Since its founding in 1911, Carnegie Corporation of New York has concluded work in certain areas to focus on new opportunities.

Here is a list of past commissions, councils, and task forces that are now inactive. Each has made significant contributions toward its field, and many continue to generate important insights and lessons. Follow the links, when provided, to learn more about some of this vital work:

Carnegie Council for Advancing Adolescent Literacy

The Advancing Literacy Initiative was created in 2003, after an extensive review that included consultations with the nation’s leading practitioners and researchers in literacy. The Council produced a series of widely-used reports, including:

This review revealed that the teaching of reading in Kindergarten through the third grade was well supported with research, practice and policy, but that the knowledge base for how to teach reading for grades beyond this point was very thin. The educational community faces a difficult challenge since what is expected in academic achievement for middle and high school students has significantly increased, yet the way in which students are taught to read, comprehend and write about subject matter has not kept pace with the demands of schooling. American 15-year-olds barely attain the standards of international literacy for youngsters their age, and during the past decade the average reading score of fourth graders has changed little. Readers who struggle during the intermediate elementary years face increasing difficulty throughout middle school and beyond. The Corporation’s Advancing Literacy Initiative addressed the daunting task of advancing literacy by affecting policy, practice, and research:

Time to Act

Time to Act: An Agenda for Advancing Adolescent Literacy for College and Career Success pinpointed adolescent literacy as a cornerstone of the contemporary education reform movement. Its recommendations intersected with the $4.35 billion “Race to the Top” competitive grant guidelines, with their emphasis on standards and assessments, data systems, great teachers and leaders, and re-engineering struggling schools.

Time to Act was the capstone report of Carnegie Council for Advancing Adolescent Literacy. Between 2004 and 2009, under the direction of Council Chairperson Catherine Snow, professor in the Harvard Graduate School of Education, the Council gathered knowledge and ideas from experts nationwide on topics ranging from linguistics to the social science of teaching.

The report was accompanied by five corresponding reports, which delved deeper into how to advance literacy and learning for all students, including such topics as the cost of implementing adolescent literacy programs and reading in the disciplines. Download the reports below, or order print copies (one per user) via email from Valerie Vitale, vv(at)

English Language Learners

Adolescent English Language Learners (ELL) are among the most at risk students in our country, particularly students in Grades K-12. School reformers have mostly overlooked the needs of the large and growing ELL population, despite their being one of the country's highest education priorities. As a result, there is relatively little guidance on how best to meet the varied and challenging literacy needs of adolescent ELLs.

To address this research deficit, the Council on Advancing Adolescent Literacy established a study group led by the Center for Applied Linguistics to examine academic literacy, a crucial component of in-school success. Academic literacy includes reading, writing, and oral discourse and varies from subject to subject. It requires knowledge of multiple genres of text; purposes for text use and text media; is influenced by students’ literacies in contexts outside of school as well as their personal, social, and cultural experiences. ELLs are second-language learners who are still developing their proficiency in academic English. While they are learning English they are also studying core content areas through English. Thus, ELLs must perform with the proficiency of native English speakers.

A summary of the panel’s findings was published as Double the Work: Challenges and Solutions to Acquiring Language and Academic Literacy for Adolescent English Language Learners (.pdf, 2.3 MB). The Corporation funded a number of initiatives to underscore the importance of this issue, including the Center for Applied Linguistics and the Migration Policy Institute to underscore the gravity of the situation. In addition, the Corporation partnered with World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment to develop formative assessments for English Language Learners.

Carnegie Scholars Program

The Carnegie Scholars Program was established in 1999 to support innovative and path-breaking public scholarship that would extend the boundaries of the Corporation’s grantmaking. From 2005–2009, the Program focused exclusively on Islam and the Modern World. The Scholars Program, which was divided into two phases during its first 10 years, spurred innovation in research and thought, and provided critical support to public scholarship, bringing the highest quality of academic research into the public and policy realms. Download a complete list of the 168 scholars (.pdf, 344 KB) to learn more about their work.

Scholars of Vision, 2000–2004

During its first five years, the Program supported “Scholars of Vision,” whose work addressed the entire scope of the Corporation’s grant programs at the time including: Education, International Development, Strengthening U.S. Democracy, and International Peace and Security.

Over these five years, 67 Carnegie Scholars drawn from public universities, liberal arts colleges, traditional research universities and, also, independent researchers, were selected to pursue a broad variety of subjects, including 16 Scholars whose work foreshadowed the subsequent focus on Islam.

Scholars of Islam and the Modern World, 2005–2009

The second phase of the Program was established with the goal of supporting individual scholars whose research extends the boundaries of knowledge about Islam and Muslim communities. The aim was to build a critical mass of thoughtful and original scholarship to add to our knowledge regarding Islam as a religion as well as the cultures and civilizations of Muslim societies and communities, both in the United States and abroad.

A total of 101 Scholars were funded to deepen, broaden and bring to light new knowledge about Islam and Muslim societies. These men and women were also selected for their commitment to enriching the quality of the public dialogue on Islam.

Dissemination Program

While changes in the way news is received and consumed began sometime earlier, during the late 1990s and early 2000s there was a revolution in how the public encounters new ideas. The Dissemination Program acted as a small yet flexible vehicle for examining this revolution, which directly impacts the dissemination of the Corporation’s ideas, research, and policy priorities. Supported by an annual appropriation from the trustees, this catalytic fund developed successful strategies for amplifying and reinforcing the Corporation’s grantmaking and institutional goals. The resulting strategies were implemented collaboratively within the Corporation as well as with our sister foundations, institutions of higher learning, NGOs, and others. The Dissemination Program’s goals were to:

  • Amplify major program goals through special initiatives and strategic communications projects;
  • Support capacity-building programs that advanced the work of Corporation grantees; stimulated, through outreach activities, a broader conversation on the work of other organizations that share Corporation priorities;
  • Encourage and support journalism education reform and build awareness of the critical role journalism plays in sustaining America’s democracy.

Dissemination Awards Were Organized into Six Categories:

Carnegie Forums

Occasional midday seminars that brought government, academic, business, and philanthropic leaders together to discuss issues of critical importance to society. The first forum, held in the fall of 2000, focused on the education platforms of presidential candidates Al Gore and George W. Bush. Others centered on the implications of Census 2000, the promise of digital communications, homeland security, the business of news, and campaign finance reform.

Strategic Communications Projects

Projects that helped facilitate the role of a particular research or a Corporation-supported publication in policy conversations in Washington, D.C., and elsewhere. Awards in this category supported efforts to expand and create new audiences for grantee projects and publications as well as to position and coordinate initiatives of the Corporation.

Special Initiatives

Program grants resulting in new information that informed or updated the knowledge base. In such cases, Dissemination Awards funded large, targeted projects focusing on a single issue or grant. Special Initiatives typically had multiple components that included a launch, media coverage, public discussions, and multimedia products.

Technical Assistance

Allowed grantees to incorporate dissemination strategies into their work by providing communications capacity-building opportunities. Grantees were brought together for strategic communications workshops in the United States and Africa conducted by experts in the field. Among the topics covered were communications fundamentals, mission and message development, media readiness training, and online communications.


Small, catalytic grants for projects that complemented the Corporation’s mission and objectives.

Outreach Initiatives

Forums, publications, and strategies that advance the Corporation’s mission and were designed to reach new audiences.

The Future of Journalism Education

Under Vartan Gregorian’s leadership, the Corporation made journalism education a priority. In 2003, the Corporation began a dialogue with deans of several of the United States’ most prestigious journalism schools to determine how major research universities could improve the journalism curriculum. The goal was to challenge students intellectually and prepare them for careers in the news industry at a pivotal time of change in the field. The deans at four top research universities — the University of Southern California, Northwestern University, Columbia University, and the University of California, Berkeley, along with the head of Harvard’s Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy — collaborated on a vision for journalism education in the 21st century. Gregorian created a partnership with Hodding Carter, then president of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, a leading philanthropy focused on excellence in journalism, and enlisted the aid of the consulting firm McKinsey & Co. who, on a pro bono basis, interviewed 40 news industry leaders, including news executives, editors, and correspondents, about their views on journalism education. These conversations with deans and journalism professionals became the intellectual foundation for the Carnegie–Knight Initiative on the Future of Journalism Education, launched in 2005. Seven additional university schools of journalism joined the initiative, capping it at twelve member universities. The Corporation’s relationship with the Knight Foundation, under the leadership of president Alberto Ibarguen, was an equal partnership, with both foundations supporting all of the initiative’s intellectual and scholarly facets including three key components:

  1. Curriculum enrichment, a process aimed at offering students a deep and multi-layered exploration of such complex subjects as history, politics, classics, and philosophy to undergird their journalistic skills while raising the profile of journalism education within the university;
  2. News 21 incubators, which were national reporting projects organized on an annual basis and overseen by campus-based professors for distribution through traditional and innovative media;
  3. The Carnegie–Knight Task Force, which provided the journalism deans with an opportunity to speak out on issues affecting journalism education and the field of journalism.


Higher Education In Eurasia

The Corporation supported higher education programs in Russia and Eurasia through a special initiative on Higher Education in the Former Soviet Union (HEFSU), which was launched in 1999 to respond to the dire situation of academics and intellectuals in the region. This attention built on the Corporation’s long-standing investment in U.S.–Russian relations. Given Russia’s economic recovery and growing governmental funding for the higher education sector, the HEFSU program made its final grants in fiscal year 2012 with an aim to sustain a network of university-based Centers for Advanced Study and Education in Russia and Eurasia, as well as to strengthen university and academic leadership in Russia and Eurasia.

Islam Initiative

Apart from Mecca, the United States represents the most diverse array of Muslims from all over the world. Prior to 2001, the Corporation had taken an interest in Islam and Muslim communities in the United States, with a particular focus on their cultural and socio-economic diversity. Beginning that year, it began working independently and with other funders to improve understanding of Muslim communities and societies through:

  • Increasing the Outreach of Academic Expertise — The Initiative built on the Carnegie Scholars Program, which from 2004 to 2009 awarded research, writing, and public engagement grants on the theme of Islam and Muslim societies to more than 100 American scholars. The Corporation supported the strengthening of outreach and communication by leading academic institutions with programs that increase knowledge about Muslim societies and communities. Support also went toward creating and expanding on-line resources for the public, the media, and the policy communities.
  • Bolstering Academic Programs — Research and scholarship are essential to understanding of the complexities of Muslim societies and their interactions. Our support went to projects that explored not just conflicts, but little-known convergences across history. The Corporation aimed to strengthen expertise and build the capacity of the next generation. In addition, we worked to make available original source materials, including significant writings from the past representing a variety of philosophical and cultural traditions.
  • Facilitating International Partnerships and Communication — Recognizing the importance of building relationships and mutual understanding, the Corporation worked to establish institutional linkages between American and overseas academic centers, think tanks, and professional associations. In cooperation with other funders, the Corporation also promoted networks of foundations and nonprofit organizations that complement official efforts to improve relations with predominantly Muslim states through the involvement of civil society.