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The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation


Last profile update: 02/08/2018
Last grant data update: 04/03/2018

At A Glance

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

140 E. 62nd St.

New York City, NY United States 10065-8124

Telephone: (212) 838-8400


Type of Grantmaker

Independent foundation

Additional Descriptor






Trust established in 1940 in DE as Avalon Foundation; incorporated in 1954 in NY; merged with Old Dominion Foundation and renamed The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in 1969 - Founded in the name of the late Andrew W. Mellon (1855-1937) by his children. His daughter Ailsa Mellon Bruce established the Avalon Foundation in 1940 and his son Paul Mellon established The Old Dominion Foundation in 1941. The two foundations consolidated, resulting in The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Mellon was a banking magnate who financed several industrial companies including Aluminum Company of America (ALCOA) and Carborundum Company. He served as Secretary of the United States Treasury from 1921 through 1932. During his life, Mellon gave away nearly $10 million. Much of it went to educational and charitable institutions in his native Pittsburgh, but his most famous gift was the money and the pictures that were used to establish the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC

Purpose and Activities

The foundation's grantmaking philosophy is to build, strengthen and sustain institutions and their core capacities, rather than be a source for narrowly defined projects. As such, it develops thoughtful, long-term collaborations with grant recipients and invests sufficient funds for an extended period to accomplish the purpose at hand and achieve meaningful results. Institutions and programs receiving support are often leaders in fields of foundation activity, but they may also be promising newcomers, or in a position to demonstrate new ways of overcoming obstacles to achieve program goals. The foundation concentrates most of its grantmaking in a few areas: higher education, art history, conservation, museums, performing arts, scholarly communications and information technology. .