Commonwealth Fund

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"The Commonwealth Fund has its origins in the philanthropic efforts of the Harkness family. Stephen V. Harkness began his career in New York State's Finger Lake region at age 15 as an apprentice harnessmaker. Harkness eventually settled in Ohio and became a successful businessman. He invested early in the petroleum refining business and provided funds at a critical moment in the history of the fledgling Standard Oil Company.

"Anna Harkness, like her husband Stephen, had a strong civic spirit and believed in encouraging all forms of self-help. In the years following her husband's death in 1888, she moved her family to New York City where she gave liberally to religious and welfare organizations, and to the city's major cultural institutions. And yet she felt keenly the shortcomings of such unstructured personal giving.

"In 1918, Anna Harkness founded The Commonwealth Fund with the mandate that it should "do something for the welfare of mankind." [1]


Accessed November 2011: [2]



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  1. History, Commonwealth Fund, accessed November 7, 2011.
  2. Board, Commonwealth Fund, accessed November 7, 2011.