The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

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THE ANDREW W. MELLON FOUNDATION. Affirmative Scholarship.

Ailsa Mellon Bruce and Paul Mellon created the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to honor their father Andrew, an American banker, businessman, industrialist, philanthropist, art collector, and politician. As a conservative Republican under Presidents Harding and Coolidge, Mellon was Secretary of the Treasury from 1921-1932, lowering taxes and spending, “presiding over the boom years of the 1920s and the Wall Street crash of 1929.” He was an advocate of racial equality.

The Mellon Foundation by 2016 had a total endowment of $6.2 billion and annual giving of $298 million. The Mellon Foundation is committed to strengthening the humanities, the arts, and higher education, cultural heritage. It supports humanistic scholarship, liberal arts and doctoral education, and the performing and visual arts. 

Foundation President, Earl Lewis (2013–2017), earned an undergraduate degree in history and psychology from Concordia College and a PhD in history from the University of Minnesota. Lewis is the author and co-editor of seven books, including The African American Urban Experience: Defending Diversity: Affirmative Action. Lewis has been a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences since 2008. Lewis came to Mellon after serving eight years as Provost and as a Professor of History and African American Studies at Emory University. In 2018, at the completion of his five-year term at Mellon will launch, The Center for Social Solutions, focusing on race and diversity; water; and the future of work

Foundation assists select colleges, universities, and research institutes in training scholars and producing scholarship in the humanities. The Diversity program seeks to help diversify the next generation of college and university faculty through the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship (MMUF) and other pipeline programs; it also aims to strengthen institutions that improve educational attainment of historically underrepresented groups. The Foundation's promising experience in South Africa justifies targeted extension of that program's work to other countries or regions where the Foundation's commitment to the humanities, the arts, and higher education could contribute to stabilizing fragile democracies, and create favorable conditions for their participation in global networks of research and culture.

Open Secrets shows Earl Lewis, while at Emory University contributing $2,500 to Barak Obama in 2012.

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