In His Own Words. A Q&A (Part 4) With Vartan Gregorian. "We’re in the Empowering Business"
Emphasizing the importance of partnerships as a necessary component of successful philanthropy, Carnegie Corporation president Vartan Gregorian urges donors to acknowledge that “what needs to be done is more important than who is doing it.”
In the fourth installment of a provocative interview, which has been published over the course of the Corporation’s centennial year, Gregorian discusses a series of critical issues at the heart of philanthropy including the importance of collaboration; identifying and learning from failures; and the dynamism of America’s immigrants.
Gregorian reminds readers that foundations must be careful not to claim the successes of others as their own. “We’re in the empowering business,” he says. Carnegie Corporation and other grantmakers are “enablers—in a good sense of the word. We should give to all our grantees the glory and the credit that they deserve.”
One hundred years after its establishment by Andrew Carnegie, the Corporation, says Gregorian, is “a reflection of American democracy, and its institutions.” He takes great pride that through the years the foundation has consistently recognized “diversity of opinion and diversity of our nation’s ethnic makeup.”
As wonderful as our nation is, says the foundation’s twelfth president, “it still needs constant improvement because peoples’ ideals and needs change and we have to adapt.”