Background

The Rockefeller Brothers Fund (RBF) was founded in 1940 as a vehicle through which the five sons and daughters of John D. Rockefeller Jr could share a source of advice and research on charitable activities and combine some of their philanthropic activities to better effect. 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 basic endowment of the RBF. In 1952, the founders began to include non-family members on the board. In 1958, the first of a number of daughters and sons of the founders joined the board, and in 1992 the first of their grandchildren. The foundation merged with the Charles E. Culpeper Foundation in 1999.


Mission

To advance social change that contributes to a more just, sustainable, and peaceful world.

Geographic focus

US, namely New York City; and Southern China, Western Balkans

Programme areas

RBF’s grantmaking is organised around three themes: Democratic Practice, Peace and Security, Sustainable Development, and three pivotal places: New York City, Southern China, and the Western Balkans.


• Democratic Practice

• Sustainable Development

• Peace and Security

• Pivotal Place: New York City

• Pivotal Place: Southern China

• Pivotal Place: Western Balkans


Democratic Practice

Seeks to strengthen the vitality of democracy in the United States and in global governance. The programme’s core ideas—that for democracy to flourish and deliver on its promises its citizens must be engaged, empowered, and assertive, and institutions of governance must be inclusive, transparent, accountable, and responsive—provide a frame for the Fund’s Democratic Practice work in the United States and in global governance.


Peace and Security

The Peace and Security programme reflects the Fund’s longstanding recognition of the complexities and possibilities that arise from global interdependence, and its enduring commitment to helping create the conditions for lasting peace in which justice and democratic governance prevail and sustainable development paths lead to shared prosperity in societies worldwide.


Sustainable Development

Advances global stewardship that is ecologically based, economically sound, socially just, culturally appropriate, and consistent with intergenerational equity. Human activity is causing global warming, rapid loss of biodiversity, and accelerating degradation of Earth’s life support systems. With the recognition that the impact of unchecked climate change threatens all other conservation efforts, the programme focuses its grantmaking on advancing solutions to climate change.


Pivotal Place: New York City

– The Charles E. Culpeper Arts & Culture grants honor the legacy of Charles E. Culpeper by supporting the artists and arts and cultural organizations that make New York City one of the world’s most dynamic creative capitals.

– The Pocantico Center is a venue for conferences and meetings on critical issues related to the Rockefeller Brothers Fund’s mission. It also serves as a community resource and offers public access through a visitation program, lectures, and cultural events, as well as support to artists and arts organizations in the greater New York City area. The RBF’s stewardship of the Pocantico Historic Area includes overseeing the maintenance, care, conservation, and restoration of the historic buildings, gardens, and collections of decorative and fine art. Located 20 miles north of Manhattan in the Pocantico Historic Area, The Pocantico Center is managed by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund as part of its agreement with the National Trust for Historic Preservation.


Pivotal Place: Southern China

Assists efforts by the Chinese government and people to support Southern China’s rapid development and the profound challenges, including environmental degradation and growing disparities between rich and poor, urban and rural which, which if not addressed, threaten the sustainability of development in the region, the country, and the world.


Pivotal Place: Western Balkans

The Fund’s work in the Balkans, and especially in Serbia, Montenegro, and Kosovo, gives special attention to democratic practice and sustainable development requirements.