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Dick Scaife's philanthropy made region, country a better place

Remembering Richard Scaife “It is nearly impossible to overestimate the lasting impact that Richard Scaife has had on the American political landscape.

Since his youth, he has been a champion of policies at home and abroad that promote U.S. national security and freedom worldwide. His activism and incredibly generous philanthropic support has been instrumental in supporting the intellectual underpinnings of modern conservatism.

His support did more, however, than just allow intellectual debates to thrive in Washington. It helped translate ideas into policies that profoundly shaped the world. Recalling the horrors of World War II, and how some 60 million perished, he always understood that, “In a dangerous world, appeasement never succeeds.”

As far back as 1963, having graduated from college just a few years before, he began supporting the American Enterprise Institute, a research institute I am proud to call home. Later, he would prove instrumental in supporting Ronald Reagan, a man who championed a foreign policy based on ‘peace through strength.'

More recently, he worked tirelessly to promote U.S. national security by supporting a robust missile defense system, both here at home and for our allies overseas, in light of the new threats that our great nation faces.

He was an intellectual beacon and one of the most generous supporters our great nation has ever known. He will be sorely missed, but we can take some comfort in knowing that his legacy will live on.”

— John R. Bolton, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations

“Rare is the patriot who can truly claim to have spent his life giving back. Rarer still is one whose contributions will endure. A free press is just one of the pillars of our republic that, thanks to you, will stand long after we are gone.

I know how easy along the way it would have been to make yourself the story. Many, of course, tried. Ever the good newspaperman, you kept your integrity, an example for us all.

I share these thoughts as an acknowledgement of the immeasurable service you have done for our country. I share them also as a grateful citizen.”

— U.S. Rep. John Boehner, speaker of the House of Representatives in a letter to Scaife on June 3

“(He) was a great patriot and a dedicated benefactor of educational institutions and policy organizations committed to Constitutional government. He believed in a free press that operated with truth and integrity.

During Ronald Reagan's presidency, he served on the U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy, which had a vital role in ... winning the Cold War.”

— Edwin Meese III, Former U.S. Attorney General

“Richard Scaife was a man who devoted his life to worthwhile causes. He was a force in all he did, contributing greatly to people and organizations across the country.

Those of his fellow citizens who continue to benefit from his broad interests join his family and friends in mourning the loss of a friend. A man with the courage of his convictions, he was always willing to stand up for a cause he believed in. He helped to build the modern conservative movement through his support of worthy causes and institutions. His most prized accomplishment was the newspaper he founded, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. In a recent editorial, he wrote that ‘newspapers are essential to America, and to any free and prospering nation.'

In this Information Age, one of 24-hour news cycles and instant gratification, Dick Scaife built an organization that will carry on his legacy by providing reliable reporting of importance to its readers. A patriot and philanthropist, he will be remembered for a long life, well lived.”

— Donald Rumsfeld, former Secretary of Defense

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By Michael W. Gleba President Sarah Scaife Foundation
Saturday, July 5, 2014, 9:47 p.m.
 

Dick Scaife will be long-remembered for his leadership in the world of philanthropy.

He focused on ideas that he believed were good for America while supporting Western Pennsylvania's quality of life through the arts, education, medical research, civic and neighborhood development, conservation, and historic preservation.

Scaife was involved in philanthropy for essentially all of his life — first witnessing his parents' creation of the Sarah Scaife Foundation in 1941 and their participation in many philanthropic efforts in the 1940s and '50s.

In the 1960s, and continuing into the early '80s, he participated in the leadership of the Scaife Family Charitable Trusts that his mother had created. In addition, he chaired his own foundations, the Allegheny Foundation (1953) and the Carthage Foundation (1964).

Eventually, he assumed leadership of the Sarah Scaife Foundation, becoming its chairman in 1973.

All the while, he often gave directly to similar efforts from his personal wealth.

Over the years, Scaife gained valuable insights about giving away money and managing foundations; some of that he learned from early reports of the Sarah Scaife Foundation.

One such report stated that foundations can be pioneers in the work of humanity but must search diligently for intelligent ways to use their money; applications for funds are plentiful, many are tempting, but the assurance of effective execution is rare. Another report cautioned against funding endowments for entire universities, hospitals or churches in the grand manner of past generations, because modern government funding would always dwarf private giving.

He believed private initiative supplied the most stimulative factor in advancing knowledge. While he did not believe in anonymous giving, he also did not believe in naming things after himself or his family.

He learned it was far too easy for foundations to drift from the values that helped create the initial wealth that funded them —traditional American values such as innovation, capitalism, and competitive enterprise. Therefore it was imperative to recruit foundation trustees and staff who shared the same values.

This led to his belief that foundation staffs and boards should be small and focused, and that too much bureaucracy was to be avoided at all costs.

Likewise, he believed it was imperative to understand the people to whom you give money, to the point of having a personal relationship with them because, in effect, what you are doing is investing in that person and their expertise. Therefore, he believed that once you got to know the people you considered supporting, and had confidence in their abilities and interests, it was best to just support them and let them get on with their work with minimal interference.

Finally, he learned that smaller gifts given annually over long periods were more effective than large, high-profile gifts given once.

But these lessons did not provide much guidance on to whom, or what, to give money.

As a fourth-generation Pennsylvanian and a lifelong student of history, Scaife had a deep appreciation for the significant contributions that Western Pennsylvania has had in the development and economic vitality of what he believed to be the most unique and generous country in the world, the United States of America.

Western Pennsylvania was always Dick Scaife's home. And he believed by concentrating a portion of his philanthropic giving to this one region, primarily through the Allegheny Foundation, a long-lasting impact could be achieved toward the greater good of the entire community.

I think that his giving record in Western Pennsylvania speaks for itself.

Dick Scaife also had a great love for the United States of America, its founding principles and American exceptionalism. At an early age he became concerned that America was losing its founding values and that the spread of competing views on how people and societies should be organized (namely Marxism, communism, socialism and, more recently, radical Islamism) were existential threats to the American form of government.

He was concerned about societal trends that limited individual freedom and opportunity, and about the expanding dependence on public subsidy, deteriorating cultural values, and substandard public and higher education.

Therefore, he directed much of his national philanthropy to individuals and institutions that promoted and conducted public policy research and education on America's founding and traditional American values — limited but effective government acting within its given powers (such as providing for the common defense, conducting national security and foreign policy, and securing the rights of individuals), separation of powers, individual rights including property rights and economic liberty, personal responsibility, laissez-faire policies, and America's role in the world (including a traditional understanding of vital U.S. interests and national security).

He believed that a return to these values in a modern context was the solution to many of the United States' challenges, and his philanthropy reflected this belief.

Again, I think that the achievements of Dick Scaife's giving at the national level speak for themselves and that the results have done much to preserve the American way of life.

I have every confidence the staff and trustees of his foundations will continue his philanthropy in ways consistent with and honoring Dick Scaife's values and beliefs.

 

 
 


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