David Rockefeller

NET WORTH: $3.1 billion

SOURCE of WEALTH: family fortune, JP Morgan Chase

FUNDING AREAS: Education, Arts & Culture, Global Development, Environment

OVERVIEW: The late Rockefeller gave away more than $900 million over the course of his lifetime. The small foundation originally set up by he and his wife, the David Rockefeller Fund, has given a steady stream of small grants for years to many organizations.

BACKGROUND:  David Rockefeller inherited much of his wealth, at least early on. His grandfather, John D. Rockefeller, famously co-founded the Standard Oil Company. After doing his undergrad at Harvard, Rockefeller continued to study economics there and at the London School of Economics, ultimately completing a Ph.D. at the University of Chicago. When he returned from the war, he took a job at Chase National Bank, where his uncle was CEO. He served in various positions before becoming president in 1960, and then Chairman and CEO in 1969. Eventually becoming Chase Manhattan, and now JPMorgan Chase, the bank is now one of the largest in the world.


EDUCATION: Rockefeller had already given $64 million to the University that bears his family’s name by 2005, when he pledged $100 million to the university to restore and connect old buildings, support work in their laboratories, and support graduate students. In 2008, he pledged an equivalent amount to his alma mater, Harvard, to create more international experiences and opportunities in the arts for undergraduate students. Harvard had also previously received $40 million, with $35 million of that going toward the creation and operation of the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies. The Rhode Island School of Design has also received a million dollars.

ARTS & CULTURE: Rockefeller’s parents were avid art collectors; his father was known for his collection of ancient, medieval and Renaissance treasures, while his mother preferred modern art. Many of these pieces, along with the house Rockefeller grew up in, were donated to the Museum of Modern Art, where Rockefeller was a longtime trustee, and held the honorary title of chairman emeritus. Rockefeller had given $100 million to the organization by 2005, when he pledged to give $5 million per year, and an additional $100 million upon his death, bringing his total contribution to the organization that his mother helped found to some $250 million. The museum even has an award named after him, honoring individuals who exemplify “enlightened generosity and effective advocacy of cultural and civic endeavors.” He also gave at least $7.5 million to Colonial Williamsburg for historical preservation. 

GLOBAL DEVELOPMENT: In 2006, David Rockefeller pledged $225 million upon his death to the Rockefeller Brothers Fund to create the David Rockefeller Fund for Global Development. The fund will focus on improving access to healthcare, alleviating poverty, sustainable development, and fostering a dialogue between Muslim and Western nations.

ENVIRONMENT: The Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture will be getting $25 million in the wake of Rockefeller's death, and MillionTreesNYC has been given at least $5 million. In early 2015, to celebrate his 100th birthday, Rockefeller donated 1,000 acres of land he owned on Mount Desert Island to the nonprofit Land and Garden Reserve.

LOOKING FORWARD: In the wake of David Rockefeller's passing, nearly $600 million is set to stream to various organizations and causes. Global development will surely be a big winner, as his $225 million fund starts making grants in that area. His substantial art collection will likely also find its way to MoMA, the Rhode Island School of Design, Rockefeller University, and others. 


The David Rockefeller Fund, Inc.

30 Rockefeller Plz., Rm. 5600

New York, NY 10112-0002

Marianna S. Schaffer, Dir. of Progs.

(212) 649-5631

Fax: (212) 765-6817