Hitting 100

A century is a big deal and at Carnegie Corporation of New York we are completing our first 100 years of grantmaking. We expect to have another century!

One’s history is always important for an institution, particularly if you believe as we do that understanding our past helps us better prepare for our future. And when you work for an historian — our president Vartan Gregorian is an historian — it is incumbent upon us that we discover, study and remember our roots. This Carnegie Centennial will be about understanding Andrew Carnegie, who is often called the father of modern philanthropy, and the tradition of giving that has shaped our 100 years.

But it is also about change. About not staying the same. As you can see, we have a new look. In preparation for our centennial we created a logo for the Corporation that combines Mr. Carnegie’s signature with bold letters for the rest of our name. (We’re the Corporation because Mr. Carnegie had created more than a dozen institutions with words like Institute, Endowment, and Foundation and had run out of the traditional monikers.)

In all this time, we’ve never had a logo per se, but in this visual 21st century of the Internet we realized we needed something that telegraphed our identity. No better way, in our mind, than turning to the signature of the man whose mission we still follow: Andrew Carnegie.

As well, we debut a new website. It’s been almost year in the making and, although not officially part of our centennial planning, it will offer the public a better understanding of us as an institution by helping to unlock our rich past and better disseminate our Timeline, our historic research and current grantees’ work.

Mr. Carnegie’s challenge to us was to advance and diffuse knowledge. We think he would have been an early and ardent adopter of the Internet as a communication vehicle. As an institution, we have always placed a high value on transparency. We were the first foundation to produce an annual report and the Carnegie Quarterly was one of the first regular publications in the philanthropic world. One of our trustees coined the phrase “glass pockets” to emphasize how open we needed to be with the public about our commitments and our work.

We hope that this Carnegie Corporation blog will also make us more transparent by explaining some of our goals as an institution, some of our priorities as a grantmaker, and some of our concerns as a leader in the nonprofit world. We also want to be more interactive. Let us know what you think — about our new site, about Andrew Carnegie’s legacy, and about our work.