Other Carnegie Organizations
Andrew Carnegie’s philanthropic career began in the 1870s. In his essay “The Gospel of Wealth,” published in 1889, he outlined a philosophy of giving: he asserted that the rich are “trustees” of their money and are under a moral obligation to reinvest it in ways that promote the welfare and happiness of the common man. By the time of his death, in 1919, Carnegie had invested roughly $350 million—nearly all of his fortune—to advance education, science, culture, and international peace.
Today, more than a century later, 26 organizations worldwide bear Carnegie’s name. They carry on work in fields as diverse as art, education, international affairs, peace, and scientific research. Although they are considered members of a “family,” these organizations remain independent entities and are related by name only. Learn about the family members below, or read detailed descriptions in this pamphlet [PDF], but please note that some of the Hero Funds and smaller organizations are not included.
Andrew Carnegie’s “Music Hall” opened on May 5, 1891 with a concert featuring the American debut of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. Designed by William B. Tuthill, the building at the corner of 57th Street and Seventh Avenue, in New York, comprised a self-contained performing arts complex with three auditoriums. It quickly became known simply as “Carnegie Hall.” In the more than 120 years since, the venue has become one of the most famous concert halls in the world, with its perfect acoustics and extravagant architecture providing a spectacular showcase for scores of renowned artists.
In a letter dated November 25, 1881, Andrew Carnegie wrote to the mayor of Pittsburgh offering to donate $250,000 for a free library, with the stipulation that the city would agree to provide the land and appropriate funding for library operations. Carnegie later increased his charter investment to $1 million to build and equip a main library and five neighborhood branches. Founding public libraries became a personal philanthropic mission for Carnegie: he viewed the as vital, non-luxury assets to be supported by public dollars. When finished, Carnegie had established more than 2,500 libraries around the world.
The Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh were established in 1895 with the purpose of celebrating art, science, music and literature. Built at a cost of $20 million, this institution contains a library, art gallery, music hall, and museum of natural history. Today comprising four museums, the organization reaches more than 1.3 million people a year—including more than 400,000 school children—through science and art exhibitions, educational programming, outreach, and special events. Among other natural wonders, the Carnegie Museum of Natural History displays two dinosaurs, Diplodocus carnegie and Apatosarus louisae, named after Andrew and his wife, Louise.
In 1900, Andrew Carnegie created a $2 million endowment for a few technical schools in Pittsburgh that provided training at the secondary level. These 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. Today, the university has colleges in engineering, fine arts, science, industrial administration, humanities, and social sciences.
The Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland, endowed with $10 million, was created by a deed signed on June 7, 1901—officially incorporated by Royal Charter on August 21, 1902—for the purpose of “improving and extending the opportunities for scientific study and research” as well as providing scholarship for needy students.
Andrew Carnegie founded the Carnegie Institution of Washington in 1902, endowing it with $22 million, as an organization for scientific discovery. He intended it to be home for exceptional individuals—those with imagination and extraordinary dedication, capable of working at the cutting edge of their fields. It has fostered new areas of science and has led to unexpected benefits to society, including the development of hybrid corn, radar, the technology that led to Pyrex® glass, and RNA interference, a novel technique to control genes. In 2007, the institution adopted a new name: the Carnegie Institution for Science.
In October of 1903, Andrew Carnegie signed a formal deed to create a foundation for the purpose of “erecting and maintaining at The Hague a courthouse and library for the Permanent Court of Arbitration.” The Carnegie Foundation, as the organization was called, was given $1.5 million with which to build the so called Peace Palace. Today, the Carnegie Foundation is solely responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of the Peace Palace and its grounds.
Endowed with roughly $4 million, the Carnegie Dunfermline Trust was created in 1903 to benefit the 26,000 residents of Andrew Carnegie’s birthplace in Scotland. In the years that followed, there were few aspects of life in Dunfermline that the Trust did not touch through the creation of numerous public institutions including: the magnificent Pittencrieff Park and Glen; reading rooms; bowling greens; clinics; a College of Hygiene and Physical Education; School of Handicrafts; Music Institute; Women’s Center; Youth Center; and playing fields. In addition, the Trust has assisted the community by supporting local schools, educational visits, and sports activities.
In January 1904, a fatal coal mine disaster in Harwick, Pa., claimed the lives of an engineer and a miner who went into the stricken mine in a valiant attempt to rescue others. The tragedy and the sacrifices so moved Andrew Carnegie that he promptly took action on his then novel idea of honoring and helping the “heroes of civilization.” The Commission’s Deed of Trust, dated March 12, 1904, established a $5 million fund to recognize persons in “peaceful vocations” who act to “preserve or rescue their fellows.” Since the Commission’s establishment, it has awarded more than $20 million to such “heroes of peace.” There are now hero funds in the United States, United Kingdom, and Europe.
The Carnegie Hero Fund Trust was established in Britain in 1908 with the continuing aim of recognizing heroism and giving financial assistance, where necessary, to people who have been injured, or to the dependents of people who have been killed, in attempting to save another human life. When Andrew Carnegie established the first Hero Fund, the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission in 1904, if a family lost the breadwinner, it barely survived. Carnegie described the Hero Fund as “my ain bairn,” or “my own child,” and it was soon followed by nine Funds across Europe in France, Germany, Belgium, Denmark, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland.
The Carnegie Foundation was established in 1905 with an initial endowment of $10 million—later augmented—and a charter from the New York State legislature. As a trustee of Cornell University, Andrew Carnegie was shocked to learn about the low salary scale of professors. He realized that they were unable to save for their old age and that many were continuing to teach for far too long. Through the Foundation, he endowed a pension system for college teachers. It later went on to establish the first widespread educational standards for the nation’s colleges and universities. After 1931, the foundation changed its focus, concentrating on research to improve education.
Andrew Carnegie formed the Carnegie Corporation of New York in 1911 to give away the $150 million that remained of his fortune. Since then, it has given large grants to the other Carnegie trusts as well as universities, colleges, schools, and educational entities.
The Carnegie United Kingdom Trust was founded in 1913, with a $10 million endowment, to address the changing needs of the people of the United Kingdom and Ireland. It has provided support for a wide variety of community services, ranging from child welfare programs to community theaters. The Trust currently focuses on strengthening democracy and civil society, as well as on enhancing the well-being of rural communities. The Trust also continues to support the promotion of socially progressive and creative philanthropy
The Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs was established in 1914, with a $2 million endowment, as the Church Peace Union. Through that organization, Andrew Carnegie hoped to mobilize the world’s churches, religious organizations, and other spiritual and moral resources to join in promoting moral leadership and finding alternatives to armed conflict. The organization thrived and expanded its focus, resulting in its renaming as the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs in 1986. Today it is the world’s premier institute 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.