Sir Ian Wood receives Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy at New York ceremony

Oil tycoon and philanthropist Sir Ian Wood has received the Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy – the only European on the list of nine “outstanding” recipients.

The award was presented at a ceremony at The New York Public Library, with the recipients – who also include Star Wars creator George Lucas – deemed to be be among the most charitable and visionary philanthropists in the world.

It comes after the names were announced in August at Andrew Carnegie’s ancestral home in Dunfermline – coinciding with the 100th anniversary of the death of the Scottish industrialist and aiming to continue his aim of achieving “real and permanent good in this world”.

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Wood said at the time that his own work for good causes was “at least partly inspired by” Carnegie, as he empathised with his story. “I hope he would be pleased with a fellow Scot, albeit one from a different generation, who has achieved a tiny fraction of his accomplishments in increasing access, reducing inequity and giving people the tools and platforms to help themselves.”

The Aberdonian has cited Dunfermline-born Carnegie as an inspiration for his own work for good causes. Picture: Filip Wolak.
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Established in 2001, the medal is awarded every two years, and previous recipients include Scottish entrepreneurs Sir Tom Hunter and Sir Tom Farmer.

The medal selection committee includes William Thomson, great-grandson of Andrew Carnegie; and Andy Walker, secretary and treasurer, Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland.
Wood, who rose to prominence as the driving force behind FTSE 100 energy and engineering services group Wood, in 2007 founded The Wood Foundation, which focuses its philanthropic investments and resources on efforts to reduce inequity and increase opportunities.

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The organisation, which he chairs, focuses on three key areas, namely making markets work for the poor in Sub-Saharan Africa; and in Scotland both developing young people and facilitating economic and education development.

The Wood Foundation is also responsible for founding Scotland’s first private sector–led economic development body, Opportunity North East, which seeks to spur an economic renaissance in the North-east.

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Vartan Gregorian, president of Carnegie Corporation of New York and chairman of the selection committee, said: “If he were here today, Andrew Carnegie would have saluted the philanthropists who are in our midst — especially past and present Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy recipients. He would have been gratified by your vision, compassion, and commitment to humanity.”

See here for a Wood Foundation video profile of Abby Cook, a Scottish student who advocates for adaptive equipment for athletes with disabilities, and Emna Ben-Hamou, her teacher, who introduced a program at Grangemouth High School that helps students get involved with philanthropy.