By the Numbers
Carnegie Facts & Figures
Carnegie is where the next generation of big ideas are born. Our research breakthroughs have fundamentally changed how we understand biology, our planet, and the universe. We are one of few organizations worldwide where dedicated scientists can choose to explore new research directions that could redefine our collective future.
Andrew Carnegie founded this institution in 1902 as a home for world-transforming scientific discoveries. Today, Carnegie Science’s mission—to advance investigation, research, and discovery, and apply that knowledge to the improvement of humankind—is more urgent than ever.
An independent research institution, we provide our scientists with the flexibility to follow their discoveries, seize opportunities, and define new fields of investigation. Our researchers continue to ask and answer compelling questions where we have the expertise, the leadership to mobilize the international research community, and the vision to transform our understanding.
Did You Know?
Carnegie's Lara Wagner and colleagues led a hands-on geosciences professional development experience for middle and high school teachers in Arizona
Carnegie's Phil Cleves and his lab have managed to spawn soft coral a dozen times in a year and a half, a major advance in coral research.
Carnegie's Scott S. Sheppard has discovered dozens of planetary satellites over the course of his career.
A Legacy of Partnership
An inspiring philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie founded our Institution in 1902 as part of his dedication to giving away the majority of his wealth during his lifetime. To further this goal, he established the Carnegie Corporation of New York (CCNY) in 1911 to help disperse the remainder of his assets and to manage his legacy after his death. Today, CCNY’s work focuses on international peace, the advancement of education and knowledge, and the strength of our democracy—issues that Andrew Carnegie considered of paramount importance. He also strongly believed in unfettered scientific exploration for the betterment of humankind—in this way the longstanding partnership between our two organizations represents a shared commitment to improving the world around us.
Carnegie Corporation’s Chief of Staff, Jeanne D’Onofrio, said, “Our mission is to advance your mission,” which is evident in the projects and people they have supported over the years. For example, Carnegie Corporation has funded close to a dozen postdoctoral fellowships at Carnegie Science. Andrew Carnegie had a strong passion to advance education for all and so, CCNY’s gifts to our Institution’s fellowships directly support his legacy. And, in turn, an important part of our mission is to promote education in the sciences and to help early career investigators achieve success.
Our Carnegie connection has deep roots. During his lifetime, Andrew Carnegie was a great humanitarian—giving generously of his own personal funds when natural or human disasters occurred. After a devastating earthquake in Chile in 1922 Andrew Carnegie gave $5,000—which would be close to $90,000 today—in humanitarian aid. Around the same time, CCNY also funded research at Carnegie Science that surveyed the origins and effects of the same earthquake—a multi-pronged approach to the disaster response.
In 2001 to mark the centennial of Andrew Carnegie’s commitment to philanthropy, former CCNY President, Vartan Gregorian, brought all the different Carnegie entities together in celebration and remembrance of our founder’s legacy. Though CCNY had been a longtime supporter of Carnegie Science and other Carnegie institutions, until this point, the various Carnegie-founded organizations were not directly connected with each other. The Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy was born out of this celebration and it continues to bring together Carnegie-established institutions to celebrate his legacy of philanthropy and recognize those who continue in his footsteps.
We are proud of our joint history and look forward to continuing to advance Andrew Carnegie’s aspirations for making the world a better place.
A Lasting Impact
Carnegie Corporation of New York made their first grant to Carnegie Science in 1916.
The Carnegie Corporation of New York has funded more than 200 Carnegie Science projects and intiatives.
Supporting the Future
Michael Wilson has been an avid supporter of the arts and sciences for much of his life. A successful movie producer and screenwriter, he feels a sense of responsibility to give back to organizations that are having an impact on the lives of people in communities across the world. “I find it very satisfying to be able to help these institutions to achieve their goals and it is an honor to be part of their work,” said Mr. Wilson during a recent conversation.
Before starting his career as a movie producer, Wilson received an engineering degree from Harvey Mudd College and a juris doctor from Stanford Law School, where he then went on to work for the U.S. Department of Transportation in Washington, D.C. It was there that he met Carnegie Science’s board member John Crawford who introduced him to the Institution’s work.
“I always wanted to explore astronomy,” said Wilson, “For the past 100 years, Carnegie has been at the forefront of astronomical discovery—without Hubble and the research he did while at Carnegie, without Vera Rubin and her exploration into dark matter we would be living in a very different world.” Over his many years of involvement with Carnegie Science, he has become intimately aware of the many facets of our scientists' research having served on the Board of Trustees since 2010.
In 2019, he generously endowed three postdoctoral positions in honor of his three granddaughters. “I want my granddaughters to have role models that they can emulate and to have people who inspire them. I thought I would lead the way by starting a scholarship for women in astronomy. My granddaughters may be a little young now, but I hope, eventually, they will be inspired by what these women do,” said Wilson.
Wilson went on to say of Carnegie’s work, “Science is structured of small discoveries that are built upon one another and that is what Carnegie does so well. Carnegie has long been known as a launching pad for budding scientists because we give them the opportunity to work freely on the things they want to pursue—and that gives them the next leg up on their careers.”
We are very grateful for Wilson’s dedication to Carnegie Science through the giving of his time, expertise, and philanthropy.
Making a Difference
Michael Wilson joined Carnegie Science's Board of Trustees in 2010.
In FY2022 every member of Carnegie Science's Board of Trustees donated the organization.