EDINBURGH, Scotland (Oct. 4, 2005) — Sir Tom Farmer, founder and former owner of Kwik Fit, a leading European retail tire and automotive services company, is one of six recipients this year of the Andrew Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy.
Named after Scots-American philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, who left the equivalent of $15 billion to philanthropy, the medal is awarded biennially to inspiring philanthropists. The Award Ceremony takes place today at the new home of Scotland's Parliament in Edinburgh.
Mr. Farmer is being recognized for his civic work with a number of charities in Scotland and for his volunteer work witih the Roman Catholic Church.
Among his philanthropic accomplishments: a founding board member of Scottish Enterprise; chairman of Scottish Business in the community; board member of Investors in People; and founder of Farmer Foundation, which provide support to local communities, both at home and abroad, to develop self-sufficient means of community and personal development.
He also is chairman of the Duke of Edinburgh's Award, a voluntary, non-competitive and flexible program of cultural and adventurous activities for young people in the United Kingdom.
Mr. Farmer has received numerous awards for his work, including: a CBE in 1990; British knighthood in 1999; Officier in de Orde van Orange-Nassau of the Netherlands; Knight Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland; and appointment as a papal knight of St. Gregory the Great in 1997.
Other activities the Carnegie nomination cited were: raising money through the Kwik-Fit centers for victims of the war in Kosovo; chairing the Scotland against Drugs campaign; and supporting the opening of public access to the arts.
A native of Leith, Scotland, Mr. Farmer is the youngest of seven children and the first native Scot to receive the Carnegie Medal.
Mr. Farmer went into business for himself in 1964 but sold that business just four years later. In 1971 he set up Kwik Fit, selling tires and exhausts. He built the dealership into a network of more than 2,000 outlets before selling it in 1999 to Ford Motor Co. for more than $1.5 billion.
Mr. Farmer now oversees an extensive portfolio of retailing, commercial property and other business investments. He has been married for 40 years to his wife Anne; they have two adult children.
Commenting on the award, Mr. Farmer said: “It was a pleasant surprise to be nominated to receive the Andrew Carnegie Medal. Throughout my life I have tried to encourage people to support each other in their family, work and community so that we can all develop together.
“The Carnegie Foundations provide so much throughout the world to people in terms of opportunities for education and self development. It is a great honor to be recognized by them.”
The Andrew Carnegie Medals of Philanthropy were created in 2001 by 22 of the Carnegie institutions that he established during his lifetime.
This award, created at the centennial observance of Andrew Carnegie's official career as a philanthropist, is given to one or more individuals who, like Andrew Carnegie have dedicated their private wealth to public good and who have sustained an impressive career as a philanthropist, the foundations said.
Each recipient receives a bust of Andrew Carnegie—an original work of art cast in bronze and created specially for the award—and a bronze medal.