Carnegie Corporation Of New York Awards $400,000 To Support Public Libraries In Honor Of Top Global Philanthropists

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Carnegie Corporation of New York President Vartan Gregorian announced that the four recipients of the 2007 Andrew Carnegie Medals of Philanthropy have each been acknowledged for their achievements with grants made in their honor to support public libraries. This year’s honorees, Eli Broad, the Heinz family, the Mellon family and the Tata family of India were presented with the Medals at an October 17th ceremony at the Carnegie Music Hall in Pittsburgh.

The grants from Carnegie Corporation commemorate philanthropist Andrew Carnegie's lifelong interests in the establishment of free public libraries to make available to everyone a means of self-education.

“The most fitting way to recognize the Medalists’ deep commitment to learning, progress and civic engagement is through supporting libraries—places that act as laboratories of human aspiration and symbols of hope,” said Vartan Gregorian. “To Andrew Carnegie, public libraries were absolute necessities for every community and mediums of opportunity for each citizen.”

In honor of the Heinz, Mellon and Tata families, the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh will receive a one-time grant of $300,000. The Corporation requested that the funds in honor of the Tata family be used to build a collection that would reflect the family’s home country of India.

The Los Angeles Public Library will be awarded a $100,000 one-time grant in honor of philanthropist Eli Broad, a longtime resident and advocate of that city.

The Andrew Carnegie Medals of Philanthropy were first awarded in 2001 at the centennial observance of Andrew Carnegie's official career as a philanthropist. The Medals are given every two years to honor families and individuals from around the world who, like Andrew Carnegie, have dedicated their private wealth to the public good and who have sustained their philanthropic activities. Criteria for selection are based on each medalist's contributions to a field, the nation or internationally, a track record of philanthropic giving, and a vision of philanthropy that reflects Carnegie's ideals.

Medalists are selected from among nominations made by the more than 20 institutions around the world begun by Andrew Carnegie during his lifetime. The selection committee for the 2007 Medal of Philanthropy was chaired by Vartan Gregorian and included Jessica Mathews, President of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; Jared Cohon, President of Carnegie Mellon University; Charles McConnell, Chief Executive, Carnegie United Kingdom Trust; Andrew Miller, Secretary and Treasurer of the Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland; and Dick Meserve, President of the Carnegie Institution in Washington, D.C. William Thomson, great-grandson of Andrew Carnegie, serves as the committee’s Honorary Chair.

Between 1881 and his death in 1919, Andrew Carnegie supported the construction of public libraries in English-speaking countries throughout the world. After his death, Carnegie Corporation of New York, one of the seven philanthropic and educational organizations Andrew Carnegie created in the United States, continued to build libraries until it ended that program in the 1920s. Mr. Carnegie and the Corporation spent nearly $60 million to build 2,509 libraries.

In the hope that the libraries he funded would be maintained in perpetuity by the municipalities in which they were located, Mr. Carnegie’s gifts were conditioned on agreements with local authorities to support the library’s operations.

Carnegie Corporation of New York was created by Andrew Carnegie in 1911 to promote “the advancement and diffusion of knowledge and understanding.” For more than 95 years the Corporation has carried out Carnegie’s vision of philanthropy by building on his two major concerns: international peace and advancing education and knowledge. As a private grantmaking foundation, the Corporation will invest more than $100 million this year in nonprofits to fulfill Mr. Carnegie's mission, “to do real and permanent good in this world.” The Corporation’s capital fund, originally donated at a value of about $135 million, had a market value of approximately $3 billion on September 30, 2007.