Saturday, November 7, 2015

Andrew Carnegie On Why the Downtown Greensboro Performing Arts Center Will Ultimatly Fail

As explained by  Scottish-American businessman and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie in his Carnegie formula as was used to build a total of 2,509 Carnegie libraries built between 1883 and 1929 including 2 in Greensboro, one on the corner of West Market and Eugene and the other in a building still standing on the campus of Bennett College.

While reading the Carnegie formula below simply substitute performing arts center every time you see the word library and you will see how TPAC is destined to fail.

"Nearly all of Carnegie's libraries were built according to "the Carnegie Formula," which required financial commitments from the town that received the donation. Carnegie required public support rather than making endowments because "an endowed institution is liable to become the prey of a clique. The public ceases to take interest in it, or, rather, never acquires interest in it. The rule has been violated which requires the recipients to help themselves. Everything has been done for the community instead of its being only helped to help itself."[14]
Carnegie required the elected officials-the local government-to:
  • demonstrate the need for a public library;
  • provide the building site;
  • pay to staff and maintain the library;
  • draw from public funds to run the library-not use only private donations;
  • annually provide ten percent of the cost of the library's construction to support its operation; and,
  • provide free service to all.
Carnegie assigned the decisions to his assistant James Bertram. He created a "Schedule of Questions." The schedule included: Name, status and population of town, Does it have a library? Where is it located and is it public or private? How many books? Is a town-owned site available? Estimation of the community's population was done on the honor system, and Bertram later commented if the population counts he received were truly accurate, "the nation's population had mysteriously doubled".[15]

One of the requirements was the willingness of people and government to raise taxes to support the library. Money was not given all at once but disbursed gradually as the project went on. Records were kept on a "Daily Register of Donations." The 1908 Daily register of donations, for example, has 10–20 entries each day.[citation needed] Every day that year, money was disbursed for libraries and church organs in the US and Britain.

The amount of money donated to most communities was based on U.S. Census figures and averaged approximately $2 per person.[citation needed] Many communities were eager for the chance to build public institutions. James Bertram, Carnegie's personal secretary who ran the program, was never without requests.

The impact of Carnegie's library philanthropy was maximized by his timing. His offers came at a peak of town development and library expansion in the US.[citation needed] By 1890, many states had begun to take an active role in organizing public libraries, and the new buildings filled a tremendous need. Interest in libraries was also heightened at a crucial time in their early development by Carnegie's high profile and his genuine belief in their importance.[16]

In Canada in 1901 Carnegie offered more than $2.5 million to build 125 libraries. Most cities at first turned him down—then relented and took the money."

As seen, Greensboro's leaders have violated nearly every rule of the successful Carnegie formula which built Greensboro's first 2 public libraries at a time when the economy of these united states was the best it has ever been and our city was growing its fastest ever.