Businessman Mervyn McCall explains why he has set up a £500,000 philanthropy fund

Businessman Mervyn McCall explains why he has set up a new £500,000 Fund with the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland, known as the McCall Foundation

The word GIVE spelled out on clothespin clipped cards in front of glowing lights.
Mervyn McCall

INSPIRED by philanthropists like Chuck Feeney, Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, I had been thinking for some time about the type of charitable contribution I would like to make in Northern Ireland.

In the end I was simply driven by the desire that for all the success and good luck I have enjoyed in business, I wanted to give something back.

I believe I’ve benefitted enormously from the help of others as well as enjoying a lot of good luck along the way. Those lucky breaks are why I feel so strongly about giving something back. My parents didn’t have much money, and the reality is, today a lot of people are finding things very tough too.

The final piece fell into place following an encounter with Raymond, a Carrick taxi driver, which fully ignited my desire to set up my own charitable Fund.

Raymond ran a charity golf day every year raising money to help people local to the Carrick area. Seeing the impact that £1,000 or £2,000 had on people was immense - it really opened my eyes to how even a small amount of money can make a difference.

I was introduced to the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland by a financial adviser. The Foundation subsequently worked with me to establish the McCall Foundation which will distribute £25,000 a year in perpetuity with one large grant of £15,000 and the remaining £10,000 spread between a number of beneficiaries in the form of smaller grants.

The fact that the Community Foundation is local but covers all of Northern Ireland and will distribute the money as well as help come up with ideas about where funding should go, makes everything much more straightforward and means the money will be well spent on causes that matter.

The objectives of the McCall Foundation are wide, but I am particularly interested in issues affecting the elderly - particularly issues affecting those being released from hospital following my own mother’s experience.

I understand that for some elderly people, coming out of hospital can be a very difficult time in terms of not only getting the support they need but also in getting their confidence back - especially after a prolonged stay, it would be fantastic to help with that in some way.

People like Chuck Feeney and Warren Buffet have done a huge amount for philanthropy but we need so many more people doing this because as statistics show, the gap is growing between rich and poor.

I have also been impressed by Gordon Ramsay’s recent revelation that he wouldn’t be leaving a massive amount of his fortune to his children - after you’ve looked after your family, what else are you going to do with your money than try to help others if you can?

In Northern Ireland we have been behind the eight ball when it comes to philanthropy, but it is getting talked about more and more and it is definitely growing which is fantastic.

:: Mervyn McCall, who was associated with Mivan for more than 30 years, holds a number of non-executive directorship positions. He will be speaking at a Community Foundation breakfast event in Derry on May 11 as part of Philanthropy Fortnight. To find out more about the McCall Foundation or the Community Foundation, contact or phone (028) 90245927.

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