Left to right: Madeline Carson, Edward Carson, Russell Carson ’67, Cecily Carson, Professor Ray Horton, Judith Carson, and Professor and Dean Emeritus Meyer Feldberg.
Earlier this month, more than 250 alumni and friends gathered at the Metropolitan Club on East 60th Street to celebrate the tireless work of Russell Carson ’67, his family, and Professor Ray Horton in supporting social enterprise at Columbia Business School and throughout New York City.
At the first-ever Tamer Center for Social Enterprise Awards Breakfast on Tuesday, March 8, the Tamer Center honored the Carson family with its inaugural Horton Award.
“Please join me in thanking the Carsons for their unwavering support of and dedication to social enterprise at Columbia Business School,” said Dean Glenn Hubbard. “I’m grateful that we can recognize their hard work with the Tamer Center’s inaugural Horton Award. It is an honor that is very well deserved.”
Named after Professor Ray Horton for his establishment of social enterprise as an area of focus at the School, the award recognizes individuals who have demonstrated a passion for social or environmental causes and have used their management skills to benefit society. The Carson family — Russell Carson; his wife, Judith; his children, Cecily and Edward; and his daughter-in-law, Madeline — has been involved in philanthropy for decades, with each member sitting on multiple nonprofit boards. Through the Carson Family Charitable Trust, founded in 1990, the Carsons support a variety of organizations that aim to improve health, education, arts and culture, community development, and anti-poverty work. Cecily Carson, who is president of the family charitable trust, also contributes regularly to Columbia Business School’s social enterprise efforts by serving on the advisory board for the Tamer Center.
The breakfast raised an impressive $350,000 for the Tamer Center, which the Carsons then generously matched with another $350,000 gift.
“My family members and I are very honored to be the first recipients of the Horton Award. Ray has been a longtime friend of our family and gets credit for being the one who got us interested in the subject of social enterprise,” Russell Carson says. “Our family was taken aback by the number of people willing to turn out at 7:00 in the morning to honor us and our good friend. We decided it was only fitting that we should step up and match our friends and other supporters in enhancing the financial health of Columbia Business School’s social enterprise program.”
Carson says his family hopes the matching gift will constitute a “rainy day fund” for the Tamer Center. “Glenn Hubbard often talks about the Business School as offering an ‘education for a lifetime.’ In this spirit, we believe there is nothing more important than having the School’s graduates develop a working knowledge of the nonprofit sector and begin to recognize their own responsibility to support it as their success allows.”
Professor Ray Horton praised the Carsons for their “huge impact” on social enterprise at Columbia Business School to date. “Their financial support let us initiate new programs and expand existing programs that paved many ways for Columbia Business School students to serve in the nonprofit sector, particularly in the Carsons’ beloved New York City,” he says. “But beyond money, they introduced us to many individuals and organizations who continue to play important roles in our social enterprise network.”
The breakfast was chaired by Paul Guenther ’64, Bill Lambert ’72, and Tony and Sandra Tamer, and featured remarks by Professors Bruce Usher and Damon Phillips, who serve as co-directors of the Tamer Center, as well as from Professor and Dean Emeritus Meyer Feldberg ’65.
“This event is evidence that the momentum and energy behind the Tamer Center for Social Enterprise continues to build and grow in significance in the New York area,” says attendee Antoinette O’Connell ’11. “At Columbia, I traveled to Haiti with the Pangea Advisors program. I continue to be an alumni circle member of the Tamer Center for Social Enterprise and am very excited about the Tamer family’s support for social enterprise at the School.”
Kaley de Nicola ’17, who attended the breakfast as a guest of Russell Carson’s firm, Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe, added that her exposure to the Carsons through the Tamer Center’s Nonprofit Board Leadership Program — in which the family is actively involved — has fueled her interest in social enterprise. “For my NBLP project I was paired with one of the many boards that Russ Carson sits on — the Partnership for Inner-City Education. It has been a great experience, and the nonprofit is doing amazing things in the city.”
“Social enterprise at Columbia Business School has grown from nothing to a lot in many different respects,” Professor Horton adds, “but most importantly in the opportunities it gives Columbia Business School students to make the world a better place.”