Rockefeller Foundation: Grants for Global Development

OVERVIEW: Rockefeller is one of the largest foundations in the United States, and one of the oldest players in global development philanthropy. It's organized around the "dual goals of building greater resilience and advancing more inclusive economies."

IP TAKE: Grantseekers coming to the foundation for support need to think big and have something catalytic to offer if they want a shot at getting their hands on Rockefeller’s money. 

PROFILE: The Rockefeller Foundation has been around since 1913, and seeks to "promote the well-being of humanity throughout the world. The foundation currently seeks to advance inclusive economies that expand opportunities for more broadly shared prosperity, and building resilience by helping people, communities and institutions prepare for, withstand, and emerge stronger from acute shocks and chronic stresses." To achieve these goals, the Rockefeller Foundation's programs advance healthrevalue ecosystemssecure livelihoods, and transform cities in order to address the "root causes of emerging challenges and create systemic change."

The foundation's size equip it with the ability to address large, transformative projects:

  • Advance Health: Supports innovative organizations that “incentivize individuals, communities, and governments to address the breadth of variables that contribute to healthy societies.”
  • Agriculture and Food Security: Increases farmer wealth, increasing crop yields, and improving the nutritional value of food.
  • Energy: Emphasizes lack of access to energy and its connection to world poverty rates.
  • Gender Equity: Addresses global gender disparities.
  • Inclusive Economies: Supports organizations that are tackling barriers to economic opportunity in vulnerable populations around the world.
  • Innovation: This is a broad grantmaking category. The foundation describes the program as “working to uncover, pilot, and scale breakthrough solutions, partnerships, and processes—and advance the field of social innovation.”
  • Resilience: Builds global resilience to chronic stresses and acute shocks due to natural and manmade disasters.
  • Secure Livelihoods: Advances a more inclusive global economy by expanding economic opportunities in vulnerable and marginalized populations around the world.
  • Revalue Ecosystems: This focus area looks to business or market-based solutions toward improved development, building long-term resilience, and forwarding economic and social progress.

The Rockefeller Foundation also makes investments to for-profit firms working in any of its main areas of focus through its Impact Investing and Innovative Finance program.

For a more concrete idea of the kinds of things the Rockefeller Foundation funds, examine the foundation's excellent grants database, where you can search recent grants by initiative and keywords. This is a transparent and relatively accessible funder. However, due to its global reputation, grantmaking is competitive. 


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