Nicholas Ferguson CBE
Background: Chairman of BSkyB Group plc; Former Chairman of the Courtauld Institute of Art; Former Chairman of the Institute for Philanthropy; Former Chairman and Chief Executive of SVG Capital plc; Chairman of the Kilfinan Group and the Kilfinan Trust, Nick Ferguson brings a wealth of experience to his philanthropy.
If you want the world to be a better place, then do something about it. No government in the world has the resources to do all that is needed. Charitable giving is fundamental to a healthy society.’ Heeding his own words, Nick Ferguson takes an active approach to philanthropy, mixing passion with strong business sense. ‘Philanthropy is both similar to and different from investing. The people running the organisation make all the difference; yet, with charities it is much harder to measure a return.’
Nick’s own charitable giving, through the Kilfinan Trust, which he founded, is inspired primarily by personal experiences. For example, the Trust gives to organisations with which a member of his family is actively involved, such as West London Action for Children, where his wife is the Chairman. A key focus is Argyll, Nick’s home. He and Jane have a donor-advised fund with the Scottish Community Foundation that benefits youth and elderly in Argyll. They also have a programme of interest free loans for entrepreneurs who create much needed jobs in Argyll; and they part-finance the Argyll College Construction & Engineering Centre in Lochgilphead. The Trust gives scholarships to twelve Argyll students each year to attend Edinburgh University.
Nick founded a mentoring group for chief executives of UK charities, the Kilfinan Group, which now numbers 125 mentors.
Finally, Nick is chairing a group campaigning to improve the fish habitat of the Clyde, to ensure that more jobs are created.
Nick summarised: ‘If you give in a thoughtful way, and get involved, you can make a huge difference, and it gives you a lot of satisfaction.’”