Skoll, Jeff

Jeff Skoll

Year

Affiliation

Areas of Focus

Economic Opportunity | Education | Environmental Sustainability | Health | Peace and Human Rights | Sustainable Markets

Medal Citation: 2017 Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy

In The Gospel of Wealth, Andrew Carnegie urged the wealthy to do “what is practicable now; with the next step possible in our day and generation.” When eBay’s IPO transported Jeff Skoll, the company’s first full-time employee and president, to extraordinary wealth, he began to deliberate the best ways to return his wealth to society. The result is a sophisticated set of organizations that are designed to meet, and are indeed meeting, some of the greatest threats facing humanity.

Mr. Skoll was born in Montreal and moved with his family to Toronto when he was 14. At that age his ambition was to become a writer, one whose stories would, as he put it, make “the world feel smaller and more interconnected,” just as many of his favorite authors did for him. Even then, however, he understood that a writing career might require support from a “day job.” Also around this time his father was diagnosed with cancer, speaking with regret of all that he had yet to experience in life. Fortunately, the elder Mr. Skoll recovered from his illness, but this trying period for the family made a deep impression on the son, ultimately helping to propel Jeff Skoll toward academic and professional success.

Mr. Skoll earned his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Toronto and an MBA from Stanford University. He then set out to establish himself in Silicon Valley. His early success at eBay set the stage for another phase of his remarkable career, this time in philanthropy.

Founded in 1999, the Skoll Foundation is one of the largest organizations in the world committed to investing in, connecting, and celebrating social entrepreneurs. The Skoll Award, for example, has given generous grants to 122 social entrepreneurs at 100 organizations across five continents. With over 80 films to its name, Mr. Skoll’s film company, Participant Media, aims to inspire change through storytelling—earning, so far, 52 Academy Award nominations and 11 Oscars. Meanwhile, with a mission to confront “global threats imperiling humanity,” the Skoll Global Threats Fund focuses on climate change, water security, pandemics, nuclear nonproliferation, and conflict in the Middle East. Capricorn Investment Group invests in breakthrough solutions to the world’s most pressing problems, proving that values-based sustainable investment approaches can enhance return rates.

The vision of the Jeff Skoll Group—to “live in a sustainable world of peace and prosperity”—is the bedrock of its founder’s philanthropy. Mr. Skoll’s youthful goal of making the world smaller by uniting people through stories has been brilliantly realized across all of the Jeff Skoll Group organizations, with initiatives that tap into individuals’ idealism and encourage activism. Many of Mr. Skoll’s endeavors have helped inspire positive change in national and international policies, and he has been honored numerous times for his contributions. Fellow Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy medalist Eli Broad named Skoll one of “The World’s 7 Most Powerful Philanthropists” in Forbes in 2011, and the next year he was named an Officer of the Order of Canada, a recognition established by Queen Elizabeth II acknowledging outstanding achievement, dedication to the community, and service to the nation.

If Mr. Carnegie were alive today, we believe that he would marvel at Mr. Skoll’s organizational talent and visionary philanthropy. The Carnegie family of institutions applauds the scope of his achievements and his giving, uniting passion, business acumen, and innovation in the effort to create a more just world. We are privileged to include Jeff Skoll among the recipients of the Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy.

Acceptance Speech Video: October 3, 2017 Awards Ceremony

Photos: October 3, 2017 Awards Ceremony

Sally Osberg, Skoll Foundation president and CEO; and Jeff Skoll’s parents, Mort and Judy Skoll, accepting on behalf of Mr. Skoll.

Robertson, Julian

Julian Robertson

Year

Affiliation

Areas of Focus

Education | Environment | Medical Research

Medal Citation: 2017 Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy

Writing in the North American Review in 1906, Andrew Carnegie declared that wealth “should be administered as a sacred trust . . . for the public good.” As his financial empire attained extraordinary success, Julian Robertson—like Mr. Carnegie before him—generously committed his knowledge, time, and resources to help others to advance as well.

Mr. Robertson was born in Salisbury, North Carolina, and attended Episcopal High School in Alexandria, Virginia. By the time he graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, he had already established a record of excellence and integrity. His greatest accomplishments, however, were yet to come.

Over the course of two decades at Kidder Peabody, Mr. Robertson rose steadily through the ranks. Starting as a sales trainee, he eventually became CEO of Kidder’s investment advisory subsidiary, Webster Management Corporation. He cofounded Tiger Management in 1980. Under his leadership it grew exponentially into one of the largest and most successful hedge funds of its time—and Mr. Robertson would become known as the “Wizard of Wall Street.”

Mr. Robertson’s parents stressed the importance of philanthropy to their young son, and he, continuing the tradition, encouraged a culture of giving throughout his tenure at Tiger. In 1989 he launched the Tiger Foundation, which began by supporting time-tested nonprofits serving New York City’s neediest families. The foundation’s board devised a comprehensive strategy to address poverty’s root causes, supporting individuals and their communities and focusing on education, employment, youth and families, and the criminal justice system. The foundation has engendered multiple offshoot philanthropies run by “Tiger Cubs,” the new generation of hedge fund managers who moved up the corporate ladder under Mr. Robertson’s tutelage.

In 1996, with his wife, Josie, and family, Mr. Robertson established a separate entity, the Robertson Foundation. Like the Tiger Foundation, the new foundation supports public education in New York City while expanding into other priority areas, such as cutting-edge medical research, addressing the impact of climate change, and leadership development though scholarship programs focusing on these issues at Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The Robertson Foundation also contributes to stem cell research and medical initiatives at Memorial Sloan Kettering and Rockefeller University.

In 1997 Mr. Robertson established The Blanche and Julian Robertson Family Foundation, named in memory of his parents. This endeavor takes him full circle, with a range of initiatives benefitting his hometown in North Carolina.

Despite his modest profile, Mr. Robertson is a compelling force in modern philanthropy. In 2016 Forbes named him one of “America’s 10 Most Generous Philanthropists,” and fellow Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy medalist Eli Broad counts him as one of “The World’s 7 Most Powerful Philanthropists.” For Inside Philanthropy, Mr. Robertson is among “The 18 Most Generous Men on Wall Street.”

The Carnegie family of institutions salutes the range of initiatives conceived and inspired by Mr. Robertson, as well as the extraordinary expertise he has applied to implement them. We are honored to welcome Julian Robertson as a recipient of the Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy.

Acceptance Speech Video: October 3, 2017 Awards Ceremony

Photos: October 3, 2017 Awards Ceremony

Premji, Azim

Azim Premji

Year

Affiliation

Areas of Focus

Education

Medal Citation: 2017 Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy

Doing “real and permanent good” is a defining pillar of Andrew Carnegie’s vision of philanthropy. The life of Azim Premji embodies that vision.

Mr. Premji came of age at the dawn of India’s independence, a period that he has described as one of hope, idealism, and sacrifice for the greater good. The heroes of this era included his mother, a medical doctor by training who spent nearly 50 years funding, building, and running a charitable hospital for children with polio and cerebral palsy. Mr. Premji credits his mother as a guide and inspiration for his philanthropy.

As a young man, Mr. Premji went to Stanford University to study engineering. When his father died suddenly in 1966, he returned to India and assumed responsibility for the family business. Western India Vegetable Products Ltd. performed well and advanced under his leadership. Notwithstanding this success, by the arrival of the 1980s Mr. Premji recognized the potential of technology and gradually shifted the company’s focus. He renamed it WIPRO and began specializing in the production of minicomputers. The company became renowned for IT, business process outsourcing, and R&D services. This transformation lifted an already successful company to new heights and extraordinary wealth.

Throughout his career Mr. Premji has remained deeply faithful to Mahatma Gandhi’s belief that the wealthy are trustees of their fortunes and, as such, are obligated to uplift their societies. Reaching a point when others might have rested on their laurels, Mr. Premji delved even further into uncharted territory. His next challenge was a historic one: how to remedy one of the longest-standing inequities in Indian society. Thanks to him, some of the country’s poorest and most marginalized citizens are gaining better access to education.

Today the Azim Premji Foundation’s educational experts are deeply engaged on the ground across seven states in India, helping improve the equity and quality of over 350,000 schools. The foundation’s strategic and comprehensive outreach extends from remote villages to street children in major cities. In turn, many Azim Premji University graduates aid in the foundation’s monumental work, as well as that of other organizations working for social good in India. Mr. Premji’s aim is to emancipate individuals from economic and social dependence through the advancement and diffusion of knowledge, similar to Mr. Carnegie’s own philanthropic goals.

In addition, over the past two years Mr. Premji has established a new grantmaking endeavor, Azim Premji Philanthropic Initiatives, which supports not-for-profits working on issues ranging from helping women at risk of violence and people with disabilities to improving local self-governance, reducing child malnutrition, and interventions to ameliorate the hardships experienced by small and marginal farmers. This fast-scaling grantmaking initiative complements Mr. Premji’s sustained work in education, all with the goal of helping to build a better India.

It is no surprise that Mr. Premji is the recipient of numerous awards and accolades. He received the Padma Vibhushan, one of India’s highest civilian awards, and France’s Legion of Honor, and in 2011 was named to the “Time 100,” Time magazine’s list of “the most influential people in the world.” The Carnegie family of institutions hails the remarkable Mr. Premji and the conscience, integrity, and compassion that have guided his visionary giving. His devotion to India is of invaluable benefit to both that nation and to the world. We are privileged to count him among the recipients of the Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy.

Acceptance Speech Video: October 3, 2017 Awards Ceremony

Photos: October 3, 2017 Awards Ceremony

Lenfest, Marguerite & H. F. “Gerry”

Marguerite & H. F. "Gerry" Lenfest

Year

Affiliation

Areas of Focus

Education

Medal Citation: 2017 Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy

In The Gospel of Wealth, Andrew Carnegie advocated that the rich man act as a “trustee for the poor.” When the sale of their company transported Marguerite and Gerry Lenfest into a new realm of privilege, the couple conceived of a plan that could have been scripted by Mr. Carnegie himself.

An attorney by training, Mr. Lenfest joined Davis Polk, one of New York’s most distinguished law firms, then transitioned into publishing in Philadelphia. He eventually purchased two local cable companies that became Lenfest Communications. Mrs. Lenfest, meanwhile, taught elementary school for several years. Both the Lenfests attribute their accomplishments to the discipline they acquired at school and university, so it is no surprise that education became a cornerstone of their philanthropy.

The couple are deeply involved in the operations of the Lenfest Foundation, which they established in 2000. With programs that extend from preschool to university, the foundation supports “promising strategies that will have a life-changing impact” on children in Pennsylvania. The Lenfest College Scholarship Program, for example, has had an immeasurable impact over many years on students in rural Pennsylvania. In 2011 the foundation’s board of directors expanded its focus to the underprivileged youth of Philadelphia. Making this at-risk demographic a priority, the foundation developed a multiyear, comprehensive plan focusing on career development and leisure-time programs for early learners and junior high school students. The scope of the Lenfests’ philanthropy, however, reaches far beyond Pennsylvania, the state they love and have long called home.

Columbia University, for one, where Mr. Lenfest attended law school, references the “Lenfest Effect,” a term coined to characterize the transformational nature of the couple’s support. Nearly unprecedented in both scale and range, it is felt from the institution’s law school to its medical center to the Earth Institute. In addition, the Lenfests established the Lenfest Ocean Program, a grantmaking organization in Washington, D.C., managed by the Pew Charitable Trusts, which funds research that influences regional and global policy to protect the world’s oceans.

In 2016 Mr. Lenfest donated the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Philadelphia Daily News, and Philly.com to the Philadelphia Foundation, a local community foundation. Thanks to a generous endowment from the Lenfests, the Lenfest Institute for Journalism is now also part of the foundation’s special assets. Today it is the largest public-benefit news organization in the United States, committed to protecting the integrity of journalism in the region and fostering its evolution to a digital format.

Perhaps one of the most revealing characteristics of the Lenfests’ generosity and authenticity is their innate modesty. In the early years of their philanthropy, they purchased a large plot of land in Chester County, Pennsylvania, with the intention of building a substantial home on the property. The foundation was excavated and the rebar was being placed when the Lenfests abandoned the project. They instead purchased two adjoining properties to create ChesLen, a sprawling 1,263-acre nature preserve where the public is free to walk dogs, ride horses, and enjoy the unspoiled landscape. Meanwhile, the Lenfests remain in the modest home they purchased in 1966.

Mr. and Mrs. Lenfest have received numerous recognitions and awards, honorary doctorates, and instrumental board assignments for the earnest, steadfast, and wide-ranging scope of their benevolence. The Carnegie family of institutions hails them for embodying the essence of generosity, altruism, and dedication to the common good, and wholeheartedly welcomes them to the distinguished roster of recipients of the Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy.

Acceptance Speech Video: October 3, 2017 Awards Ceremony

Photos: October 3, 2017 Awards Ceremony

Chak, Mei Hing

Mei Hing Chak

Year

Affiliation

Areas of Focus

Education | Poverty Alleviation | Rescue/Disaster Relief

Medal Citation: 2017 Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy

Mei Hing Chak is a self-made businesswoman whose extraordinary accomplishments—in both commerce and philanthropy—in many ways mirror those of storied industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie.

Born and raised in southern China’s Guangdong province, Ms. Chak grew up in a humble household in one of the country’s more prosperous regions. Eager to begin a professional life following high school, she used a small loan from her mother to launch a modest garment business. While not highly successful, the business provided a valuable opportunity to gain expertise, and the experience caused her to set her sights firmly on a different field—the furniture industry.

Ms. Chak’s remarkable dedication to her business persuaded her to forego the comforts of an apartment and, like many of her workers, she lived in the factory in order to save money. Her efforts paid off as her original concept gradually expanded into the largest furniture logistics enterprise in China at that time. Furthermore, she devised a new business model, augmenting the company’s exponential growth. This led her to found the extremely successful Heungkong Group, a conglomerate specializing in furniture retail and logistics, commercial circulation, finance, natural resources and energy, education, healthcare, and property management. Having achieved tremendous success in business, Ms. Chak turned her attention toward an even greater calling—philanthropy.

In 2005 China’s Ministry of Civil Affairs approved the formation of the country’s first nonpublic philanthropic organization. Conceived and spearheaded by Ms. Chak, the Heungkong Charitable Foundation concentrates primarily on education, poverty alleviation, rescue, and disaster relief. To date, the foundation has served over two million needy people, funded 1,500 libraries, sent books to over a million students, given loans to women in rural areas, and provided assistance to more than 80,000 disabled children and elderly citizens.

In the midst of these efforts, Ms. Chak returned to school and received a master’s degree in management from Tulane University. Her remarkable story has been featured on the BBC (“Zhai Meiqing at the Forefront of Chinese Philanthropy”) and in Forbes Asia (“In Asia, 40 Heroes of Philanthropy Are Making Their Mark”).

Ms. Chak’s desire to help uplift the people of China was a significant source of inspiration for her successes in business. The Carnegie family of institutions applauds her selfless generosity and tireless campaign of giving. We believe that Andrew Carnegie would extol the example she has set for a new generation of philanthropists in China, and we are privileged to welcome Mei Hing Chak as a recipient of the Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy.

Acceptance Speech Video: October 3, 2017 Awards Ceremony

Photos: October 3, 2017 Awards Ceremony

Haas Family, The

The Haas Family

The Haas family’s tradition of philanthropy spans four generations. It began in 1909 when Otto Haas, a German entrepreneur, brought his chemical business to Philadelphia, where it grew into a global Fortune 500 company. He founded the family’s first philanthropic venture with his dynamic American wife, Phoebe, who, born on the North Dakota frontier, traveled to Vassar and Berkeley to earn undergraduate degrees in mathematics and astronomy, and was among the earliest American women to earn a PhD in astronomy. Otto and Phoebe Haas created the Phoebe Waterman Foundation in 1945 to help fatherless children and support medical and educational institutions. Andrew Carnegie, still alive when Otto Haas arrived in America, might have inspired the fellow immigrant with his advice: “A man’s first duty is to make a competence and be independent. But his whole duty does not end here. It is his duty to do something for his needy neighbours who are less favoured than himself.”

The family’s second generation, sons F. Otto and John, dedicated their personal time and wealth, along with the resources of the Foundation—which they renamed for seventeenth-century Quaker William Penn—and other family charitable funds, to improving the quality of life in the Philadelphia region. Their legacy includes the transformation of Independence Mall, which went from neglected area to international tourist destination. They also reinvigorated both the local and national Boys and Girls Club and United Way organizations, and supported opportunities for communities of color from Philadelphia to South Africa. Longtime supporters of the University of Pennsylvania, they renewed the Morris Arboretum and provided for the University Museum while giving generous grants to multiple departments of the University itself.

Today, the third and fourth generations of the family carry on the values and work of their forebears with personal contributions and commitments of time. The family-led William Penn Foundation plays a key role in improving the quality of life in Greater Philadelphia through support for arts and culture to organizations such as the Philadelphia Orchestra; the development of accessible and vibrant public spaces; and the protection of the Delaware River watershed. As part of its work increasing high-quality educational opportunities for economically disadvantaged students, the Foundation supports the creation of a stable, equitable, and adequate funding system providing needed resources for student success from preschool through 12th grade. And, in another Carnegie-like gesture, the Free Library of Philadelphia received the largest financial gift in its 120-year history from the William Penn Foundation to transform it into a vibrant, twenty-first-century institution. Clearly, the Haas family subscribes to Andrew Carnegie’s belief that, “to try to make the world in some way better than you found it, is to have a noble motive in life.”

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Menschel, Richard L. and Robert B.

Richard L. Menschel and Robert B. Menschel

Year

Affiliation

Charina Endowment Fund

Areas of Focus

Art

New York-based brothers Richard and Robert Menschel both share Andrew Carnegie’s philosophy that with wealth comes a responsibility to contribute to the world’s betterment and a more open and just society. Their dedication and talent took them both to the top of the investment banking field at prestigious Goldman Sachs, and they have been giving back in countless ways for decades.

Richard Menschel is as an art collector, philanthropist, and sponsor of health, education, and the arts. He attended the Bronx High School of Science, graduated from Syracuse University, and became an officer in the U.S. Air Force. While stationed in Turkey, he contracted polio, but that illness would not constrain his life. Armed with a gift for leadership and a sense of humor, he graduated from Harvard Business School and joined Goldman Sachs—becoming a partner and later a member of the Management Committee. He retired in 1988 and is now a senior director.

Throughout his career, Richard Menschel has been known as a giver, generous with both his wealth and his time. His philanthropic support for numerous organizations has been directed personally, and through trusts and the Charina Foundation, the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, and subsequently, the Charina Endowment Fund.

In addition to his philanthropic work, Richard Menschel has contributed his leadership talent to numerous organizations, including the Joffrey Ballet and George Eastman Museum. An active collector of photography for almost fifty years, he established curatorial chairs in photography at The Morgan Library & Museum and Harvard Art Museums.

He has served on the boards of the Hospital for Special Surgery, The Morgan Library & Museum, and the Vera Institute of Justice, and generously supports the American Civil Liberties Union, the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, and the International Rescue Committee. He has been a partner in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative led by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and served on New York City’s Panel for Educational Policy under Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. His wife and fellow philanthropist, Ronay Menschel, has been a leader in government and is active with numerous educational, housing, medical, and arts organizations.

Like his brother, Robert Menschel provides liberal support and leadership for an extensive and varied list of organizations, both large and small. He graduated from Syracuse University and then attended New York University Graduate School of Business. As a partner at Goldman Sachs, he founded the Institutional Department that became the model for the industry; he is currently a senior director of Goldman Sachs Group. Robert Menschel is also chairman and managing director of the foundation Vital Projects Fund, a director of the Charina Endowment Fund, and former managing director of the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation.

Robert Menschel clearly agrees with Andrew Carnegie’s belief that “there is no mode of disposing of surplus wealth creditable to thoughtful and earnest men into whose hands it flows save by using it year by year for the general good.” His enthusiastic commitment to education and social reform, as well as health and the arts, knows no bounds. He established the Light Work Photography Organization’s program and Media Center at Syracuse University and the Menschel Photography Gallery at the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, among other photography programs around the nation. His foundation is also a leader in its commitment to criminal justice reform.

He has led the boards of the Museum of Modern Art and Syracuse University, and is a member of the Executive Committee of New York Presbyterian Hospital. He has served on the boards of the New York Public Library, the National Gallery of Art, the Institute for Advanced Study, Montefiore Hospital, Chess-in-the-Schools, and Congregation Emanu-El of New York City. He was also a member of President Clinton’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. Robert Menschel established the Paul Volcker Chair in Behavioral Economics at the Maxwell School of Citizenship at Syracuse University, and is the author of the book Markets, Mobs & Mayhem.

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Allen, Paul G.

Paul G. Allen

Year

Affiliation

Areas of Focus

Health | Poverty | Environment

My philanthropic strategy is also informed by my enduring belief in the power of new ideas. By dedicating resources that can help some of the world’s most creative thinkers accelerate discovery, I hope to serve as a catalyst for progress—in large part by encouraging closer collaboration and challenging conventional thinking.

Like Andrew Carnegie, Paul G. Allen pioneered a new industry that not only defined an era, but changed the course of history. And like Mr. Carnegie, Mr. Allen has devoted his great fortune to serving humanity. While that generosity takes many forms, it is unified by Mr. Allen’s determination to catalyze change and search for ways to make life better for coming generations.

Mr. Allen is a leading supporter for advancements in the realms of health and medicine. Last year, when the Ebola epidemic threatened to engulf western Africa, his generous donation—the world’s largest—kept emergency relief flowing and helped spark a bigger, faster global response. The year before, he gave generously to battle polio. Research at the Allen Institute for Brain Science, meanwhile, has helped accelerate neuroscience advances aimed at treating traumatic brain injuries, dementia, and paralysis. The Institute is sharing its discoveries with researchers everywhere—an innovative, open approach that is designed to accelerate a range of medical breakthroughs.

Beyond the medical field, Mr. Allen’s generosity is advancing other causes as well, from the environment to technology. The Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence, for instance, has the singular focus of harnessing artificial intelligence for the common good. Mr. Allen is also working to help save the world’s oceans—strengthening surveillance of illegal fishing boats that are strip mining seas, funding research to counter ocean acidification, and educating chefs and consumers about sustainable seafood.

A signer of the Giving Pledge whose gifts already exceed $2 billion, Mr. Allen is a pragmatic but determined optimist. His unique approach to philanthropy leverages both the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation and his company, Vulcan Inc., which he named for the Roman god of fire, a radical, freethinking blacksmith who forged works that no one else—not even the gods—thought possible. Despite the complexity of his initiatives and investments, Mr. Allen sees his mission clearly: “If it has the potential to do good, then we should do it.”

More than a century ago, Andrew Carnegie said, “the day is coming when the test will be neither how a man was born nor how much wealth he possesses, nor even how much he knows, but how he has served his fellows.” Today, Paul Allen exemplifies this very ideal of knowledge, generosity, and service.

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Huntsman, Jon M. Sr.

Jon M. Huntsman, Sr.

Year

Affiliation

Areas of Focus

Health | Science

I saw with clarity the vision that the Huntsman fortune is a means to cure cancer and that my purpose on earth is to facilitate the research which will illuminate its mysteries.

“Rich men should be thankful for one inestimable boon. They have it in their power during their lives to busy themselves in organizing benefactions from which the masses of their fellows will derive lasting advantage, and thus dignify their own lives.” Andrew Carnegie could have been describing Jon M. Huntsman, Sr. when he wrote those words. Growing up in rural Idaho where “everyone was poor,” Huntsman would hardly have expected to become rich one day, as he mowed lawns and picked potatoes for 6 cents a bag. And he still wasn’t rich when, as a young Navy gunnery officer, he gave $50 from his $320 monthly paycheck to help veterans’ families. But the habit of giving was instilled in him during his Mormon childhood, and it’s grown deeper through the years.

Mr. Huntsman’s business career began at an egg producer in Los Angeles (later purchased by Dow Chemical Co.), where at age 30 he led its container division. Soon he began his own small plastics packaging business, which grew to become the chemical manufacturer Huntsman Corporation, with more than 16,000 employees worldwide, in addition to 12,000 contract employees.

Considered among America’s most dedicated citizens and foremost philanthropists, Mr. Huntsman, with his wife, Karen, founded the Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City to accelerate the work of curing cancer through human genetics. Mr. Huntsman, a cancer survivor, lost both parents to the disease. Today, the Institute has leading-edge research laboratories and a state-of-the-art hospital treating cancer patients, including children and families.

Education also ranks high on the Huntsmans’ list, and they have contributed liberally to the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and to Utah State University, among others. They provide scholarships for hundreds of students each year and support numerous local organizations the family feels are “most meritorious.” They have also responded to international crises. One such crisis came in 1988, when a devastating earthquake killed tens of thousands in Armenia. Mr. Huntsman stepped in to help, eventually making dozens of trips and donating more than $50 million, keeping up the assistance work ever since—rebuilding, setting up schools, and creating jobs. The Huntsman Foundation also sponsors education at Utah State University for scholars from Armenia, who are expected to return home when they finish their education.

An early signer of the Giving Pledge, Mr. Huntsman is said to keep a copy of Carnegie’s Gospel of Wealth at his desk as a reminder to live modestly and act as a trustee for the less fortunate. In a quote that could have come from Carnegie himself, Huntsman says, “You can’t call [people charitable] who wait until they die to leave money to charity in their will…. If they weren’t going to die, they wouldn’t leave a penny to anybody.”

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Jacobs, Joan and Irwin

Joan and Irwin Jacobs

Year

Affiliation

Areas of Focus

Arts

We continually receive great satisfaction from our philanthropy and stimulation from the many with whom we come in contact.

Irwin Mark Jacobs learned about giving early in life. Growing up in blue-collar New Bedford, Massachusetts, during the Great Depression, he and his family would now and then drop a few coins into a small box they kept on the table. As a boy, he understood that though they had little money, there were others with even less who needed their help. It’s a valuable lesson that’s stuck with the Jacobs family for generations. Dr. Jacobs left New Bedford to attend Cornell University, where he earned a degree in electrical engineering and computer science. His masters and doctorate came from MIT, where he spent more than a decade as a professor before moving to the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), where he and his wife, fellow Cornell alum Joan Klein Jacobs, have been living—and giving—ever since.

A move into the private sector provided the means for the Jacobs’s journey into philanthropy. Dr. Jacobs founded, then sold, the satellite encryption company Linkabit. In 1985, he cofounded Qualcomm, a provider of wireless telecommunications products, shepherding its growth from start-up to Fortune 500 Company—one of Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to work for—now with over 28,000 employees worldwide.

Since relocating with her family to the San Diego area in the 1960s, New York City native Joan Jacobs has played an integral part in shaping the community through her activism and perseverance. She has focused her energies on numerous community groups, including support organizations at UCSD, the San Diego Symphony, and San Diego arts institutions, and she has been recognized for her service to the Jewish community. Joan and Irwin Jacobs are partners in philanthropy, which includes large gifts to UCSD’s engineering school and medical center, the San Diego Public Library, and the Jewish Community Foundation of San Diego. The Jacobs have given to MIT and the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, funding a professorship in genomics and in neuroscience. They also donated to the Jason and Irwin Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute of Technology in New York City, designed to be a place for experimentation on the Cornell-Tech campus.

Dr. Jacobs has signed the Giving Pledge, but says it hasn’t really changed his strategy with regard to his money—a strategy that could have come from Andrew Carnegie himself. “There is no mode of disposing of surplus wealth creditable to thoughtful and earnest men into whose hands it flows,” Carnegie argued, “save by using it year by year for the general good.” Joan and Irwin Jacobs had already planned to give away more than half of their wealth, so signing the Giving Pledge was simply a way to encourage others to do the same.

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