and “have nots” across the world. As well as more open trade, globalisation must also mean acceptance of responsibility to help improve the economic wellbeing of those people and nations which have not prospered.
I believe we all have an underlying responsibility in this world for each other. Philanthropy is more important than ever, and although we will never be able to sort out all of the world's problems, we can try, and the impact of trying is incredible. As a philanthropist I have the responsibility of ecnouraging other people to realise the impact they can have by giving. It doesn't need to be money; time and/or knowledge can be just as powerful.
One of TWF’s main investment focuses is the Make Markets Work for the Poor in Sub Saharan Africa portfolio, with the ultimate goal of creating sustainable economic activity and jobs. We are under no illusion of the complex nature of this challenge and we know we will only effect change by helping the local people and communities help themselves and achieve this in a way that is consistent with their culture and way of life. Money cannot buy the vision but the effective application of careful business and market analysis and support by quality minds and effective delivery partners working with the local private sector will, we believe, create sustainable change.
Additionally, we wish to support the development of young people in Scotland by supporting them to achieve positive destinations, increasing opportunities to engage with enterprise as well as encouraging tolerance and good citizenship principles. I am dismayed at the growing intolerance across the world and indeed within the UK, and we will particularly support programmes which broaden young people’s horizons and promote responsibility for each other. Recently we have also created a third portfolio of work called Facilitating Economic and Education Development in Scotland.
We are delighted to have developed an effective and enterprising team under the leadership of Alison Maclachlan in the UK, and David Knopp in Africa. I am pleased that my youngest son Garreth is also taking such an active interest and participation in the Foundation.
Lady Helen Wood