The fund-raising campaign comes after the businessman accepted an invitation to become Macmillan Cancer Support’s first ambassador, a UK-wide role.
He is aiming to raise the £2m from, among others, the contacts he has made throughout his long business career as well as the many existing charitable trusts in Scotland or those with Scottish connections.
To mark the official launch of the appeal, the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in the centre of Edinburgh, the venue for the event, was lit up with Macmillan logos.
Kilgour said: “My mother had cancer and I currently have a close family member who is terminal with the disease, so I know how this dreadful illness can devastate.
“I was asked by Macmillan Cancer Support chief executive Lynda Thomas to become the charity’s first ambassador, an invitation I was pleased to accept – and I’m excited by the role.
“I have pledged to match pound for pound the first £100,000 of donations to the appeal and I have been joined in this endeavour by an unnamed family charitable trust who have donated a further £25,000 on the same basis.
“In the coming weeks and months, I will have face-to-face meetings with some of the biggest names in Scottish business to explain what we are about with this appeal.”
The £2m raised by the appeal will kickstart a programme of transformational change in cancer support across Scotland called “Taking The Big Leap In Scotland”.
Kilgour, who is CEO of Dow Investments and executive chairman of care homes company Renaissance Care, added: “Cancer is no respecter of status, age or gender and more and more of us have friends, relatives or work colleagues who have survived, or sadly, not survived this terrible disease.
“Macmillan Cancer Support has an absolutely vital role to play and I’m asking the Scottish business and charitable trust communities to answer the appeal’s call: ‘Help Macmillan Help Scotland’.”