IT’S “Dunfermline’s best kept secret” but more people need to know how the money of a man who died 100 years ago is still changing lives today.

Andrew Carnegie’s legacy means the Carnegie Dunfermline Trust (CDT) has up to £150,000 to distribute every year to the people striving to make his hometown a better place.

One of the trustees, Mike Reid, said: “Dunfermline is, for me, the luckiest town in Scotland because 100-plus years ago we had our very own Bill Gates.

“Carnegie was born in the town and grew up here until the age of 12 when he moved to the USA and later became the richest man in the world.

“But he had such love for his childhood in Dunfermline that he left a pot of money for the good of the town and for people to act in his name.”

Among his many good deeds, the philanthropist put in place a number of trusts to ensure his cash could continue to do good work long after he’d gone.

Chairman Ian Wilson remembered being a beneficiary as a boy when the CDT paid for football strips for his team.

He’s been a trustee since 2002 and said: “People sometimes think charity-giving is huge sums of money but you can also make a real difference with a few hundred pounds.

“Carnegie gave a chunk of money in 1903 and it’s fabulous to think that, 117 years on, we’re still giving away money and supporting groups.

“It’s been invested in a variety of ways that maintains the endowment at a level that makes it sustainable moving forward and so we can give away as much as we can.

“We are custodians of the endowment and it’s important we maintain that so in 100 years time there are still trustees giving out money to try and change lives for the better in Dunfermline.”

In Dunfermline you can see the evidence of their help, from Fire Station Creative, Fife Cycle Speedway, Heart and Sound and Nordoff Robins to a boxing project in high schools, the Outwith Festival, Cycling Without Age and the Play as One Park, both in the Glen.

Since last February, they’ve given money to Abbeyview and Rosyth bowling clubs, the 39th Fife Scout Group, Commercial, Pitreavie, Lynburn and McLean primary schools, Queen Anne and Dunfermline high schools, a karate initiative, Fairway Fife, Dunfermline junior parkrun, Dunfermline Tennis and Bridge Club, Fife Academy of Performing Arts, Fife Shopmobility, Friends of Pittencrieff Park, Plastic-Free Dunfermline, Pars Foundation, Dunfermline Photographic Association, Dunfermline Foodbank and Abbot House.

That’s not the whole list; they buy panto tickets for kids and the elderly every year and they’re also trying to make a difference with health and wellbeing, loneliness and poverty initiatives.

The CDT have been working quietly behind the scenes, but perhaps too quietly as they believe not enough people are aware of who they are or that they have money to help.

Mike said: “The trust is not a big organisation and doesn’t have a lot of employees so its ability to initiate and start projects is non-existent.

“We’re really dependent on people coming to us and making us aware of what they’re trying to do.

“The only people we hear from are the ones that know we exist but there could be another 20-30 groups that don’t know about us and because of that they don’t ask for our help.

“It’s Dunfermline’s best kept secret!”

As well as raising their profile, they’re also looking for a new leader with chief executive Nora Rundell retiring after 16 years at the helm.

There are currently 17 trustees who are all volunteers and serve for seven years, a term that can be extended. They are responsible for deciding on applications for the distribution of funds.

Mike said: “We have £120,000-£150,000 a year that we have to dispense. If we don’t, the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) will ask why we’re not fulfilling our remit and why we’re holding onto this money.

“In the last 12 months, we’ve made 58 community grants and those groups have been given money ranging from a few hundred pounds to many thousands of pounds.

“I don’t know any other town in Scotland that’s been left a pot of money in perpetuity for the betterment of the town and its people.

“And Carnegie’s phrase of bringing ‘sweetness and light to the toiling masses’ still applies to what we do today.”

CDT hope that, under the guidance of a new chief executive, greater awareness of their work will lead to more groups and organisations applying for a helping hand.

Mike concluded: “If you went back 80-100 years, people in Dunfermline would absolutely have known about the trust as just about every bowling club was financed by it, and a lot of the land the golf courses are on was owned by the trust.

“It still owns Pitreavie playing fields and was instrumental in finding new people who have set up the new body to run Abbot House, and we funded the repairs.

“The trust is involved in a great many things without shouting from the rooftops about it.”