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Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Inc.


Last Updated: 2016-07-14

At A Glance

Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Inc.

475 Riverside Dr., Ste. 900

New York City, NY United States 10115-0066

Telephone: (212) 812-4200


Type of Grantmaker

Independent foundation

Additional Descriptor

  • Celebrity: Business; Politics

Financial Data

(yr. ended 2014-12-31)

Assets: $885,380,360

Total giving: $29,880,120






Incorporated in 1940 in NY - The Rockefeller Brothers Fund is a private, family foundation helping to advance social change that contributes to a more just, sustainable, and peaceful world. It was created in 1940 by the sons of the late John D. Rockefeller, Jr.-John 3rd, Nelson, Winthrop, Laurance, and David-as a vehicle by which they could share advice and research on charitable activities and coordinate their philanthropic efforts 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 original endowment of the Fund.

Purpose and Activities

The Rockefeller Brothers Fund promotes social change that contributes to a more just, sustainable, and peaceful world. Through its grantmaking, the Fund supports efforts to expand knowledge, clarify values and critical choices, nurture creative expression, and shape public policy. The Fund's programs are intended to develop leaders, strengthen institutions, engage citizens, build community, and foster partnerships that include government, business, and civil society. Respect for cultural diversity and ecological integrity pervades the Fund's activities. In keeping with the Fund's desire to align its investments with its mission, it has made the decision to divest from fossil fuels.

Program Area(s)

The grantmaker has identified the following area(s) of interest:

Charles E. Culpeper Arts & Culture Program

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 fund is inspired by the conviction that arts and culture promote free expression, foster a deeper understanding of human experience and diverse communities, and provide a fresh lens on persistent problems and emerging challenges. The fund aims to strengthen the cultural environment of the city by supporting its rich artistic community and the diversity of the city’s population. Special interests of the fund are to sustain and advance small and mid-size cultural organizations, particularly those that are community-based and/or culturally specific, and to provide opportunities for artists of color and other underrepresented artists to contribute to the cultural vitality of New York City. The fund also seeks to encourage mainstream, larger institutions to present underrepresented artists and to find innovative ways to engage new and diverse audiences.

Democratic Practice

The program seeks to strengthen the vitality of democracy in the United States and in global governance. The program’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.


The program aims to advance just and durable peace by supporting innovative and collaborative approaches and policies for conflict prevention, management, and transformation; strengthening constituencies and political will for conflict transformation and durable peace; and exploring solutions to emerging transnational threats and drivers of conflict.

Pivotal Place: Southern China

Southern China’s rapid development has been accompanied by profound challenges including environmental degradation and growing disparities between rich and poor, urban and rural which, if not addressed, threaten the sustainability of development in the region, the country, and the world. The Chinese government and people have been responding vigorously to these complex challenges. The RBF’s grantmaking seeks to assist these efforts.

Pivotal Place: Western Balkans

The countries of the Western Balkans are working to realize their European integration aspirations, as accession brings with it the promise of stability and rule of law—necessary perquisites for long-term peace, prosperity, and democracy. The Fund’s work in the Balkans, and especially in Serbia, Montenegro, and Kosovo, gives special attention to democratic practice, peace building, and sustainable development requirements.

Program-Related Investment

The foundation leases real estate to a nonprofit organization rent-free and has authorized a loan to a foundation.

Sustainable Development

The program 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 program focuses its grantmaking on advancing solutions to climate change.

Fields of Interest

  • Arts and culture
  • Climate change
  • Cultural awareness
  • Election regulation
  • Energy efficiency
  • Environment
  • Environmental education
  • Human rights
  • International peace and security
  • Natural resources
  • Sustainable development
  • Sustainable forestry
  • Voter education and registration
International Interests
  • China
  • Israel
  • Kosovo
  • Montenegro
  • Serbia
Population Groups
  • Academics
  • Economically disadvantaged people
  • Low-income and poor people
  • Coalitions and alliances
  • Governments and agencies

Financial Data

Year ended 2014-12-31

Assets: $885,380,360 (market value)

Gifts received: $4,163,800

Expenditures: $50,057,913

Total giving: $29,880,120

Qualifying distributions: $42,125,262

Giving activities include:

$4,009,126 for foundation-administered programs