Andrew W. Mellon Foundation



New York, NY, United States

Tax ID:


Tax-Exempt Status:


Budget (2015):

Revenue: $380,179,226
Expenses: $331,375,744
Assets: $6,178,207,107




$6.1 billion

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The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation is a private grantmaking foundation headquartered in New York City named for famed industrialist and Secretary of the Treasury Andrew Mellon. The Foundation was formed in 1969 as a merger of two separate foundation that had been founded by Mellon’s son and daughter respectively. 1 The foundation manages over $6 billion in assets and distributes over $300 million in grants annually, making it the 26th-largest foundation in the United States. 2


The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation was founded as the result of the merger of the Avalon Foundation, which was created in 1940 by Andrew Mellon’s daughter Ailsa Mellon Bruce, and the Old Dominion Foundation which was established in 1941 by Mellon’s son Paul.  When the two foundations were consolidated, the Avalon Foundation absorbed the Old Dominion Foundation and was renamed the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to honor the late father of the two philanthropists. At the time of the merger in 1969, the assets of the Foundation totaled $273 million and had appropriated just under $11 million combined in grants in 1968. 3


The Andrew W Mellon Foundation has four main programming areas in which it focuses the majority of its grantmaking. Most of the foundation’s grant recipients are colleges and universities, museums, libraries, and other significant cultural and academic institutions. The four program areas outlined by the foundation include higher education and scholarship in the humanities, arts and cultural heritage, scholarly communications and arts, and international higher education. Many of the programs funded by the Mellon Foundation are aligned with social liberalism. 4

In the higher education and scholarship in the humanities category, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation focuses on grants to a wide array of academic institutions, research, and student fellowships. This funding priority for the foundation includes funding for “research universities, liberal arts colleges, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Tribal Colleges and Universities, and Hispanic-Serving Institutions.” Specific programs in the higher education space include two faculty fellowships, the Mellon Mays undergraduate Fellowship and the New Directions fellowship, as well as the Sawyer Seminars, all of which fund faculty research or lectures, with special focus on minority faculty members at colleges and universities. 5

Another program area that the Mellon Foundation specializes in is arts and cultural heritage, the foundation funds museums and arts programs across the world. The work of the foundation includes support of the visual and performing arts. The foundation touts environmentalism and the social impact of museums and art programs. The foundation also operates a fellowship program for aspiring museum curators. 6

The Mellon Foundation also has a programming area centered around “scholarly communications which focuses on funding for research and databases in academic settings. The foundation funds research libraries, academic libraries, museums, and archives and focuses on giving such organizations the ability to digitize collections. The Foundation states its grants will allow for the preservation of a wide array of media formats and lead to greater access for the public. 7

Among the research projects incubated by the Mellon foundation is JSTOR, a digital archive of millions of academic works. 8


The foundation was formed as a result of a merger between foundations of the children of industrialist Andrew W. Mellon, who later served as Secretary of the Treasury for eleven years under Presidents Warren Harding, Calvin Coolidge, and Herbert Hoover, and briefly as United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom. 9

Mellon’s only two children, Alisa Mellon Bruce and Paul Mellon, used their father’s fortune to become among the nation’s most visible and well-known socialites and philanthropists. The Mellon siblings were prominently featured in Fortune magazine’s first list of wealthiest Americans with a net worth in between $400 million and $700 million in 1957 dollars each. 10

Like their father, both Mellons were tied to political figures. Alisa Mellon Bruce’s first husband served as ambassador to Argentina, and she remained active in philanthropy through the Avalon Foundation until her death in 1969. 11 Paul Mellon became well known as an owner and breeder of racehorses, marrying fellow heiress Bunny Mellon and establishing a large family compound in Upperville, Virginia. His daughter Catherine Conover was the first wife of U.S. Senator John Warner (R-VA). 12

Today, no members of the Mellon Family appear to serve on the board of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The board mostly consists of academics including Heather Gerken, the dean of Harvard Law School; Richard Broadhead, former president of Duke University; and several other current or former academics or museum curators. 13

The current chair of the board of the Mellon Foundation is Kathryn A. Hall, a prominent investment banker who runs Hall Capital Partners, which she founded. Hall is also a former board chair of Princeton University and sits on the board of the environmentalist groups NextGen Climate Action and NextGen Climate America. 14


Since 2010, the foundation has awarded nearly 5,000 grants totaling $2.65 billion according to its online grant database. 15


  1. “History”. Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Accessed February 15, 2020.
  2. “Foundation Stats”. Foundation Center. Accessed February 15, 2020.
  3. “WHERE THE FOUNDATION SPENDS ITS MONEY” New York Times. January 25, 1987. Accessed February 15, 2020.
  4. “Programs”. Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Accessed February 15, 2020.
  5. “Arts and Cultural Heritage”. Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Accessed February 15, 2020.
  6. “Arts and Cultural Heritage”. Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Accessed February 15, 2020.
  7. “Programs”. Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Accessed February 15, 2020.
  8. “JSTOR: ANDREW W. MELLON FOUNDATION, 1992 .” Philanthropy Central, 2007.
  9. “Foundations Merge to Become Mellon”. New York Times. June 30, 1969. Accessed February 21, 2020.
  10. Gordon, Meryl. “Bunny Mellon: The Life of an American Style Legend”. Grand Central Publishing. Sep 26, 2017.–eM3OPnAhWOiOAKHVv7DFIQ6AEwFnoECBAQAQ#v=onepage&q=paul%20mellon%201957%20fortune&f=false
  11. “ Mrs. Ailsa Mellon Bruce Dead;. Called Richest Woman in U. S”. New York Times. August 26, 1969. Accessed February 15, 2020.
  12. “Obituary: Paul Mellon”. Independent. February 3, 1999. Accessed February 15, 2020.
  13. “Trustees”. Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Accessed February 15, 2020.
  14. “KATHRYN A. HALL ’80”. She Roars Princeton. Accessed February 15, 2020.
  15. “Grants Database”. Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Accessed February 15, 2020.
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: September 1, 1956

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2015 Dec Form PF $380,179,226 $331,375,744 $6,178,207,107 $316,926,819 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2014 Dec Form PF $438,060,519 $291,991,129 $6,427,525,490 $370,707,945 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2013 Dec Form PF $568,858,344 $293,893,892 $6,188,228,476 $345,817,121 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2012 Dec Form PF $331,966,225 $310,676,799 $5,556,152,571 $377,892,329 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2011 Dec Form PF $343,489,244 $294,501,262 $5,262,632,426 $373,537,052 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

    140 E 62ND ST
    New York, NY 10065-8124
    United States