Rockefeller Brothers Fund

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Inc.
Formation28 December 1940; 82 years ago (28 December 1940)
FoundersJohn, Nelson, Laurance, Winthrop and David Rockefeller
Legal status501(c)(3) organization
HeadquartersNew York, New York
Key people
Stephen B. Heintz
Endowment$1.27 billion (2020)[1]

The Rockefeller Brothers Fund (RBF) is a philanthropic foundation created and run by members of the Rockefeller family. It was founded in New York City in 1940 as the primary philanthropic vehicle for the five third-generation Rockefeller brothers: John, Nelson, Laurance, Winthrop and David. It is distinct from the Rockefeller Foundation. The Rockefellers are an industrial, political and banking family that made one of the world's largest fortunes in the oil business during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The Fund's stated mission is to "advance social change that contributes to a more just, sustainable, and peaceful world."[2] The current president of RBF is Stephen Heintz, who was appointed to the post in 2000.[3] Valerie Rockefeller serves as RBF's chairwoman. She succeeded Richard Rockefeller, the fifth child of David Rockefeller, who served as RBF's chairman until 2013.[4]

The Rockefeller Brothers Fund is part of the Steering Group of the Foundations Platform F20, an international network of foundations and philanthropic organizations.[5]


The Rockefeller Brothers Fund was established in 1940 by the five sons of John D. Rockefeller Jr. The five Rockefeller brothers served as the Fund's first five trustees. In 1951, the Fund grew substantially when it received a $58 million endowment from John D. Rockefeller Jr.[6] In 1999, the Fund merged with the Charles E. Culpeper Foundation.[6]

In November 2006, David Rockefeller pledged $225 million to the Fund that would create the David Rockefeller Global Development Fund after his death.[7]

In September 2014, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund announced that it planned to divest its assets from fossil fuels.[8] On disinvesting from fossil fuels, the president of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Stephen Heintz, said: "We see this as both a moral imperative and an economic opportunity" (30 September 2014).[9]

The Rockefeller Family Fund and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund are independent, distinct institutions.[10]

Special Studies Project[edit]

Nelson Rockefeller, 1954

From 1956 to 1960, the Fund financed a study conceived by its then president, Nelson Rockefeller, to analyze the challenges facing the United States. Henry Kissinger was recruited to direct the project. Seven panels were constituted that looked at issues including military strategy, foreign policy, international economic strategy, governmental reorganization, and the nuclear arms race.[11]

The military subpanel's report was rush-released about two months after the USSR launched Sputnik in October 1957.[12] Rockefeller urged the Republican Party to adopt the finding of the Special Studies Project as its platform. The findings of the project formed the framework of Nelson Rockefeller's 1960 presidential election platform.[13] The project was 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.[14]


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.


  1. ^ "Endowment Summary". Rockefeller Brothers Fund. Retrieved 11 November 2020.
  2. ^ "About The Fund". Rockefeller Brothers Fund. Retrieved 3 December 2015.
  3. ^ Nauffts, Mitch (5 November 2000). "Stephen B. Heintz: A Conversation With the President of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund". Philanthropy News Digest. Retrieved 3 December 2015.
  4. ^ "New Leadership at the Fund". 29 July 2013. Retrieved 24 October 2017.
  5. ^ "F20 – For a transformation that leaves no one behind – F20 – For a transformation that leaves no one behind". Retrieved 11 November 2020.
  6. ^ a b Ciger, Joseph Charles (2008). Philanthropists and Foundation Globalization. Transaction Publishers. p. 101. ISBN 9781412806732.
  7. ^ "David Rockefeller Pledges $225 Million to Family Fund (Update1)". Retrieved 2 October 2015.
  8. ^ Iyengar, Rishi (22 September 2014). "The Rockefellers Are Pulling Their Charity Fund Out of Fossil Fuels". Time. Retrieved 3 December 2015.
  9. ^ Cited in Tim Flannery, Atmosphere of Hope. Solutions to the Climate Crisis, Penguin Books, 2015, pages 117 (ISBN 9780141981048). Opening quote for the chapter ten entitles "Divestment and the carbon bubble".
  10. ^ Kaiser, David; Wasserman, Lee (8 December 2016). "The Rockefeller Family Fund vs. Exxon". The New York Review of Books. Retrieved 27 February 2018. Although the boards of the Rockefeller Family Fund and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund are still led by members of the family, they are independent, distinct institutions. In these articles we are speaking only for the Rockefeller Family Fund
  11. ^ Ferguson, Niall (2015). Kissinger 1923-1968: The Idealist. Penguin. ISBN 9780698195691.
  12. ^ 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)
  13. ^ Andrew III, John (Summer 1998). "Cracks in the Consensus: The Rockefeller Brothers Fund Special Studies Project and Eisenhower's America". Presidential Studies Quarterly. 28 (3): 535–552. JSTOR 27551900.
  14. ^ "Rockefeller Archive Center". Archived from the original on 14 September 2018. Retrieved 12 May 2011.

External links[edit]