David M. Rubenstein will be honored with a 2015 Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy, the Carnegie Corporation of New York announced Tuesday. The awards are given to individuals who embody the spirit of Andrew Carnegie by dedicating their private wealth to the public good.
Rubenstein, a co-founder and co-chief executive of the Carlyle Group, a Washington-based global private-equity firm, is one of eight recipients to be honored for his contributions to a variety of causes, including arts and culture, the environment, cancer research, and technology.
“I view this award more as a call to action rather than an acknowledgment of things I’ve done,” Rubenstein said in an e-mail. “America has given me so much and I’m trying to return the favor.”
Rubenstein serves as chairman of the boards of trustees of the Kennedy Center and Duke University, a regent of the Smithsonian Institution, vice-chairman of the boards of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Brookings Institution, and president of the Economic Club of Washington. The billionaire philanthropist also serves as a director or trustee of Johns Hopkins University, the University of Chicago, the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
The medals will be awarded at a private ceremony Oct. 15 at the New York Public Library.
The other recipients include Paul G. Allen, co-founder of Microsoft; Charles F. Feeney, founder of Atlantic Philanthropies; environmental philanthropists Jeremy and Hanne Grantham; the Haas family, Pennsylvania philanthropists; Jon M. Huntsman Sr., founder of the Huntsman Cancer Institute; Irwin and Joan Jacobs, San Diego philanthropists; and Robert B. and Richard L. Menschel, brothers and New York philanthropists.
The Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy was established in 2001 and has been given every other year to families and individuals, including Eli Broad; Michael Bloomberg; the Gates, Rockefeller and Packard families; George Soros, and Agnes Gund. Starting this year, the medals will be awarded annually.
The medals are given in the same month as the Nobel prizes, said Vartan Gregorian, president of the Carnegie Corporation of New York. Every year, Americans donate more than $350 billion, Gregorian said. The winners are chosen not because they have given the most money but for their lasting contributions to society.