[Read on Carnegie.org]

Philanthropic foundation established by Scottish immigrant Andrew Carnegie invites Americans to join in tribute to naturalized citizens

Carnegie Corporation of New York released its annual list of Great Immigrants on June 27 in a salute to 38 naturalized citizens who strengthen America’s economy, enrich our culture and communities, and invigorate our democracy through their lives, their work, and their examples. The philanthropic foundation, its board of trustees and staff, invite Americans to help celebrate these distinguished individuals by participating in its online tribute titled “Great Immigrants, Great Americans.”

Every Fourth of July since 2006, the philanthropic foundation has sponsored the public awareness initiative to commemorate the legacy of its founder, Scottish immigrant Andrew Carnegie, who believed strongly in both immigration and citizenship. Today the Great Immigrants tribute is an archive of accomplishment featuring nearly 600 exemplary naturalized U.S. citizens. For 2019, the honorees represent 35 countries of origin, a range of personal immigration experiences, and high-level leadership in diverse fields, all united through their shared experience of becoming Americans.

Among the honorees is Aspect Ventures’ co-founder Theresia Gouw:

As America’s leading female venture capitalist, Theresia Gouw believes that investment fuels the American dream of opportunity and growth. Gouw’s own life story is an illustration of that possibility. Her family fled Indonesia when she was three to escape the persecution of the country’s ethnic Chinese minority under the Suharto dictatorship. A dentist and a nurse in Jakarta, her parents settled outside Buffalo, New York, working as a dishwasher and a waitress before her father re-earned his dental certification in the United States. Named one of Forbes’ “100 Most Powerful Women” and Time’s “40 Most Influential Minds in Tech,” Gouw became the first female partner at the venture capital firm Accel, an early investor in Facebook. At Accel she worked on initial public offerings and acquisitions of firms including Imperva, LearnVest, and Trulia. In 2014 she cofounded the Silicon Valley–based Aspect Ventures, where she has led the firm’s investments in Cato Networks, Crew, Deserve, Exabeam, The Muse, PredictHQ, and Shieldx. Gouw is an active supporter of her alma mater, Brown University, where she serves as treasurer of the corporation board, and of Donorschoose.org, where she serves as vice chair of the board. She is particularly committed to improving diversity in STEM fields, especially among underserved female groups, and is a founding member of All Raise, a nonprofit working to increase the number of female and minority founders and funders of technology-driven companies. Gouw takes a hands-on approach to her giving, supporting organizations that are open to true partnerships. As she explained to the Chronicle of Philanthropy, “I have to add more value beyond just the dollars, and it has to be with a group that wants that.… I have to believe that I can be helpful and not just write checks.”

“As we celebrate these 38 extraordinary individuals, we are reminded of the legacy of our founder, Andrew Carnegie, who showed the country how immigrants contribute to the great, unfinished story that is America,” said Vartan Gregorian, president of Carnegie Corporation of New York. “We are also reminded of Carnegie’s observation that immigrants who become citizens are the most patriotic Americans because their citizenship is earned, not bestowed upon them. History teaches us that each new generation of immigrants strengthens the vibrant diversity of our nation and its democracy, and continuously renews the American dream.”

Andrew Carnegie was a staunch supporter of immigrant integration, and today the Corporation provides grant support for the work of the New Americans Campaign, a nationwide network of nonprofit organizations dedicated to helping legal permanent residents apply for citizenship under the direction of the Immigrant Legal Resource Center.

The honorees will be recognized with a full-page public service announcement in the New York Times on the Fourth of July. For the first two weeks of July, the Corporation will also celebrate their stories and contributions through a social media initiative on FacebookLinkedIn, and Twitter @CarnegieCorp using the hashtags #GreatImmigrants and #ImmigrantStories. As part of the campaign, the Corporation will invite the public to share their own immigrant stories, whether recent or in the distant past, to connect the experiences of the honorees with the wider contributions of immigrants who have shaped the nation’s trajectory.

About Carnegie Corporation of New York
Carnegie Corporation of New York was established in 1911 by Andrew Carnegie to promote the advancement and diffusion of knowledge and understanding. In keeping with this mandate, the Corporation’s work focuses on the issues that Andrew Carnegie considered of paramount importance: international peace, education and knowledge, and the strength of our democracy.