Golden Giving

By Horne, Jean | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, October 22, 2007 | Go to article overview

Golden Giving

Horne, Jean, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Andrew Carnegie took himself out of the running to be the world's richest man. When he died in 1919, he had given away almost 90 percent of his fortune, which was estimated at $10.6 billion in today's dollars. On Wednesday in the magnificent Carnegie Music Hall, which he built in the city where he amassed his fortune and enriched our community with free libraries, four philanthropic powerhouses were recognized for sharing his vision of using their private wealth for the public good.

Billionaire Eli Broad, Pittsburgh's Heinz and Mellon families and one of India's oldest families, the Tatas, were awarded a Nobel- class prize, the 2007 Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy. Learning of the far-reaching difference they have made in the lives of so many was a reality check on what profound generosity can accomplish.

Because, as we know, rich and generous do not always go hand in hand. At a splendid lunch in the Music Hall Foyer for 350 big players -- many of national and international ilk as well as directors of every major area foundation and localites -- conversation stopped when Vartan Gregorian, president of the Carnegie Corp. of New York announced a $300,000 gift to the Carnegie Libraries of Pittsburgh and $100,000 toward services in India. Later, we learned that Broad had donated nearly $1.8 million to the Pittsburgh Public Schools. It was that kind of a day.

Clad in Carnegie tartan, world champion Scottish piper Alasdair Gillies led the procession of laureates into the hall to a resounding standing "o." There were no boring speeches at the ceremony, which was superbly emceed by former NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw. Deserving the deepest of bows, each accepted a bronze medal and bronze bust of Andrew Carnegie with great humility.

Who was invited, with a capital I, were such as Andrew Carnegie's great-grandson William Thomson of Scotland; former president of India Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam; Elsie and Henry Hillman; CMU prez Jared Cohon and Maureen; Suzy and Jim Broadhurst; David and Georgianna Hillenbrand; Ellen and Jim Walton; former MoMA prexy Agnes Gund; Sandy and Prosser Mellon; USS CEO John Surma; Barbara Mistick; Kevin McMahon; Ranny and Jay Ferguson; Ann-Christine Lindeblad of Sweden; Carol Brown; Sophie, Armour, Richard, Christopher and Laurie Mellon; Rachel and Peter Stephaich; Rita and Lucian Caste; Marcia and Stan Gumberg; Ken Dunn; and Mike Langley.

As well as director of D.C.'s National Gallery of Art Earl Powell III; Patrick Noonan of The Conservation Fund; former World Bank prez Jim Wolfensohn; Toto and Jim Fiser; Jenifer and Mark Evans; Ann and Marty McGuinn; Otto Chu; Van Hoogstraten of the Netherlands; Cheri Hays; Judy and Ron Davenport; Richard Armstrong; Tom Sokolowski; Jo Haas; Nancy and Dan Fales; Carlow U. prexy Mary Hines; Dorothy and Mark Roosevelt; Sibby McCrady; Bill Simpson; Brooks Robinson; John Oliver; Susanne and Jim Wilkinson; Ruth and Leonard Perfido; Walter Rutkowski; Suzy and Mike Watson; Chatham U. prexy Esther Barazzone; and Linda Dickerson.

Pittsburgh rolled out a very red carpet to celebrate the legacy of one of the greatest philanthropists the world has known. Festivities for the laureates and trustees of 20 Carnegie organizations worldwide began Tuesday with guided tours, visits to the main Carnegie library and museums, and then on to a sparkling dinner party at the landmark Pennsylvanian that left everyone starry- eyed.

Pet Project

Animal Friends, Pittsburgh's welcoming refuge in the North Hills, was putting on the dog and cat at Black Tie and Tails. Here's the, um, scoop on this success story that many credited to the bow-wowsa invite by renowned photographic artist Harry "puparazzo" Giglio for turning out Saturday's record litter of 475 to the Circuit Center on the South Side.

In the ballroom whose walls and ceilings were smashingly lit with geometric projections, black-ties mixed and mingled with AF's adorable sheltered charges at cocktails and the Fluted Mushroom's purr-fectly catered graze, bid on high-ticket treats, wagged to Cityscape's terrific 22-piece orchestra . …

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