Rockefeller Brothers Fund

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The Rockefeller Brothers Fund (RBF), (Philanthropy for an Interdependent World), is an international philanthropic organisation created and run by members of the Rockefeller family. It was set up in New York City in 1940 as the primary philanthropic vehicle of the five famous Rockefeller brothers: John D. Rockefeller, III, Nelson, Laurance, Winthrop and David, and is distinct from the Rockefeller Foundation, which is more independent from family control.

Its headquarters are located at 475 Riverside Drive, New York, which is also the location of the family's fourth-generation philanthropic institution, the Rockefeller Family Fund.

The current president of the Fund is Stephen B. Heintz and its chairman is Richard Rockefeller, the fifth child of David Rockefeller.

Founding[edit]

John D. Rockefeller, Jr. made a substantial gift to the Fund in 1951, and in 1960 the Fund received a major bequest from his estate. Together, these constitute the original endowment of the Fund. Initially, the five brothers contributed funds via their income from the various family trusts. Beginning in 1952, the brothers began to include on the board of the Fund trustees who were not members of the Rockefeller family. In 1954 they included their sister Abby Rockefeller Mauzé, who had not been involved in its founding. In 1958, the first of a number of daughters and sons of the founders joined, and the first of their children became trustees in 1992. Since the establishment of the Fund, three generations of family members have served as trustees.

Mission and programs[edit]

The Fund manages three major programs: Democratic Practice, Sustainable Development, and Peace and Security. Its three principal operational locations, or pivotal places, are New York City, Western Balkans, and Southern China. It also acts as an incubator for in-house projects that later evolve into free-standing institutions - a case in point being The Climate Group, launched in London in 2004.

Its central mission is to promote social change that contributes to a more just, sustainable, and peaceful world; through its grantmaking, the Fund supports efforts to expand knowledge and shape public policy; and its programs are intended to develop leaders, engage citizens and strengthen institutions through durable social partnerships. A major affiliate foundation is the Asian Cultural Council (an offshoot of the JDR III Fund), formed by John D., III in 1963, which supports cultural exchange in the arts between America and Asia; as well as providing fellowship grants to primarily Asians artists, scholars and students.

From 1992 to 2009, the Fund also awarded the Rockefeller Brothers Fund Fellowship for Aspiring Teachers of Color to about 25 students annually from a nationwide pool of 27 participating colleges and universities. These fellowships are awarded annually to outstanding minority undergraduate students in the arts and sciences wishing to pursue graduate degrees in education and to teach in American public elementary or secondary schools.

In April 1957, the trustees of the Fund established the Ramon Magsaysay Award - named after the former Philippines President - with the concurrence of the then Philippine government. A nonprofit Foundation was set up to administer the awards, the RMAF, and seven prominent Filipinos were elected to the inaugural board of trustees (it now has nine). Awards are issued in six categories to all Asians for achieving distinction in their policy area and for selfless public service. The Ford Foundation supported this Award programme with a grant to establish the most recent award, Emergent Leadership, in 2000.

On July 1, 1999, the Charles E. Culpeper Foundation of Stamford, Connecticut, merged with the RBF, substantially increasing its assets, which amount to $821.8 million, as of August 2006.

The assets were further bolstered in November 2006 by a bequest of $225 million from David Rockefeller, upon his death, to create the David Rockefeller Global Development Fund, which will complement the foundation’s work in the areas of sustainable development, poverty eradication and international trade and finance, and to a program that fosters dialogue between Muslim and Western nations. Additional money will also be given for the fund's upcoming projects, one of which is a global-warming summit in New York in the spring of 2007 that will bring together the mayors of cities around the world to discuss ways of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.[1][2]

Current assets[edit]

As of the end of 2009, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund had assets of $729 million.[3]

Special Studies Project[edit]

From 1956 to 1960 the Fund financed an ambitious study conceived by its then president, Nelson Rockefeller, to 'define the major problems and opportunities facing the U.S. and clarify national purposes and objectives, and to develop principles which could serve as the basis of future national policy'.

Nelson recruited Henry Kissinger, who was then on the faculty of Harvard University, as director of the project; he had first met Kissinger in 1955. He also brought on board such luminaries as Edward Teller, Charles Percy, Dean Rusk, John Gardner (president of the Carnegie Corporation) and Henry Luce, along with his brothers Laurance and John D. III. Seven panels were constituted that looked at sweeping issues ranging from military/security strategy to foreign policy, to international economic strategy and defense department and governmental reorganization.

The military subpanel's report was rush-released much earlier than the others, about two months after the USSR launched Sputnik, in October 1957. It was given prominent treatment on the front page of The New York Times, selling thousands of copies and garnering unprecedented influence. Many of its major recommendations - principal among them a massive arms buildup to counter perceived Soviet military superiority - were adopted by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in his State of the Union address in January 1958.[4]

The project was finally published in its entirety in 1961 as Prospect for America: The Rockefeller Panel Reports. The archival study papers are stored in the Rockefeller Archive Center at the family estate; portions of the papers are still restricted, over four decades after the report was published.[5]

The Pocantico Conference Center[edit]

The Conference Center of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund is located at the "Coach Barn" in the heart of the Rockefeller estate in Westchester County, north of New York City (see Kykuit). The Center was created when the Fund leased the area from the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 1991.

Since its opening in 1994, the Center has hosted 482 meetings with 13,223 attendees, on subjects directly related to the RBF's program objectives, including dialogues held by outside organizations.

Some recent (2005) Conference subjects have included:

(See External Links for a full list of the 2005 Conferences.)

Notable historical grantees[edit]

The list is from the Rockefeller Archive Center (RAC) which is restricted to past grantees from over twenty years ago and not extending beyond 1986, with most information on grants only up to the early 1980s. Some of the grantees below may also be current recipients - see the RBF website for the latest list, in 2005.[6]

Presidents[edit]

Trustees[edit]

The list of current RBF trustees can be found here.

Further reading[edit]

  • Harr, John Ensor, and Peter J. Johnson, The Rockefeller Century: Three Generations of America's Greatest Family, New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1988.
  • Nielsen, Waldemar, The Big Foundations, New York: Cambridge University Press, 1973.
  • Rockefeller, David, Memoirs, New York: Random House, 2002.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ [1] Bloomberg.com
  2. ^ [2] New York Times.com
  3. ^ [3] 2009 Form 990-PF at www.rbf.org
  4. ^ Rushed release of military subpanel's report - see Cary Reich, The Life of Nelson A. Rockefeller: Worlds to Conquer, 1908-1958, New York: Doubleday, 1996. (pp.650-667)
  5. ^ Rockefeller Archive Center
  6. ^ Rockefeller Brothers Fund - 2005 Grantees
  7. ^ Rockefeller Archive Center (RAC) List of RBF Grantees

See also[edit]

External links[edit]