Andrew Carnegie's Legacy
Considered by many to be the father of American philanthropy, Andrew Carnegie spent much of his adult life amassing a huge fortune by creating the Carnegie Steel Company. At age 65, he sold the company to J. P. Morgan for $480 million and devoted the rest of his life to giving nearly all of his money away.
Others before him had made substantial charitable contributions, but Carnegie was the first to state publicly the bold notion that the rich have a moral obligation to give away their fortunes, a philosophy which he wrote about in his essay "The Gospel of Wealth." One of Carnegie's lifelong interests was the establishment of free public libraries as a way of making education available to everyone.
There were only a few public libraries in the world when Carnegie began promising a library to almost any town that would provide a site and promise to maintain the building. He donated more than $56 million to build 2,509 libraries throughout the world, many of which are still serving their communities. By the time Carnegie died in 1919, he had given away more than $350 million, almost 90 percent of his entire wealth.
Carnegie Hall, a concert hall located in New York City opened in 1891 and is still in use today. Andrew Carnegie enjoyed music and felt New York City needed a concert Hall, so he decided to give money for this purpose. Over the last century many world renowned artists have performed there, including Peter Tchaikovsky, Igor Stravinsky and Maurice Ravel and George Gershwin. The Hall is one of the most famous concert halls in the world. The acoustics are perfect and the architecture is extravagant.
Established in 1895 with the purpose of celebrating art, science, music and literature. Built at a cost of $20 million, the institute has a library, art gallery, music hall and museum of natural history. Among other natural wonders, the museum displays two dinosaurs, Diplodocus carnegie and Apatosarus louisae, named after his wife.
Carnegie Mellon University
In 1900, Carnegie endowed a few technical schools that provided technical training at the secondary level in Pittsburgh with $2 million. The schools quickly evolved into the Carnegie Institute of Technology, a college that received an additional endowment of more than $7 million. In 1967, the Carnegie Institute merged with the Mellon Institute to become Carnegie Mellon University. The university has colleges in engineering, fine arts, science, industrial administration, humanities and social science.
Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland
Endowed with $10 million, this trust was created for "improving and extending the opportunities for scientific study and research" as well as providing scholarship for needy students.
Carnegie Institute of Washington
In 1901 Carnegie created a national scientific research institution that would be a resource for all universities. Since then scientists at the Institution 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 Dunfermline Trust
Endowed with about $4 million, this trust was created in 1903 to benefit the 26,000 residents of Carnegie's birthplace in Scotland. The trust has since then provided village residents with social, educational and recreational opportunities.
Carnegie Hero Fund Commission
These international organizations continue to give medals and money to those who are injured in an attempt to "preserve and rescue their fellows." Since its establishment in 1904, over $20 million has been awarded to these "heroes of peace." There are hero funds in the United States, United Kingdom and Europe.
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. After 1931, the foundation concentrated on research to improve education.
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.
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 United Kingdom Trust
The Trust was founded in 1913 with an endowment of $10 million for the well-being of the masses of the people of Great Britain and Ireland. The trust has provided support for a wide variety of community services, ranging from child welfare programs to community theaters.
Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs
The Church Peace Union which was established in 1914 and renamed the Carnegie Council on Ethics and International Affairs in 1986, was endowed with about $2 million. Today it is the world's premier forum for research and education in ethics and international policy. It provides a forum for those who explore the ethical dilemmas posed by issues such as deadly conflict, human rights violations, environmental protection, global economic disparities, and the politics of reconciliation.