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Philanthropy 101: The Carnegie Legacy

p_library.html p_sci.html p_peace.html p_campus.html p_carvrock.html p_legacy.html Carnegie was often frustrated by criticism of his philanthropic efforts. Nothing Carnegie had done in business was as roundly criticized as the things he did "for the benefit of all mankind." Although his gifts pleased many, conservatives called him a socialist, and the general public frequently accused him of trying to use his millions to prostitute universities-even science itself.

Years later, the public can look back more charitably. The foundations established by Carnegie have given away close to $2 billion and have funded some of the century's most significant initiatives. Here is a very abbreviated rundown of what some of Carnegie's foundations have achieved.

The Carnegie Corporation of New York

By 1911, Carnegie had given away over $43 million for libraries and close to $110 million for other causes. He formed the Carnegie Corporation of New York to give away the $150 million that remained. The Carnegie Corporation's mandate was to "promote the advancement and diffusion of knowledge and understanding." Since then, it has given large grants to the other Carnegie trusts as well as universities, colleges, schools and educational entities--including public television's "Sesame Street."

The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Founded in 1910 with $10 million from Carnegie, the Endowment is the oldest public policy institution in the United States concentrating on issues of war and peace. Over the years, it has funded conferences and publications on major policy issues, as well as funding the work of researchers such as Sigmund Freud and Gunnar Myrdal.

The Carnegie Institution of Washington

Though encouraged to finance a national university, Carnegie feared that such an endeavor might weaken existing schools. Instead he chose in 1901 to create a national research institution that would be a resource for all universities. With Theodore Roosevelt's support, Carnegie endowed the Institution with $10 million, adding $2 million in 1909 and another $10 million in 1911. Since then scientists on the Institution's payroll have, among other accomplishments:
  • Discovered the expansion of the universe
  • Proved DNA is the genetic material
  • Devised applications as varied as radar and hybrid corn
  • Opened Mayan ruins in Central America

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching

Founded by Carnegie in 1905 to provide pensions for teachers, the foundation established the first widespread educational standards for the nation's colleges and universities. In addition, the foundation developed standardized, machine-scored tests, a function that merged into the Educational Testing Service in 1947. Because the foundation only gave money to secular schools, it was also responsible for the decision of many colleges to drop their religious affiliations.

The Carnegie Hero Funds

These international organizations continue to give medals and money to those who are injured in an attempt to "preserve and rescue their fellows." Since 1904, over $20 million has been awarded to these "heroes of peace."

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