OVERVIEW: Through its Sustainable Development Program, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund (RBF) supports organizations that work to advance global stewardship and climate change solutions.
IP TAKE: RBF takes a broad approach to climate change, funding a variety of approaches to this challenge. And it's not afraid to get involved in a political fight or take a few risks with its grantmaking.
PROFILE: The Rockefeller Brothers Fund, as the name suggests, was established in 1940 by several members of the Rockefeller family, including Nelson, Laurance, Winthrop, and David Rockefeller and John D. Rockefeller III. The fund is not affiliated in any way with either the Rockefeller Foundation or the Rockefeller Family Fund.
RBF makes climate change related grants through its Sustainable Development program, which is driven by the mission of advancing “global stewardship that is ecologically based, economically sound, socially just, culturally appropriate, and consistent with intergenerational equity.” To advance solutions to climate change, RBF pursues the strategies that advance the green economy agenda, advocate for increased public and policymaking related to climate change, and those that campaign to reduce fossil fuel or carbon intensive energy reliance.
What's notable about RBF's climate grantmaking is the range of interests pursued by the fund. This is not a funder with a very narrow climate portfolio. Its interests include ocean acidification, more efficient buildings, the national security dimension of climate change, and the all-important big question of how capitalism must adapt to the imperative of ecology sustainability.
RBF isn't the biggest climate funder around by any means, but it's a broad-minded one. The fund knows that lots of different levers need to be pulled to address this problem, and it's more ready for a political fight than perhaps some other funders in the field.
RBF’s Sustainable Development grants tend to be sizable, typically falling in the $200,000 to $500,000 range. However, the fund does not make grants to a large number of climate change organizations, and the ones that do receive RBF support tend to be pretty big.
To get a sense of the breadth of this funder, browse through its searchable grants database.
While RBF is a proactive funder, like so many others, and is already committed to a range of grantees, it's also open to good ideas that come in over the transom. RBF accepts grant inquiries throughout the year.
- Michael Northrop, Program Director, Sustainable Development
- Deborah Burke, Program Associate, Sustainable Development
- Stephanie Bencivenga, Program Associate, Sustainable Development