Tow, Dr. Leonard

Tow, Dr. Leonard

Dr. Leonard Tow is the founder and chairman of The Tow Foundation and CEO of New Century Holdings, LLC. Dr. Tow found success as a pioneer in the cable television industry, establishing and leading several corporations, including Century Communications, which was the nation’s fifth largest cable television company, serving nearly 2 million homes, at the time of its sale in 1999. In 1988 Dr. Tow and his wife, Claire, founded The Tow Foundation to continue their legacy through its philanthropic giving. The foundation’s mission is to drive positive change and improve the quality of life for society’s most vulnerable people. Its grantmaking focuses on opportunities for breakthroughs, innovative programs, and system reform within the fields of juvenile and criminal justice, medicine, higher education, and culture. Higher education has played an essential role in Dr. Tow’s life. He earned a bachelor’s degree at Brooklyn College, where he met his wife, and a master’s degree and PhD at Columbia University. He gave back to the higher education system as a professor at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Business, at Brooklyn College and Hunter College of the City University of New York, and at New York University’s School of Business.

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Affiliation

The Tow Foundation

Hobson, Mellody and George Lucas

Hobson, Mellody and George Lucas

Renowned filmmaker George Lucas believes that education is the “foundation of our democracy and a stepping stone for youth to reach their full potential.” His wife, Mellody Hobson, experienced the life-changing power of education firsthand — growing up in a single-parent household in Chicago, earning admission to Princeton University, and rising to become the co-CEO and president of Ariel Investments. The couple’s philanthropic investments reflect that shared understanding. In 1991 Mr. Lucas founded the George Lucas Educational Foundation, which aims to transform K–12 education through project-based learning, social and emotional learning, comprehensive assessment, teacher development, integrated studies, and technology integration. Ms. Hobson is chair of After School Matters, a nonprofit that provides high-quality, out-of-school-time programs that have propelled low-income Chicago teens to achieve their full potential: 90 percent of students in its Freshmen On-Track program graduate high school — 11 points higher than their Illinois peers. Together, through the George Lucas Family Foundation, Ms. Hobson and Mr. Lucas also support a range of organizations that are making the world safer, healthier, and more vibrant, including childhood development and mentorship programs, medical institutions, gun control and environmental organizations, and museums and cultural institutions.

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Affiliation

George Lucas Family Foundation

Earhart, Anne G.

Earhart, Anne G.

Anne G. Earhart is a longtime philanthropist who champions environmental causes through her foundation and her individual support of political candidates who prioritize environmental protection and climate change. Her commitment to these issues reflects an understanding of the existential importance of protecting our natural resources and global biodiversity, but it is also personal — she grew up loving the outdoors and wants to ensure that nature is preserved for future generations to enjoy. In 1986 Ms. Earhart founded Marisla Foundation, which supports human services organizations in addition to promoting sustainable ecosystem management and seeking solutions to threats to human and environmental health caused by toxic chemicals. Guided by Ms. Earhart’s philosophy of philanthropy, Marisla has remained a consistent funder to over 600 nonprofit organizations. In addition, Ms. Earhart and Marisla have been leaders in marine conservation, working strategically to mitigate habitat destruction, pollution, and overfishing. Marisla collaborated with several major foundations to create Oceana, the first nonprofit focusing solely on protecting and restoring the world’s oceans, which has helped to preserve 4.5 million square miles of oceans. Marisla has also been a founding partner in several other collaborative philanthropic efforts, including Oceans 5, Plastic Solutions Fund, Partners for a New Economy, and the Health and Environmental Funders Network.

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Affiliation

Marisla Foundation

Mandel, Morton L.

Mandel, Morton L.

As a successful businessman, philanthropist, and social entrepreneur, Morton Mandel cofounded Premier Industrial Corporation and Parkwood LLC with his two brothers, who later joined him to cofound the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation. The foundation’s mission is to contribute to the flourishing of the United States and Israel as just, inclusive, compassionate, and democratic societies and to improve the quality of life in both countries. The foundation achieves that mission by funding education and leadership programs in its own institutions and at selected universities and nonprofits. Throughout his career Mr. Mandel has made it a priority to “invest in people with the values, ability, and passion to change the world.” By developing the next generation of innovators, creators, and achievers, the foundation is helping to ensure that — as the world changes — enlightened, informed leaders will be ready to meet its challenges and seize its opportunities.

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Affiliation

Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation

Kravis, Marie-Josée and Henry R.

Kravis, Marie-Josée and Henry R.

Henry Kravis cofounded the global investment firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., where he remains co-CEO. Marie-Josée Kravis is a prominent economist who serves as vice chair and senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, a not-for-profit policy and research center. Together they are among America’s most active philanthropists, supporting education, community development, and arts, culture, and science institutions. The Kravises made landmark gifts to establish the cutting-edge Center for Molecular Oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and a transformational research center at Rockefeller University, where Mr. Kravis has served as vice chair. Mrs. Kravis is chair of the Sloan Kettering Institute. The Kravises take a hands-on approach to giving, involving themselves closely with the institutions they support. Mrs. Kravis served for 14 years as president of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), where the couple has provided financial support as well as donating major works of art. Mr. Kravis currently serves as chairman of Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO), which has a remarkable track record of helping young people from underserved communities get to and through college: 100 percent of participants earn admission to college and 90 percent graduate. Among other gifts, the Kravises have created the Kravis Leadership Institute at Claremont McKenna College in California, as well as a composer-in-residence program at the New York Philharmonic. One of the largest awards in contemporary music, the Marie-Josée Kravis Prize for New Music enables talented composers from around the world to create and share their work.

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Affiliation

The Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis Foundation

Wood KT GBE, Sir Ian

Wood KT GBE, Sir Ian

Scottish businessman Sir Ian Wood KT GBE rose to prominence as founder, chief executive, and chair of Wood Group, a FTSE 100 company when he retired in 2012. In 2007 he founded The Wood Foundation, which focuses its philanthropic investments and resources on efforts to reduce inequity and increase opportunities in his home country and in East Africa. In Rwanda and Tanzania, the foundation is transforming livelihoods and regional economies through venture philanthropy in the tea industry. Working with 70,000 smallholder tea farmers on 20,000 hectares of land, the foundation is providing long-term credit, developing farmers’ essential agronomic skills through field schools which train 5,000 farmers each year, and creating the infrastructure and markets for their products to ensure a sustainable industry. In Scotland, The Wood Foundation is committed to economic and educational development. Its investments are focused on school-based interventions, as well as funding efforts to reduce childhood poverty. Programs include the Youth and Philanthropy Initiative, which is cultivating the next generation of active citizens by giving more than 35,000 young people each year a hands-on role in channeling grants to charities in their own communities. The Wood Foundation is also responsible for founding Scotland’s first private sector–led economic development body, Opportunity North East, which seeks to spur an economic renaissance in Aberdeen City and Shire. What unites the foundation’s various initiatives is a focus on investing in people, empowering them with the education, training, and resources they need to help themselves achieve lasting progress.

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Affiliation

The Wood Foundation

Smith, Robert F.

Smith, Robert F.

As founder, chairman, and CEO of Vista Equity Partners, Robert F. Smith oversees a portfolio of more than 60 software companies and over $50 billion of cumulative capital commitments, but he believes that the true measure of one’s success is “how much we contribute to the success of those around us.” Mr. Smith emphasized that point in his 2019 commencement address at Morehouse College, surprising students by announcing a grant to eliminate student loan debt for the entire class — urging graduates to “pay it forward” by going on to become leaders in their communities who create opportunities for others. While that life-changing gift earned worldwide attention, it is just one example of Mr. Smith’s philanthropy. Since 2016 he has served as chairman of Carnegie Hall, where he champions artistic excellence and access, causes he also supports through his commitment to expanding music education programs for K–12 students. Fund II Foundation, of which Mr. Smith serves as president and founding director, invests in a wide range of causes that create on-ramps of opportunity for underrepresented minorities preparing to enter the workforce, including launching the InternX platform, which matches African American college sophomores with paid internships. The foundation advances health equity by scaling proven strategies to help African American women beat breast cancer and by supporting prostate cancer treatment access for veterans. Other priorities include protecting the environment and the national parks, and helping to safeguard human rights, including the provision of safe homes for child victims of sex slavery. Mr. Smith is also a longtime leader in efforts to preserve and share stories of the African American experience. In his individual capacity, he provided the largest private donation to the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.

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Affiliation

Fund II Foundation

Wolfensohn, Sir James D.

Sir James D. Wolfensohn

Year

Affiliation

Areas of Focus

Humanities | Sciences | Arts and Culture

Medal Citation: 2017 Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy

The life of James Wolfensohn has been characterized by principled leadership, compassion, and generosity. Like Andrew Carnegie before him, as a reformer Mr. Wolfensohn takes to heart the maxim that democracy and excellence are not mutually exclusive.

The remarkable attributes that led to Mr. Wolfensohn’s achievements emerged at an early age. Born in Sydney, Australia, to a loving and cultured family of modest means, he entered high school at the age of 10 and college at 15. He joined the fencing team during his later years at university, strictly to fulfill the prerequisite for a sixth teammate at national championships. This (initially passive) membership led to a steadfast commitment, eventually earning him a place on the 1956 Australian Olympic fencing team. He went on to receive a BA and an LLB from the University of Sydney, serve as an officer in the Royal Australian Air Force, and earn an MBA from Harvard University. These accomplishments all contributed to the formation of the strong character for which Mr. Wolfensohn would become world renowned.

He began his career practicing law in Sydney, and returned there to transition into banking after graduating from Harvard. His rise in the field took him to London and, eventually, New York, where he was a senior executive at Salomon Brothers. In 1980 he became a naturalized U.S. citizen and established his own investment firm, James D. Wolfensohn, Inc. Beyond his career in business, his philanthropy has benefitted numerous cultural and social causes, both in the United States and abroad. He has also donated his time to a range of organizations. As chairman of Carnegie Hall, he worked with the hall’s president, Isaac Stern, to return the New York City landmark to its former glory, spearheading renovations and securing the financial stability of the world-famous auditorium. He did much the same for the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, as chairman helping to relieve that institution’s financial woes. And he committed more than 30 years of insightful leadership to the Institute for Advanced Study, where he now serves as chairman emeritus. Undeterred by convention, Mr. Wolfensohn applies himself in unexpected directions, for example taking up the cello—and becoming proficient in the instrument—at the age of 50. Years later he would remark that he advanced in life without any self-imposed limitations.

In 1995 Mr. Wolfensohn was named president of the World Bank, further raising his profile in the international community. He astonished many with a courageous campaign against widespread corruption in both developing and developed countries. He implemented new policies requiring bank representatives to build close and respectful relationships with the impoverished member nations it supported. He is one of the few World Bank presidents to have served two terms, and his decade-long tenure was characterized by an unwavering defense of the underprivileged. Throughout his time at the World Bank, Mr. Wolfensohn continued to give quietly to a range of philanthropic causes that were as varied as his own interests.

Mr. Wolfensohn has earned numerous honors and awards over the course of his illustrious career. In 2005 he was named Special Envoy for Gaza Disengagement by President George W. Bush. His honors include the Knighthood of the Order of the British Empire (KBE), the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun of Japan, the Commander’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany, and the award of Officer of the Order of Australia (AO).

As a philanthropist, public servant, and humanitarian, Mr. Wolfensohn has demonstrated a record of philanthropy that upholds Andrew Carnegie’s lofty vision of giving and service. The Carnegie family of institutions is enormously privileged to include Sir James D. Wolfensohn among the recipients of the Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy.

Acceptance Speech Video: October 3, 2017 Awards Ceremony

Photos: October 3, 2017 Awards Ceremony

White, Shelby

Shelby White

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Affiliation

Areas of Focus

Ancient World | Art and Humanities | Nature and Gardens | Neuroscience | Human Rights | Jewish Culture

Medal Citation: 2017 Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy

Shelby White’s extraordinary philanthropic accomplishments extend across as wide a range as Andrew Carnegie’s own philanthropy. Ms. White’s interests include education, libraries, museums, archaeology, parks, science, and the arts and humanities, and the multifaceted breadth of her giving is ever evolving.

Ms. White was raised in Brooklyn, New York, in an immigrant household. Her parents’ support for the needy, including refugees from Nazi Germany, made a lasting impression on the young girl. As a nine-year-old she used a Camp Fire Girls donut sale to help a neighborhood nursery. Her childhood experiences and her thirst for knowledge proved invaluable as she earned a bachelor’s degree at Mount Holyoke College and a master’s at Columbia University. She then married investment banker Rodney L. White. After her husband passed away in 1969, Ms. White began a career in financial journalism. By then a budding philanthropist, she would later donate the Rodney White Country Garden to The New York Botanical Garden.

In 1983 Ms. White married Leon Levy, the renowned financier and philanthropist who in the 1950s had founded the Jerome Levy Foundation, named after his father, which focused on academic freedom and civil liberties. Shelby White and Leon Levy both believed ardently in the importance of giving, and the couple became a philanthropic force. Their passion for ancient civilizations led to the establishment of the Shelby White and Leon Levy Program for Archaeological Publications at Harvard University, and they sponsored the excavations of Ashkelon, Israel. Their love for the arts resulted in the creation of the Shelby White and Leon Levy Travel Grants at NYU’s Institute of Fine Arts, which enable graduate students to travel the world to study original works of art. The couple also donated the Leon Levy and Shelby White Court to The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the centerpiece of the museum’s new Greek and Roman Galleries. During their years together, Shelby White and Leon Levy expanded their support to other areas, including economics, neuroscience, human rights, and civil liberties.

Following Mr. Levy’s death in 2003, Ms. White established the Leon Levy Foundation; their daughter, Tracy White, is now an active participant in the foundation. Known for its creativity and innovation, the foundation supports the preservation, understanding, and expansion of knowledge across a wide range of fields, from neuroscience to the humanities. Initiatives include the Leon Levy Neuroscience Fellowship Program, which funds the research of young scientists, and in 2006 the foundation established the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World at New York University.

The Leon Levy Foundation supports projects to which the couple has personal connections, such as an archival grant to the New York Philharmonic. (Mr. Levy worked as an usher at Philharmonic concerts during his student years at City College of New York.) In addition the couple both loved nature, so Ms. White established the Leon Levy Native Plant Preserve on the island of Eleuthera in the Bahamas, where they had long owned a home; the preserve is the first national park on that island. The foundation also supports the cultural institutions of Brooklyn, including Prospect Park and the Brooklyn Public Library.

Ms. White serves on the boards of The New York Botanical Garden, the Institute for Advanced Study, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York University, Bard Graduate Center, and The Writers Room. She is also chairman of the American Friends of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

Mr. Levy summed up his philosophy of philanthropy concisely: “I tend to take a long view…. I prefer to give money to pursue a concept or idea…. All we can do is try to leave a legacy of good works.” His philosophy continues to underlie the giving of the Leon Levy Foundation.

We are certain Ms. White’s remarkable achievements at the Leon Levy Foundation would astonish both Leon Levy and Andrew Carnegie. The Carnegie family of institutions is privileged to welcome Shelby White as a recipient of the Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy.

Acceptance Speech Video: October 3, 2017 Awards Ceremony

Photos: October 3, 2017 Awards Ceremony

Tompkins, Kristine McDivitt

Kristine McDivitt Tompkins

Year

Affiliation

Areas of Focus

Conservation

Medal Citation: 2017 Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy

In The Gospel of Wealth, Andrew Carnegie places parks in “the very front rank of benefactions,” praising their positive effects on body and spirit. Continuing Douglas Tompkins’s vision, Kristine McDivitt Tompkins has made immeasurable advances toward the preservation and restoration of the world’s great ecosystems, bringing to life Mr. Carnegie’s words more than he could have imagined.

Mrs. Tompkins has always been connected to the outdoors. Raised most of her life on a ranch in southern California, as a teenager she spent summers working for Chouinard Equipment, a rock climbing equipment company, and skied competitively at the College of Idaho. After graduation she returned to Chouinard Equipment and helped its founder grow his operation into Patagonia, the world-renowned outdoor apparel leader and “anti-corporation.” As CEO over a 20-year period, Mrs. Tompkins was widely credited with the company’s values-driven business practices and activism on behalf of the wilderness it celebrates.

In 1993 Mrs. Tompkins retired from Patagonia and married Doug Tompkins, founder of The North Face and cofounder of Esprit. With a shared passion for the outdoors, the two embarked upon a crusade that would push boundaries, raise standards, and, ultimately, make history. The result was Tompkins Conservation, a powerhouse of initiatives that lends unwavering commitment to parks and their restoration, along with sustainable agriculture and environmental activism.

Tragically, Mr. Tompkins died in a kayaking accident in 2015. Despite this loss, his wife has courageously driven their movement forward with outstanding accomplishments. In March 2017, for example, Mrs. Tompkins and Michelle Bachelet, president of Chile, signed a pledge to expand that country’s national park system by approximately 10 million acres. This unprecedented act is the largest land donation ever made by a private individual to a nation. In addition, Mrs. Tompkins has bestowed upon Argentina hundreds of thousands of acres of parklands. These gifts, however, did not come without conditions. Both countries are obligated to actively restore, preserve, and nurture these unspoiled landscapes and their biodiversity in perpetuity. The parklands must also be staffed by a locally sourced workforce to energize the regional economy.

Mrs. Tompkins continues her tireless struggle for conservation. Her gifts to Argentina and Chile are a critical step toward helping those countries to create world-class national park systems, which will continue to benefit visitors from all over the world for generations to come. By protecting the environment that she has always loved, Mrs. Tompkins has become a force of nature in her own right, and the Carnegie family of institutions is honored to recognize her extraordinary accomplishments and generosity with the Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy.

Acceptance Speech Video: October 3, 2017 Awards Ceremony

Photos: October 3, 2017 Awards Ceremony