The famous steel baron Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919) established the Carnegie Corporation of New York (CCNY) in 1911 as a charitable trust whose purpose was to promote the “advancement and diffusion of knowledge and understanding.” As the world’s wealthiest individual at that time, Carnegie embraced the principles of the so-called “Gospel of Wealth,” which stipulated that the rich were morally obligated to give away their fortunes for projects that would benefit society at large. Indeed, by the time he created CCNY, Mr. Carnegie had already donated more than $43 million to fund the construction of some 2,811 libraries around the world, including 1,689 in the United States—plus another $110 million for other purposes. Nevertheless, he still had more than $150 million in his possession and was growing weary of the burden of philanthropic decision making. On the recommendation of his longtime friend and legal adviser, the Nobel Peace Laureate Elihu Root, Carnegie decided to establish CCNY as a charity that would give away the bulk of his remaining fortune. He endowed the Corporation with $125 million in 1911-12, making it the largest single philanthropic trust that had ever been established.
Carnegie’s idea was to use the funds of the trust to benefit worthy individuals. During the past several decades, the political leanings of the Carnegie Corporation have shifted dramatically leftward, as evidenced by the many grants it has awarded to organizations promoting all manner of radical agendas. Among the many recent recipients of CCNY grants are the American Bar Association; the Alliance for Justice; the American Civil Liberties Union; The American Prospect; the Aspen Institute; ACORN; the Ballot Initiative Strategy Center; the Brookings Institution; the Catholic Legal Immigration Network; the Center for American Progress; the Center for Community Change; the Children’s Defense Fund; Citizen Action; the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities; the Cornell University Peace Studies Program; Democracy Matters Institute; Demos; Duke University; the Earth Day Network; the Economic Policy Institute; the Four Freedoms Fund; the Gates Foundation Funds; Human Rights Watch; the Immigrant Legal Resource Center; the Immigrant Workers Citizenship Project; the Independent Media Institute; the Interfaith Education Fund; the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law; the League of Women Voters Education Fund; Media Matters for America; the Mexican American Legal Defense & Education Fund; the Migration Policy Institute; the NAACP Legal Defense & Education Fund; the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO); the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy; the National Council of Churches; the National Council of La Raza; National Public Radio; the National Immigration Forum; the National Urban League; the Native American Rights Fund; the Natural Resources Defense Council; the Neighborhood Funders Group; the Paul Robeson Foundation; People for the American Way; the Ploughshares Fund; Project Vote; the Proteus Fund; the Public Broadcasting System; Public Citizen; the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund; Rock the Vote Education Fund; the Rockefeller Family Fund; Rutgers University; State Voices; the Tides Foundation and the Tides Center; the Union of Concerned Scientists; the Urban Institute; the U.S. Public Interest Research Group; and the William J. Brennan Jr. Center for Justice.
To view a list of additional noteworthy grantees of the Carnegie Corporation of New York, click here.
Post-9/11, CCNY gave large amounts of funding to groups that opposed the PATRIOT ACT, which, by the Corporation’s telling, provoked “fear and confusion in immigrant communities” and “disproportionately affect[ed] those who [were] Muslim, Sikh and/or of Middle Eastern descent.” CCNY further claimed that the PATRIOT Act was partially responsible for “a backlash against Muslim, Sikh, and Arab Americans,” as well as “an alarming increase in anti-immigrant rhetoric and hate crimes.”
One of CCNY’s leading initiatives today is its Democracy Program, which funds organizations that: (a) promote “policies that focus on fixing the current immigration system” by means of amnesty and a path-to-citizenship for illegal aliens; (b) provide “balanced and nuanced [i.e., positive] coverage of immigrants and immigration in the news media”; (c) advance “the civic integration” of immigrants—who support Democratic political candidates in overwhelming numbers—by helping as many as possible to become naturalized and registered to vote; (d) demonize politicians who oppose amnesty and citizenship for illegals; and (e) file lawsuits against locales and agencies that aim to enforce immigration laws. As an affiliate of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, CCNY funneled at least $57 million to “immigrant civic integration” initiatives from 2001-10. Through continued expenditures of this kind, the Corporation aims to counter the “barriers to voting”—such as efforts to pass Voter ID laws that seek to ensure the integrity of the electoral process across the United States.
The director of CCNY’s U.S. Democracy program, Geraldine Mannion—who is also a co-founder of the Four Freedoms Fund and a board member of Grantmakers Concerned With Immigrants & Refugees—has been the key player in the Carnegie Corporation’s immigration grantmaking. Drawing no distinction between legal and illegal immigrants, Mannion declares that CCNY “unequivocally supports the provision of a pathway-to-citizenship for immigrants and assistance to help new arrivals more fully participate in the civic, social, and economic life of their communities.” Lamenting that immigrants’ “ability to fully integrate into our society is being challenged by an immigration system that is clearly broken,” she lauds them uniformly for the “immeasurable” contributions they make “to the strength of American democracy and the richness of its national life.”
CCNY’s International Peace & Security Program analyzes “critical global challenges” in an effort to “build a more secure, peaceful, and prosperous world,… reduce nuclear risks, ensure the peaceful use of nuclear technologies, secure weapons-usable nuclear material,… and advance efforts to limit nuclear proliferation.” Notwithstanding these professed objectives, the Carnegie Corporation supported the so-called Iran Nuclear Deal that in 2015 the Obama administration negotiated with Iran and the leaders of five other nations. That agreement allowed the terrorist regime in Tehran to continue to enrich uranium, build advanced centrifuges, purchase ballistic missiles, fund international terrorism, and move ever-closer toward the capacity to produce nuclear weapons. One CCNY official, Hillary S. Wiesner, sits on the steering committee of the Peace and Security Funders Group.
Onetime Brown University president Vartan Gregorian has been the president of CCNY since June 1997. A highly noteworthy former member of the Carnegie board of directors was Teresa Heinz Kerry, the wife of John Kerry.
For additional information on CCNY, click here.
Further Reading: “Our History” (by CCNY); “The Challenge of Maintaining Andrew Carnegie’s Library Legacy” (Nonprofit Quarterly, 7-10-2013); Carnegie Corporation web pages on its Democracy Program, Policy Development, Strategic Communications, Civic Engagement, & International Peace & Security Program.