The Carson Family Charitable Trust: New York City Grants

OVERVIEW: The Carson Family Charitable Trust prioritizes education reform, hospitals, arts and culture, community development, and New York philanthropic organizations. The Carson family serves on many New York area boards.

IP TAKE: The foundation had $61.7 million in assets at the end of 2015 with an average grant size of around $100,000. The foundation does not have a website, however, and provides no clear guidelines for grantseekers.

FUNDING AREAS: Education, Health, Arts & Culture, Community Development

PROFILE: The Carson Family Charitable Trust was founded in 1990 and Carson, his wife Judy, and children serve as trustees. Russell Carson has been involved in philanthropy for decades. Carson attended public high school in Toledo, Ohio before going to Dartmouth College and then Columbia Business School. The Carsons' daughter Cecily is particularly active in civic life, and serves on such boards as the Robin Hood Foundation. Carson is the chair of the board of trustees of Rockefeller University, and on the board of overseers of Columbia Business School. Tax filings indicate that Carson invests in education, health, arts and culture, and community development.

Past education grantees include Dartmouth College in New Hampshire and Rockefeller University in New York City. Rockefeller University received over $5 million in 2015, and gifts to the school in the last decade total at least $25 million. The Carson Foundation also supports Columbia Business School, where Carson got his M.B.A., but the giving here is more modest.

Carson prioritizes education reform. He is a cofounder of the Endowment Fund for Inner-City Education, now known as Partnership for Inner-City Education, a school management organization for a network of Catholic elementary schools in Harlem and the South Bronx. Carson believes in the charter school model and in improving Catholic schools. Around $1 million annually goes to Partnership for Inner-City Education. Support also goes to KIPP New York, Teach for America, Achievement First, a network of public charter schools in New York and other northeast states, and Friends of Bronx Charter School, among others.

The Carson Foundation also supports health organizations in New York City. Past health grantees include the New York Stem Cell Foundation, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, the New York Genome Center, among others. A component of Carson's philanthropy also involves rehabilitation, though a lot of this work isn't just focused on New York City.

The foundation also funds New York arts and culture, including the Philharmonic-Symphony Society, the Met, the Museum of Art and Design, New York Public Library, and the American Museum of Natural History.

In addition, Carson is  a strong supporter of the Robin Hood Foundation in New York. Carson granted it over $2 million in 2015. Other work in this area includes helping children and youth, with support going to the Harlem Children's Zone and to the Red Hook Initiative in Brooklyn, which runs education and health programs for youth. Carson is right of center politically and gives to conservative policy organizations such as the Manhattan Institute in New York and the American Enterprise Institute in Washington D.C.

Unfortunately, the Carson Family Charitable Trust does not maintain a website or list guidelines for how grantseekers may get in touch.


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The Carson Family Charitable Trust
114 W. 47th Street
New York, NY 10036