Rockefeller charity marks century of aid
NEW YORK — For the richest American family of its era, the goal was fittingly ambitious: “To promote the well-being of mankind throughout the world.”
With that mission, underwritten by the vast wealth of John D. Rockefeller Sr., The Rockefeller Foundation was chartered 100 years ago in Albany, N.Y. For several decades, it was the dominant foundation in the country, breaking precedent with its global outlook and helping pioneer a diligent, scientific approach to charity.
It earned the abiding gratitude of many beneficiaries, inspired imitators and — because of its power and influence — became a periodic target of criticism from both right and left.
“They were in a very small group of foundations that practiced idea-based philanthropy as opposed to just charity. They are willing to invest in ideas,” said Bradford Smith, who as president of the New York-based Foundation Center oversees research on philanthropy worldwide.
The next generation of philanthropists would be wise to study the history of The Rockefeller Foundation and its handful of peers, Smith said.
“The new money goes about this as if there wasn't any history,” he said. “I think there is a lot to learn — what worked, what didn't work.”
Now dwarfed by the largesse of Bill Gates and other contemporary philanthropists, The Rockefeller Foundation remains ambitious and well-funded and is increasingly eager to work in partnerships.
Those financial realities have prompted Rockefeller to do most of its work in partnerships rather than operating solo. Partners have included the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which Judith Rodin, The Rockefeller Foundation's president since 2005, considers a positive influence on the entire foundation sector.
“It's forced us to be even more strategic than if we didn't have it,” she said.
It is celebrating its centennial by touting an array of forward-looking projects, ranging from global disease surveillance to stronger cities to future calamities.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- John Nash, wife, ‘A Beautiful Mind’ inspiration, die in N.J. taxi crash
- Clinton Foundation reports as much as $26.4M in previously undisclosed payments
- Michigan woman marks 116th birthday
- Harvey Girls recognized for role in history of West
- Texas, Oklahoma residents urged to flee flooding
- Senate foils phone spies in close vote
- Parks threatened by dispute over renewal
- Congress passes short-term fix for highways program
- Why FedEx truck slammed into bus in Calif. in fatal crash still unknown year later
- Veterans frustrated by GOP presidential debate on Iraq War
- House panels backs dropping country-of-origin labels from U.S. meat