The Scotch Whisky Action Fund, which extends the SWA’s commitment to addressing alcohol misuse and promoting responsible drinking, will give a total of £100,000 each year from 2014 to 2018 to projects working to reduce harm in Scotland.
It is managed by Foundation Scotland, an independent charity.
Its first chairperson, Professor Dame Joan Stringer is a British political scientist whose career has spanned more than 30 years in higher education, most recently as principal and vice-chancellor of Edinburgh Napier University. She was the first woman appointed to lead a Scottish university. She is said to be a champion of widening access and equality and the internationalisation of education.
Dame Joan has held many appointments outside academia including chair of the Northern Ireland Equality Commission Working group (1998-99), The Secretary of State's Consultative Steering Group on the Scottish Parliament, and lay member of the Judicial Appointments Board for Scotland (2002-07).
She currently holds a range of non-executive board appointments and is also senior higher education adviser to the British Council.
In 2001 she was awarded a CBE for services to higher education and in 2009 was made a dame in the Queen's Birthday Honours. She is an honorary citizen of Shandong Province, China.
Dame Joan, said: “I believe the Scotch Whisky Action Fund will have a vital part to play in tackling alcohol-related harm across Scotland. There are many innovative projects which will benefit from the fund and I am committed to having an active role in its development and spreading the word across Scotland.”
SWA chief executive David Frost, said: “We are delighted that someone of Professor Dame Joan Stringer’s standing and experience has agreed to become the independent chair of the Scotch Whisky Action Fund.
"Alcohol brings a range of benefits to Scottish society and economy, but we realise there is a problem with misuse that must be tackled. The fund, with Dame Joan as a driving force behind it, will help in the fight against misuse.”
The fund will invest in projects from charities and other organisations that work to reduce the impact of alcohol-related harm in Scotland’s communities. The first projects chosen by the awards panel to be supported by the fund will be announced shortly.