Seahawks chairman Paul Allen has been named one of the recipients of the 2015 Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy, it was announced today.
Established in 2001, the award is given every two years to individuals who, like Andrew Carnegie, have dedicated their private wealth to public good and who have impressive careers as philanthropists.
Allen, the Seattle-area native who co-founded Microsoft 40 years ago, has exceeded $2 billion in philanthropic giving, working to save endangered species, improve ocean health, tackle contagious diseases, research the human brain, and build sustainable communities.
Here's an excerpt on Allen's achievements from carnegiemedals.com:
As the idea man and original technologist behind Microsoft, Mr. Allen pioneered the PC software industry in the late 1970s and early 1980s – a development that ultimately enabled billions of people to use computers and unlocked incalculable human and economic potential. In the years since, Mr. Allen has used his wealth to tackle a wide range of challenges, and to expand the horizons of human possibility.
For example, since 2003, Mr. Allen has invested more than $350 million in brain research, primarily through the Allen Institute for Brain Science. The Allen Institute is developing a detailed, digital atlas of the human brain and spinal cord. These growing public resources will dramatically accelerate advances in neuroscience and could ultimately lead to revolutionary treatments for traumatic brain injuries, dementia, paralysis and other problems.
Mr. Allen also founded the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence to explore critical questions in AI. And in 2014, he founded the Allen Institute for Cell Science and its inaugural project, the Allen Cell Observatory, which will accelerate disease research by creating predictive cell models.
As he explores new frontiers in science, Mr. Allen is also pushing to explore planetary boundaries. For example, Mr. Allen funded SpaceShipOne, the first private spacecraft to carry a civilian into suborbital space and safely home again, an historic triumph that in 2004 captured the Ansari X-Prize. More recently, Mr. Allen formed Vulcan Aerospace to collaborate across space travel investments and oversee the Stratolaunch System, an orbital launch model that will dramatically change the economics of space launches.
Equally committed to earthly challenges, Mr. Allen gave $100 million to fight the West African Ebola epidemic. Announced in 2014, his gift was the largest private donation in the world focused entirely on this deadly plague, and served as a catalyst to spur greater involvement from governments and other donors around the world.
Along with Allen, recipients of this year's Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy include Charles F. Feeney, Jeremy and Hanne Grantham, The Haas family, Joan and Irwin Jacobs, Jon M. Huntsman, Sr., Robert B. Menschel and Richard L. Menschel, as well as David M. Rubenstein. The official awards ceremony will be held at the New York Public Library on Oct. 15.