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Good People, Good Work

Successful Refugees and Immigrants Leading the Way, Part 12 of a Multi-part Series: The Pioneer of Modern Philanthropy - Andrew Carnegie

2021-06-14
Language:English
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Andrew Carnegie was born on November 25, 1835, in Dunfermline, Scotland. As they were forced into poverty by the arrival of automated weaving machines, they decided to immigrate to the United States in 1848 for the prospect of a better life.

At the age of 18, he was recruited by Thomas Scott, superintendent of the Pennsylvania Railroad, as his secretary and personal telegrapher. As this young man moved up the corporate ladder at the railroad company, he realized the enormous potential of iron and steel for the future of the American economy and decided to step into this industry. Later, with his foresight and organizational and investment skills, he adapted the most advanced and efficient mass steel production method of the era from the UK. He consolidated several other smaller steel producers and integrated the suppliers of the raw materials, and thus gradually built his enormous steel empire.

Even with his enormous success in business and personal wealth accumulation, Mr. Carnegie is most remembered for his good endeavors. He gave away US$350 million, 90% of his wealth, to various charities and foundations by the time of his death. Many contemporary wealthy entrepreneurs heeded his call to give of themselves.

One of Andrew Carnegie’s primary charity initiatives was the founding of free public libraries. He contributed US$56 million to build 2,509 libraries around the world, of which 1,679 were built in the United States, with 70% in small towns.

Andrew Carnegie was a firm advocate of world peace. He also founded the Peace Palace in The Hague, Netherlands, in 1903, with the objective to resolve international conflicts peacefully, and established the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in 1910 as a global network to share innovative ideas to advance global peace.

Andrew Carnegie is a brilliant example of how immigrants can tremendously benefit the community and world.

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