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The Philanthropic Journey of Cordelia Scaife May

 Cordelia Scaife May, born into the prominent Mellon family, certainly knew
the power of wealth, but she chose a path less trodden. Drawing from her
fortune, she channeled resources into causes she held dear, creating an
enduring impact through her philanthropy. 

Born in 1928, Cordelia Scaife May spent her life dedicated to the betterment of society. Her
philanthropic ventures were vast, touching upon environmental conservation,
population control, and women’s empowerment. Her commitment to these causes is
evident in the legacy of the Laurel Foundation,
established in her early twenties. The foundation was instrumental in
supporting the arts, education, and female advancement. The National Aviary,
the Allegheny Land Trust, and Planned Parenthood are among the many
beneficiaries of Laurel’s grants. 

Cordelia Scaife May demonstrated a deep understanding of the symbiosis between population growth
and environmental sustainability. She recognized the strain that unchecked
population expansion places on finite resources, often exacerbated by
urbanization and industrialization. Her philanthropic endeavors included
efforts to align policies with her broader conservation goals, emphasizing
sustainable immigration and population management. 

In 1996, Cordelia Scaife May’s philanthropic vision came to fruition with the establishment of
the Colcom Foundation. The foundation, fueled by her substantial endowment,
emerged as a platform addressing key issues on sustainability and environmental
activism. Colcom Foundation became a driving force in supporting initiatives that
reflected Cordelia Scaife May’s values, marking a pivotal moment in the
landscape of charitable contributions. 

Cordelia Scaife May passed away in 2005, leaving behind a rich legacy. Her life’s work serves as a
testament to her deep commitment to sustainable coexistence between human
populations and Earth’s resources. The monumental bequest of $435 million to
Colcom Foundation, one of the largest in American history, ensured that her
mission would continue to flourish. 

The philanthropic journey of Cordelia Scaife May is a testament to the enduring power of strategic
philanthropy. Her life and work continue to inspire, demonstrating the profound
impact a single individual can make when dedicated to a cause. Visit this page for more information. 


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