William Polk Carey, a philanthropist with deep Baltimore roots who gave heavily to Johns Hopkins University, the University of Maryland and Gilman School, among other Baltimore institutions, died yesterday afternoon of natural causes at Good Samaritan Medical Center in West Palm Beach, Florida. He was surrounded by family and friends, who had traveled to be with him. He was 81 years old.
Mr. Carey founded W. P. Carey & Co. LLC, a company that manages a global investment portfolio of approximately $11.8 billion in real estate assets. According to public filings and the current value of the stock, his holdings in the company approach $500 million. The W.P. Carey Foundation, which Mr. Carey established in 1988, will be the primary beneficiary of Mr. Carey’s estate, the foundation announced.
In addition to Gilman School, where he was an alumnus, Carey made gifts to Boys Latin, Bryn Mawr School, the Baltimore School for the Arts and Calvert School. Carey’s grandmother, Anne Galbraith Carey, founded Gilman in 1897.
“We are very saddened to learn of the passing of Bill Carey. Bill and the Carey Family have been inextricably linked with Gilman since our founding by his grandmother, Anne Galbraith Carey,” said John Schmick, Gilman headmaster. “Bill has always been there to support the school in so many different ways – through his generous philanthropic commitment, his outstanding business sense, his constant push for excellence in all facets of the school, and his care and commitment to Gilman students worldwide. We will greatly miss Bill Carey, as will so many educational institutions and the city of Baltimore. We have lost a wonderful and generous friend,” he added.
In 2006, Carey gave a $50 million donation to Johns Hopkins to establish its business school, Johns Hopkins Carey Business School. (The business school has a video tribute to Carey on its website.) Just nine months ago, Carey announced his donation of $30 million to The University of Maryland School of Law. The school is now named after Carey’s grandfather, Francis King Carey, who was a graduate of the law school (Class of 1880).
In 1988, Mr. Carey established the W. P. Carey Foundation, which supports education. His brother, Francis J. Carey, who is a member of the board of trustees of the W.P. Carey Foundation, said, “Bill was not only an insightful businessman but a wonderful brother and a good citizen. He always felt grateful that he was raised in a family committed to public service — and he worked passionately to uphold that tradition.” Mr. Carey was a direct descendent of President James K. Polk.