Blog September 2023

Our search is open: could you be one of our four new Trustees?

We are now seeking four new Trustees to join our board in the new year. Our Chief Executive, Jim McCormick, reflects on the past three years since the start of the Trust’s strategy, and shares what is on the horizon for us.

It is three years since our mission to build solutions to poverty and trauma in Scotland began. In that time, a cost-of-living crisis had followed hard on the heels of the pandemic, creating new risks as well as intensifying familiar hardships. It is the toughest of times for many of the people and places we are here to serve.

We are looking for signals in a busy landscape – the insights drawn from the experiences of our grant holders and learning partners – in order to improve how we act as an independent funder. The response rate for our recent annual Grant Holder Survey shows a powerful desire to speak out about the pressures faced in our sector as well as the remarkable work to prevent and relieve disadvantage, often against the odds.

In that time, we have marked our 60th Anniversary since being established by the Robertson sisters, pioneering women of business and philanthropy. You can read our story and watch the film to mark this milestone. Our latest Annual Review can be viewed here – and we invite you to take a look at some examples of the brilliant work we have funded recently including SAY Women, The Cottage Family Centre and our Financial Security programme awards.   

The Robertson Trust is a majority shareholder in The Edrington Group. Our income flows from a dividend on the company’s operating profits and a growing set of pooled investments. This enables us to commit an average of £25M charitable expenditure per year by 2025. In addition, a new Social Impact Investment (SII) plan brings a further set of tools and resources into play towards our mission. This will enable us to commit up to £20M further for this purpose.

We have changed as an organisation too, moving from strongly silo-based working towards matrix approaches, mobilising around four primary themes:

  • Financial Security
  • Work Pathways
  • Education Pathways
  • Emotional Wellbeing & Relationships.

We are building know-how on issues of power and justice across. We seek to build our contribution on two cross-cutting objectives: Climate Change and our Diversity, Equity, Inclusion (DEI) approach which we call EDPR (Equity, Diversity, Participation and Rights), especially advancing racial justice. We have committed to a whole organisation approach to active learning on anti-racism and allyship, becoming trauma-informed and advancing meaningful participation of people with lived experience.

Next up... further change is on the horizon. We are now seeking four new Trustees to join our board in the new year. Whether you have previous board experience or not, we are open to new ideas, perspectives and challenge.

We recognise we have the greatest chance of success if our board and staff teams draw upon a wide range of experience and knowledge. Having a more diverse Board is a key priority. We want to improve gender balance, which has shifted following a recent pattern of retirements. We also want to enrich the range of experience we currently have on the board by encouraging applications from a variety of cultural and ethnic backgrounds.

We particularly welcome applications from interested people with lived or professional experience in any of these areas:

  • Working with people facing poverty and trauma in Scotland;
  • Equity, Diversity, Participation and Rights, especially in advancing racial justice;
  • Social Impact Investment;
  • Rural Development in Scotland;
  • Corporate Governance, Business or Finance roles.

Our Trustee John Loughton puts it like this:

"We want a Board that is properly reflective of Scotland's kaleidoscope of people and needs - so it’s critical we think, look and act differently. Yes we want skillset, but also diversity of mindset united by our aim of social change."

We are working with Green Park on this recruitment campaign. You can view all details about the roles and an introduction from our Chair, Mark Batho on our microsite.

If you have the skills to help us, and you share our commitment to solving poverty and trauma challenges in Scotland, we would love to hear from you.