Carnegie Corporation of New York Begins Centennial Year
Andrew Carnegie, often called the father of American philanthropy, disposed of 90 percent of his wealth by the end of his life. He lived by his own credo which was “the man who dies rich, dies disgraced.” During his lifetime, Carnegie gave away more than $350 million. The single largest recipient of his philanthropy was Carnegie Corporation of New York, which Carnegie established 100 years ago on June 9, 1911.
Andrew Carnegie was by no means the first American to contribute vast sums to improve the lot of his fellow citizen, but he was perhaps the first to state publicly that the rich have a moral obligation to give away their fortunes. In 1889, he wrote The Gospel of Wealth, in which he asserted that all personal wealth beyond that required to supply the needs of one's family should be regarded as a trust fund to be administered for the benefit of the community.
Beginning in 2011, and in conjunction with other organizations created with Carnegie wealth, we will celebrate the Centennial of Carnegie Corporation of New York, an institution endowed to do "real and permanent good in this world."
Read some our Centennial Moments, a weekly unlocking of our past and our accomplishments.
Though Mr. Carnegie may have frowned at any attention directed at him, we believe he would have endorsed our emphasis, during this Centennial observation, on his notion of “scientific philanthropy.” Andrew Carnegie believed in investing for the long term. As distinct from charitable giving, which provides short-term relief for immediate needs, Carnegie’s philanthropy was focused on the future, on promoting progress on the issues he cared most about, such as education and international peace. Mr. Carnegie’s forward-thinking philosophy continues to guide and inform our grantmaking.
Read a Q&A with Carnegie Corporation’s Vartan Gregorian about the Corporation’s Centennial.
View a brief video about Mr. Carnegie and his philanthropy.