A World of Giving: A Century of Carnegie Corporation's International Philanthropy


The age of international philanthropy is upon us with U.S.-based foundations investing $6 billion per year in programs and institutions abroad. Few have been active on the world stage for as long as Carnegie Corporation of New York, established by Andrew Carnegie to do “real and permanent good in this world.” The foundation’s international work is the subject of a new book A World of Giving, by philanthropy expert Patricia Rosenfield, published by PublicAffairs. It provides a thorough, objective examination of how men and women of good will attempted to create a positive impact on global growth and development, offering countless lessons about successes and failures over the course of more than 100 years.

Some of the takeaways from A World of Giving—Carnegie Corporation of New York: A Century of International Philanthropy:

Take Risks

After the fall of the Soviet Union, the Corporation was one of the few to fund higher education in the new Russia as a way to prevent brain drain—a move that improved economic and social stability, and made the country’s nuclear complex more transparent. 

Invest for the Long Run

Long before 9/11, Corporation president Vartan Gregorian made the study of Islam a priority, and scholars cultivated by Carnegie eventually become the country’s most sought after experts on the Middle East, especially after the “Arab Spring.”

Team Up

Fifteen years ago, Africa’s dilapidated higher education system could not meet the needs of a growing economy. Carnegie partnered with six other foundations to help nine countries pay for basics such as decent Internet service and on-ramps for women. 

A World of Giving highlights the vital importance of Carnegie Corporation’s mission in guiding its work and the role of foundation presidents as thought and action leaders. For institutional philanthropy and individual philanthropists concerned with how their work affects, and is affected by, an increasingly interdependent world, this volume represents a treasure trove of deeply relevant knowledge.

International Philanthropy is the topic of a radio interview with Patricia Rosenfield and host Tim Farley on SiriusXM’s POTUS politics channel.

Praise for A World of Giving

“A World of Giving chronicles the values, practical idealism, and a century of grant making set in motion by Andrew Carnegie, one of America’s great philanthropists. Along the way, the book delivers a wealth of wisdom for today’s foundations and other philanthropies, especially the growing number working in the global arena.” — Susan V. Berresford, former president of the Ford Foundation and trustee of the California Endowment, the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, and the Robina Foundation

“New foundations, appearing at a rapid rate, can benefit from a history lesson. Here it is at its best—the compelling story of the idea of the gift into perpetuity, and the practices that followed.” — Kenneth Prewitt, Carnegie Professor, Columbia University

“The author has organized a voluminous amount of information in an impressively clear, systematic way. Carnegie Corporation is a primary link in an increasingly interconnected world, searching for solutions to some of the worlds’ most intractable problems. Such a study provides hope and inspiration.” — Akira Iriye, professor emeritus at Harvard University and University of Chicago

Order at Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble.


About Patricia L. Rosenfield

The author is an expert on philanthropy and a Senior Fellow at the Rockefeller Archives Center. She previously directed Carnegie Corporation’s Scholars Program, and chaired its program on Strengthening Human Resources in Developing Countries and International Development. Earlier Rosenfield managed a social science research program on tropical diseases at the World Health Organization in Geneva. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and serves as a director of the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation and trustee of Future Generations. Rosenfield holds an A.B. cum laude from Bryn Mawr College and a Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University, and an Honorary Doctorate from Mahidol University, Thailand.