Philanthropy Impact

Inspiring philanthropy and social investment across borders, sectors and causes

Sir Tom Hunter

The British entrepreneur whom the Sunday Times called Scotland's first home grown billionaire.

Sir Tom Hunter

Case study

Sir Tom Hunter was knighted in 2005 for services to entrepreneurship and philanthropy. A long-term advocate of ‘giving back’ Tom has championed the cause of philanthropy in Europe. The son of a local shop owner, Tom started his first business selling sports shoes from the back of a van with a £5,000 loan from his dad, building this business into Europe’s largest independent sports retailer and eventually selling it in 1998 for £290m. Tom and his wife, Lady Marion Hunter went on to establish The Hunter Foundation (THF). At the core of their philanthropy are two key principles – that philanthropy is not a substitute for government investment and that the poorest of the poor require a ‘hand up’ not a ‘hand out’. In the UK, investments tend towards partnerships with government in enterprise and entrepreneurial initiatives, typically in a ‘pilot, prove, adopt’ mode where THF deploys risk capital against key performance indicators for innovative programmes and if proven the Government adopts the funding and programme. 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. In turn the Foundation worked actively, and continues to do so, to support enterprise and entrepreneurship throughout the education system working in Schools, Colleges and Universities. THF has also invested in large scale campaigning on major global issues having underwritten the Make Poverty History campaign and Live 8. Internationally THF has in large part focused on partnering with the Clinton Foundation in a joint endeavour, the Clinton Hunter Development Initiative (CHDI) to develop in partnership with Government innovative solutions to support country growth.

This case study is tagged under

  • Inspirational donations