Ben Rodriguez-Cubenas, Rockefeller Brothers Fund

TITLE: Program Director, Culpeper Arts & Culture

FUNDING AREAS: Arts & culture

CONTACT: Visit PeopleFinder for email and phone number (paid subscribers only)

IP TAKE: Rodriguez-Cubenas used to be the director of the New York City program, but today he focuses on arts and culture. This has been the case since the foundation moved away from New York City specific funding as a pivotal place.

PROFILE: What do the Western Balkans, Southern China, and New York City have in common? The Rockefeller Brothers Fund (RBF), that's what, a foundation that describes all three as "pivotal places" at a crossroads in their very different and unique histories.

The fund's Pivotal Place: New York City program served an important function, allowing it to make an impact locally in New York City. The program accounts for the majority of its local grantmaking efforts, and each year the foundation pours roughly $4 million into NYC organizations in three areas: democracy building and sustainable development, both of which are overall RBF program areas, and arts & culture, which is a unique focus of the NYC program. This program ceased to exist in 2015.

The NYC program has a wide-reaching goal as well: to provide funding that helps establish the city as "a beacon of excellence and a force for positive change both within and well beyond its boundaries." Sounds like quite the task, right?

Ben Rodriguez-Cubenas, RBF's former NYC program director, certainly had the experience needed to lead the foundation's local giving. He has been with RBF since 1996, and prior to arriving he was a program officer at the William Randolph Hearst Foundations, working in education, health, human services, and arts and culture. Rodriguez-Cubenas also serves on the board of numerous local organizations, including the Cuban Artists Fund, which he founded in 1998. Back in the day, Rodriguez-Cubenas received his bachelor's degree in political science from Seton Hall University and a master's degree in international affairs from Drew University.

Read more about his background in his professional bio.

From the program's funding guidelines and past grants, you can get a sense of the organizations its funds. Online there is plenty of information for interested local applicants. You can find all the contact information for RBF staff members on the website. Below, Rodriguez-Cubenas talks about his involvement as a representative of the Cuban Artists Fund.