Rockefeller Family Fund: Grants for Climate Change

OVERVIEW: RFF's environmental program almost exclusively focuses on climate change; however, it sometimes funds other environmental projects.

IP TAKE: This funder often funds smaller organizations that conduct policy and advocacy work with national implications. 

PROFILE: Created by John D. Rockefeller's grandsons in 1967, the Rockefeller Family Fund (RFF) is one of several Rockefeller family philanthropic enterprises. The RFF seeks to "initiate, cultivate, and fund strategic efforts to promote a sustainable, just, free, and participatory society." It prioritizes grantmaking for the environment, institutional accountability and individual liberty, and economic justice for women.             

Since 2006, the RFF has prioritized grantmaking to climate change through its environment program, which features two key initiatives. Its Climate Policy initiative seeks to "advance state and federal policies capable of addressing the magnitude of the nation’s contribution to the climate crisis." In contrast, its National Coal Campaign aims to reduce carbon dioxide emissions caused by coal. The latter initiative, according to RFF, has already defeated coal plants in the south, the midwest and the Pacific Northwest, three key regions of environmental grantmaking for this funder. 

RFF environmental grants tend to be at least $30,000; however, sometimes organizations may receive multiple annual grants totaling much higher. Past grantees include the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, the Dakota Resource Council, the NRDC, the National Wildlife Federation, the Sierra Club Foundation and the Ecology Center, among many others. The foundation, however, prioritizes both established and smaller organizations in its grantmaking so long as they have national impact. RFF is also interested in policy and advocacy having funded El Puente de Williamsburg, a Brooklyn-based organizations, to help support its Latino Climate Action Network. Those looking for more information about RFF's grantmaking policies should go to its website

Finally, it's worth noting that key RFF staff have strong environmental backgrounds. Director Lee Wasserman has been a past president of the Environmental Federation of New York and served in leadership roles with the Environmental Grantmakers Association. 


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