First Andrew Carnegie Medals of Philanthropy Announced

WALTER AND LEONORE ANNENBERG, BROOKE ASTOR, IRENE DIAMOND, THE GATES FAMILY, THE ROCKEFELLER FAMILY, GEORGE SOROS AND TED TURNER WILL BE HONORED AT CELEBRATION MARKING CENTENNIAL OF CARNEGIE'S PHILANTHROPY

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Seven remarkable individuals and families, who have used their vast private wealth on behalf of the public good, will receive the first-ever Andrew Carnegie Medals of Philanthropy from the 21 worldwide institutions that he established during his lifetime. The new awards commemorate the centennial of Andrew Carnegie's philanthropy.

The inaugural recipients of the Carnegie Medals of Philanthropy are:

  • Ambassadors Walter H. and Leonore Annenberg on behalf of the Annenberg Foundation
  • Brooke Astor
  • Irene Diamond
  • The Gates Family
  • David and Laurance S. Rockefeller on behalf of the Rockefeller Family
  • George Soros
  • Ted Turner

The medals will be awarded December 10 at a luncheon at the New York Public Library to symbolize the great affection Mr. Carnegie had for libraries, especially in this city, many of which benefited from his largesse. The awards ceremony will be the centerpiece of a day-long celebration that marks one of the most significant financial transactions of the 20th century, the day when Andrew Carnegie sold U.S. Steel to J.P. Morgan and with that act unleashed a major epoch of philanthropy.

"The Andrew Carnegie Medals of Philanthropy honor leaders who understand how modern philanthropy plays a critical role in building and sustaining our democratic institutions," said Vartan Gregorian, president of Carnegie Corporation of New York and chair of the executive committee that is spearheading the centennial events. Also serving on the executive committee are Maxine Singer, president of the Carnegie Institution of Washington and Jessica Mathews of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

"We believe these individuals and families represent a diverse cross section of philanthropic commitments and geographic locations, as well as old and new views of giving. December 10th will offer us an opportunity to showcase the ideals and remarkable people who are following an ideal forged by Mr. Carnegie. By celebrating his work and theirs we seek to reinvigorate and challenge the philanthropic community for tomorrow," Gregorian said.

According to Gregorian, the Andrew Carnegie Medals of Philanthropy will be awarded every two years. "We think it is a wonderful coincidence that the Nobel Prize, which does not have an award for philanthropy, is celebrating its centennial as we launch this new medal and that both of us will recognize these outstanding citizens on the same day. Our goal is to institutionalize the medals with the hope that one day they will be held in the same esteem as the Nobel awards," he added. Andrew Carnegie's philanthropic career began around 1870. In "The Gospel of Wealth" which he published in 1889, he outlined his philosophy of giving, which asserted the rich are merely "trustees" of their wealth and are under a moral obligation to distribute it in ways that promote the welfare and happiness of the common man. He died in 1919 leaving his wife and their daughter. He had given away most of his wealth, about 350 million dollars during his lifetime. His legacy lives on in the 21 institutions that bear his name. 

EDITORS NOTE:


The Annenberg Foundation is being honored for its work in the field of education.

Mrs. Astor is being honored for her philanthropic efforts on behalf of New York City.

Mrs. Diamond is being recognized for her contributions to AIDS research.

The Gates family is being honored for its contributions in the fields of education and health.

The Rockefeller family's century-long history of philanthropy is being honored.

George Soros' philanthropy on behalf of civil societies is being honored.

Ted Turner is being honored for his gifts that established the United Nations Foundation and the Nuclear Threat Initiative.