Dallas Philanthropist Lyda Hill Is One of Five Winners of the Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy

Dallas' Lyda Hill has been named one of five recipients of the 2022 Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy. She shares the philanthropic spotlight with four other "forces for positive change," including country music legend Dolly Parton.

An early donor of the research that led to the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, Hill believes that "science is the answer"—and has chosen to donate the entirety of her estate to philanthropy and scientific research. 

Dallas philanthropist Lyda Hill is among five distinguished recipients of the 2022 Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy announced this week. The international family of Carnegie institutions is recognizing the honorees’ contributions toward addressing the challenges facing the world.

Joining Hill as honorees are country music legend Dolly Parton, Manu Chandaria of Kenya, and Lynn Schusterman and Stacy Schusterman. The World Central Kitchen was honored with a special Carnegie Catalyst Award for being “exceptionally effective in catalyzing people’s desire to help one another during times of crisis.”

A common goal: a determination to have impact and create positive change

[Image: Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy]

“The 2022 Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy honorees have a wide range of important priorities, yet they share a common goal through their determination to have impact and create positive change,” said Governor Thomas H. Kean, chairman of Carnegie Corporation of New York’s board of trustees and former governor of New Jersey, in a statement.

The medal—one of the most prestigious honors in philanthropy—aims to inspire a culture of giving by honoring innovative philanthropists and elevating the importance and relevance of philanthropic contributions to our world.

“Motivating the next generation of women philanthropists”

The 2022 winners of the Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy. [Image: Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy]

Four of the five honorees in this year’s class are women.  

“Lyda Hill, Dolly Parton, Lynn Schusterman, and Stacy Schusterman are leading the way in motivating the next generation of women philanthropists,” said Sarah Davidson, chief executive of Carnegie UK and a member of the medal selection committee.

Hill has been leading the way in doing that for years. She was recognized by the Carnegie Medal for supporting women in STEM fields and inspiring girls to be interested in STEM careers, in addition to being recognized for investments in the life sciences, including cancer and mental health research and treatment; conservation; and empowering community-based nonprofits to maximize impact, the organization said. 

Lyda Hill: “Science is the answer”

Lyda HIll visting her namesake ’60 STEAM Institute at the Hockaday School. [Image: Grant Miller Photography]

Lyda Hill Philanthropies was an early donor to the research that led to the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.

“I invested before it was anything,” Hill told the Associated Press. “One of the things that Warren Buffett said that stuck with me was, ‘Don’t do what other people can do and will do. Do what other people can’t do and won’t do. And take risks.’ I have had to apply that to my philanthropic investments.”

Hill believes that “science is the answer” to many of life’s most challenging issues, and as a result, she has chosen to donate the entirety of her estate to philanthropy and scientific research

Advancing life and supporting social impact

Lyda Hill touring construction at the Pegasus Park campus in 2021. [Image: Grant Miller Photography]

Hill’s work to advance the region’s flourishing life science ecosystem includes the development of Pegasus Park, which partners with Lyda Hill Philanthropies, area businesses, and higher ed institutions to boost North Texas biotech innovation. The campus includes a social impact hub called The Water Cooler that’s become a community of impact, nonprofit, and philanthropic organizations. It offers flexible office space to these sectors for collaboration and problem solving. 

Hill also is noted for joining The Giving Pledge, a promise by the world’s wealthiest individuals and families to dedicate most of their wealth to charitable causes. It was initiated by Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett.

In 2015, Hill was the 18th recipient of the J. Erik Jonsson Ethics Award, given by Southern Methodist University’s McGuire Center. The award honors individuals who “personify the spirit of moral leadership and public virtue.”

In 2019, her work with the Garden of the Gods was recognized when she received the Land Trust’s Stuart P. Dodge Award, honoring a lifetime commitment to conservation.

Forging the future in a path set by Carnegie

Hill’s commitment to philanthropy epitomizes the goals of the medal’s namesake, Andrew Carnegie.

“Andrew Carnegie sought to do what he called ‘real and permanent good in this world’ through his giving, and today, we acknowledge the 2022 Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy honorees for upholding this ideal through their philanthropy,” William Thomson, honorary chair of the medal selection committee and Carnegie’s great-grandson, said in a statement.

Carnegie was “completely devoted to his ‘duty of administering surplus wealth for the good of the people’ while inspiring others to do the same,” for most of his life, Thompson said. “This virtuous cycle is the true meaning of the Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy.”

Global giving stands at $485 billion a year

At a time when global giving stands at some $485 billion annually, the 2022 honorees have led by example, the organization said.

“The medal seeks to honor their vision and generosity and to encourage others to join them in making the world a better place for all,” the announcement said.

The honorees have had a “significant and lasting impact on many of today’s most pressing issues through their support of medical research in cancer and pediatric care; the advancement of women in STEM fields; the reduction of racial, gender, and economic inequities; the furtherance of early childhood literacy and K–12 education; and the improvement of the quality of life in African countries.”

Established in 2001, the Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy has been awarded for more than two decades by the family of Carnegie institutions—more than 20 organizations in the U.S. and Europe founded by the philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. To date, more than 65 philanthropists have been honored with the medal.

Other 2022 honorees

Joining Hill are these other 2022 honorees:

Dolly Parton
The Dollywood Foundation | U.S.

For alleviating poverty, strengthening early childhood education through the distribution of free books worldwide, increasing college access, and advancing medical research, including on pediatric infectious diseases and the development of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Manu Chandaria
The Chandaria Foundation | Kenya

For advancing opportunity and addressing critical needs in Africa through investments in healthcare infrastructure, secondary and higher education, poverty relief, and environmentalism.

Lynn Schusterman and Stacy Schusterman
Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies | U.S.

For advancing racial, gender, and economic equity through investments in areas such as K–12 education, democracy and voting rights, gender and reproductive equity, and criminal justice; and supporting Jewish communities and a secure, inclusive Israel.

The 2022 Carnegie Catalyst Award Honoree:
World Central Kitchen, U.S.

Founded by chef José Andrés in 2010, the organization is recognized for mobilizing volunteers to provide meals in communities affected by humanitarian and natural disasters. World Central Kitchen has served more than 150 million meals in countries around the world, and the organization continues to build one of the largest food relief organizations in Ukraine during the current conflict.

Medalists are nominated every two years by the family of Carnegie institutions. A selection committee representing seven of those institutions makes the final selection, according to the announcement.

The 2022 Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy recipients will be honored October 13 during a private ceremony in New York City. Hosted by Carnegie Corporation of New York, the event’s master of ceremonies will be Judy Woodruff, anchor and managing editor of the PBS NewsHour.

Quincy Preston contributed to this report.

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