The relief of the poor, provision for education and support for the elderly have been, and are still, major priorities of The Royal Company of Merchants of the City of Edinburgh. Members are actively encouraged to support the fundraising work of the Charities Committee and the work of the Company’s Almoner.
The Royal Charter made provision for specific charitable work and, in 1693, David Aitkenhead was the first Member to leave a substantial gift to help an elderly merchant in need. Many Members followed his example and the responsibilities of the Merchant Company increased as the Trusts grew.
In 1797, when James Gillespie bequeathed his Colinton estate, the Merchant Company’s role of public benevolence became even more important. A number of charitable trusts have been established during the 300-year history of the Merchant Company and these continue to be administered to suit the needs of society today.
The result of an ambition to re-establish the business philanthropy shown by early members of The Merchant Company.
We support the building of social housing.
We support 250 elderly men and women in and around Edinburgh with regular payments of grants.
Our schools have evolved from hospitals for orphans and destitute children into predominantly day schools providing high quality education for boys and girls in Edinburgh.
Our trusts provide grants to beneficiaries from many different backgrounds.