Sir Tom Hunter to receive Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy

Sir Tom Hunter
Image caption Sir Tom was granted a knighthood in 2005

Scottish entrepreneur Sir Tom Hunter is to receive an international award next month for his philanthropic work.

He is one of six people who have been granted the Carnegie Medal, which is awarded biannually to some of the world's leading philanthropists.

Sir Tom is only the second Scot to receive the medal, after Kwik-Fit founder Sir Tom Farmer.

The medals will be presented at a ceremony in the Scottish Parliament on 17 October.

The ceremony has only been been held outside the United States once before - also at the Scottish Parliament in 2005.

In that same year, Sir Tom Hunter was knighted for services to entrepreneurship and philanthropy.

The son of an Ayrshire shop owner, he started his first business selling sports shoes from the back of a van with a £5,000 loan from his father.

He later built his Sports Division business into Europe's largest independent sports retailer and eventually sold it in 1998 for £290m.

Sir Tom and his wife Lady Marion went on to establish The Hunter Foundation (THF).

In 2000, THF endowed the Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship at Strathclyde to support research and teaching in entrepreneurship across the university and Scotland as a whole.

Medal recipients

Others who will be collecting their Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy next month include Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, chairwoman of the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development, and Dr Dmitry Zimin, founder of the second largest telecoms business in Russia.

American hedge fund manager Dr James Harris Simons - along with his wife, economist Dr Marilyn Simons - will also receive medals, as will Dame Janet Wolfson de Botton on behalf of the Wolfson family, which set up the Wolfson Foundation. It was named after Glasgow-born business leader and philanthropist Sir Isaac Wolfson, who died in 1991.

Image caption Andrew Carnegie made his fortune in steel before giving it to good causes

Previous medal recipients include the Rockefeller Family, the Gates Family, the Sainsbury Family, the Cadbury Family, George Soros and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

The Scottish Parliament is to hold a public ballot to give members of the public a chance to attend this year's ceremony in the debating chamber.

People who want to attend should apply to Holyrood in writing before 2 October. Further details of how to apply are on the parliament's website.

Presiding Officer Tricia Marwick said: "We are proud that the Scottish Parliament is once again the only place outside of America to host the Carnegie Medals of Philanthropy ceremony.

"It's a great honour to share in acknowledging the significant contribution the medallists are making worldwide in their chosen areas."

This year's ceremony marks the centennial of the establishment of the Carnegie UK Trust.

The trust is named after Dunfermline-born industrialist Andrew Carnegie, whose family emigrated to the US from a life of poverty in Scotland in 1848.

He made his fortune in steel, becoming the world's richest man, and eventually gave away billions of pounds to fund a network of global foundations.

'Greatest export'

Vartan Gregorian, chairman of the Carnegie Medal Selection Committee, said: "Andrew Carnegie was the greatest export of Scotland to America, and we are delighted he did not forget his beloved Scotland as he helped lay the foundation for modern philanthropy.

"As we of the Carnegie institutions celebrate his legacy, we all remember his admonition that with wealth comes responsibility.

"Our Medal of Philanthropy honourees have embraced that philosophy.

"The legacies of Andrew Carnegie and our honourees can be found in science, education, libraries, museums, and universities all over the world.

"They are a great tribute to humanity and its potential."

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