David Rockefeller

NET WORTH: $3.1 billion

SOURCE of WEALTH: Inheritance, JP Morgan Chase

FUNDING AREAS: Arts, Criminal Justice, Environment

OVERVIEW: The late David Rockefeller’s foundation, the David Rockefeller Fund, supports arts, criminal justice and environmental causes. The fund aims to “invest in catalytic ideas, people, efforts and institutions working strategically toward ecological regeneration, justice system reform, and art for social impact.”

BACKGROUND:  David Rockefeller’s grandfather, John D. Rockefeller, famously co-founded the Standard Oil Company, leaving a vast inheritance to his family. David Rockefeller graduated from Harvard and studied economics at Harvard, the London School of Economics and the University of Chicago, where he eventually earned a Ph.D. He was a captain in the U.S. Army and served in France and North Africa during World War II. Rockefeller was employed by Chase National Bank, with which his family was affiliated, and became president in 1960 and chairman and CEO in 1969. David Rockefeller died in 2017, but his children and grandchildren have maintained his foundation.


ARTS: The David Rockefeller Fund’s arts program prioritizes “cultivating, showcasing and disseminating the stories of innovative art for social change” in the U.S. Past grantees include the Washington, D.C.-based Hip Hop Caucus, which encourages the use of cultural expression as political discourse, and New York City’s Theatre of the Oppressed, which organizes and produced community theater projects that address “challenges confronting economic inequality, racism, and other social, health and human rights injustices.” A complete list of arts grantees is available at the funds arts page.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE: The fund’s criminal justice initiative supports “bold new ideas and policy proposals and initiatives for transforming U.S. detention/incarceration policy.” One past grantee is the Campaign for Youth Justice, an initiative that is “focused entirely on ending the practice of prosecuting, sentencing, and incarcerating youth under the age of 18 in the adult criminal justice system.” The fund has also supported the Abolitionist Law Center, which works toward “overturning laws aimed at censoring and silencing prisoners’ voices, in challenging decades-long solitary confinement, and in pushing for life-saving treatment for hepatitis C+ prisoners.” Additional criminal justice grantees can be explored on the fund’s criminal justice page.

ENVIRONMENT: The David Rockefeller Fund invest in “new ideas, initiatives, and policy breakthroughs in support of bipartisan U.S. climate leadership. It has supported the Center for Climate and Security, which studies climate change and promotes policies “that will adequately mange unavoidable effects on security and help to avoid effects on security that would be unmanageable or unpredictable.” Another grantee, the Environmental and Energy Study Institute, aims to “accelerate the transition to a new, low-emissions economy based on energy efficiency and renewable energy.” A complete list of past environment grantees is available at the funds environment page.

LOOKING FORWARD: The David Rockefeller Fund generally supports a broad variety organizations in its areas of interest with grants averaging about $25,000. The fund will likely continue its innovative work in arts, criminal justice and the environment and accepts letters of inquiry for funding on an ongoing basis via email at LOI@drfund.org.


David Rockefeller Fund