Rockefeller Brothers Fund




Tax ID:


Tax-Exempt Status:


Budget (2015):

Revenue: $14,599,535
Expenses: $54,704,441
Assets: $859,466,256




Stephen B. Heintz

The Rockefeller Brothers Fund was created in 1940 as the charity for the five sons of John D. Rockefeller, Jr.:  John D., III; future U.S. Vice President Nelson; Laurance; Winthrop; and David Rockefeller.  Two of these five men, Laurance and David, also established their own foundations, though David announced that the Rockefeller Brothers Fund would receive $225 million after his death, which occurred in 2017.[1] The Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Rockefeller Family Fund, and the David Rockefeller Fund all have the same mailing address, although the three nonprofits are legally distinct.

The Rockefeller Brothers Fund also operates the Pocantico Conference Center, at Kykuit, a historic home of the Rockefeller family located about 20 miles north of New York City.



For the first 25 years of its existence, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund largely pursued the philanthropic interests of the brothers. Laurance was interested in conservation, so the fund bought land trusts in Wyoming that extended the basis of Grand Teton National Park. Nelson Rockefeller persuaded the fund to donate to the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. John D. Rockefeller III was interested in population control, so the fund supported the Population Council.

The Rockefeller Brothers Fund’s greatest influence came in the late 1950s when it published a series of reports about what America’s foreign and domestic policies should be. According to Nelson Rockefeller biographer Joseph E. Persico, the fund’s 1958 report Prospect for America was so influential “that during the 1960 election, both parties lifted from it for their platforms. The very emblem of the Kennedy administration was taken from a section of the Rockefeller Brothers’ report entitled ‘The New Frontiers.”[2]

Later History

In the late 1970s, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund had a crisis over donor intent. After serving as Vice President, Nelson Rockefeller returned to philanthropy in 1977. He said that he should be chairman and CEO of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and that half of the fund’s $190 million endowment should support the capital campaigns of 25 organizations the Rockefellers had long favored, including the Museum of Modern Art, the Population Council, and Rockefeller University.

Nelson Rockefeller’s death in 1979 ended the effort by the Rockefeller brothers to control the foundation. But between 1970 and 1981, the fund did donate $100 million, or half its endowment, to 18 organizations the family had long favored, including Rockefeller University, the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Center, and Sleepy Hollow Restorations, which restored historic homes near the Rockefellers’ family estate in Westchester County, New York. These grants, New York Times reporter Peter Kihss wrote in 1979, were terminal ones. “The intent in most cases,” Kihss wrote, “was that the Brothers Fund would be ending its major responsibility to the institutions, basically leaving them—facing the inroads of inflation—to make their own way.”[3]

Rockefeller Brothers Fund Today

By 2014, about half of Rockefeller Brothers Fund grantmaking was concerned with climate change. The fund voted to divest its endowment of all investments in fossil fuels.  In an interview with The Guardian, the fund’s chair, Valerie Rockefeller Wayne, daughter of former U.S. Senator John D. “Jay” Rockefeller IV (D-W.V.) said that the fund had been under some pressure from its grantees (most notably Carbon Tracker and to divest and that the fund had a “moral obligation” to divest because “the money that is for our grantmaking, and what we are doing now, and that helps fund our lifestyles comes from dirty fossil sources.”[4]

Canadian journalist Vivian Krause has shown the effect of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund’s environmental grantmaking in Canada. In a 2016 article in the Financial Post, she charged that the fund was the lead donor, first through the Tides Foundation and then through the New Venture Fund , in a successful effort to limit energy production in Alberta. When left-wing Alberta premier Rachel Notley in 2016 announced a cap on carbon emissions from oil production in that province, Krause wrote, “The Rockefellers got exactly what their funding paid for.”[5]

Krause also reported that the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, collaborating with the Moore Foundation, Hewlett Foundation, and Packard Foundation, used grants over several years to create the Great Bear Rainforest, a protected area on the west coast of British Columbia that is the size of Ireland.[6]

Domestically, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund is also interested in restricting election-related speech. The fund donated $200,000 in 2008 and 2009 to Public Campaign (now the Every Voice Center), an organization seeking to ensure that nearly all of the money for political campaigns comes from the government.[7]

Anti-Israel Activities

Since 2013, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund has contributed to numerous anti-Israel organizations. The Fund gave at least $880,000 to groups such as Jewish Voice for Peace, Zochrot, and the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights that support the “boycott, divest, and sanctions” (BDS) movement that favors breaking off economic and social ties to the Jewish state.[8] Rockefeller Brothers Fund president Stephen B. Heintz, wrote in an email that such grants were needed to “end the fifty-year long occupation in order to bring justice, dignity, and freedom to all Israelis and Palestinians.”[9]

Israeli diplomats have alleged that the Rockefeller Brothers Fund (RBF) has funneled money to organizations that support Palestinian extremist terrorism. According to Israeli Consul-General Dani Dayan, RBF gave $30,000 in 2015 and $60,000 in 2017 to Education for Just Peace in the Middle East, also known as the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights which fiscally sponsors the Palestinian BDS National Committee. The BDS National Committee is the Palestinian branch of the international anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign; the Committee’s members include the Council of National Islamic Forces in Palestine, which includes the U.S. State Department-designated foreign terrorist organizations Hamas, Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), Popular Front-General Command, Palestine Liberation Front, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.[10]

RBF has also funded Defense for Children International-Palestine (DCI-P), an organization run by officials and board members with established ties to PFLP.  DCI-P general assembly president Nasser Ibrahim was former editor of PFLP’s propaganda publication and has advocated for a Palestinian “right of resistance” including armed conflict. DCI-P director Rifat Odeh Kassis spoke at the funeral of a former DCI-P employee who had also fought as a PFLP insurgent.[11]


  1. “David Rockefeller Awards $225 Million Bequest To Rockefeller Brothers Fund,” Philanthropy News Digest, November 22, 2006   ^
  2. Martin Morse Wooster, “The Rockefeller Brothers Fund and Rockefeller Family Fund,” Foundation Watch, January 2005 ^
  3. Martin Morse Wooster, “The Rockefeller Brothers Fund and Rockefeller Family Fund.” ^
  4. Suzanne Goldenberg, “Rockefeller Brothers Fund:  It Is Our Moral Duty To Divest From Fossil Fuels,” The Guardian, March 27, 2015 ^
  5. Vivian Krause, “The Cash Pipeline Opposing Canadian Oil Pipelines,” Financial Post, December 2, 2016  ^
  6. Vivian Krause, “Following the (Primarily U.S.) Money Funding Canada’s Anti-Oil Movement,” Alberta Oil, July 2014  ^
  7. Fred Lucas,  “Campaign Finance ‘Reform’ Exposed Once Again,” Foundation Watch, August 2013, ^
  8. Armin Rosen, “The Rockefeller Brothers Fund and BDS,” Tablet Magazine, May 24, 2017 ^
  9. Armin Rosen, “Rockefeller Brothers Fund President Explains BDS To Its Trustees:  It’s About ‘Justice, Dignity, and Security,” Tablet Magazine, June 22, 2017 ^
  10. Harkov, Lahav. “Rockefeller Bros Fund Gives to Groups Funding Palestinian Terrorism.” The Jerusalem Post | June 06, 2018. Accessed June 11, 2018. ^
  11. Harkov, Lahav. “Rockefeller Bros Fund Gives to Groups Funding Palestinian Terrorism.” The Jerusalem Post | June 06, 2018. Accessed June 11, 2018. ^

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. James Gustave Speth
    Former Board Member
  2. John Holdren
    Informal adviser, grant recipient

Donation Recipients

  1. 1Sky (Non-profit)
  2. 1Sky Action Fund (Non-profit)
  3. 20/20 Vision Education Fund (Non-profit)
  4. 2030 (Architecture 2030) (Non-profit)
  5. (National) (Non-profit)
  6. American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (Non-profit)
  7. American Documentary (Non-profit)
  8. American Independent Institute (Non-profit)
  9. Anti-Defamation League Foundation (ADLF) (Non-profit)
  10. As You Sow (Non-profit)
  11. Aspen Institute (Non-profit)
  12. Campaign Legal Center (Non-profit)
  13. Citizen Engagement Lab (CEL) Education Fund (Non-profit)
  14. Center for Economic and Policy Research (Non-profit)
  15. Center for Political Accountability (Non-profit)
  16. Center for Popular Democracy (CPD) (Non-profit)
  17. Center for Responsive Politics (Non-profit)
  18. Century Foundation (Non-profit)
  19. Ceres (Non-profit)
  20. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) (Non-profit)
  21. Color of Change (Non-profit)
  22. Education Fund (Non-profit)
  23. Common Cause Education Fund (Non-profit)
  24. Confluence Philanthropy (Non-profit)
  25. D5 Coalition (Non-profit)
  26. Demos (Non-profit)
  27. Desis Rising Up and Moving (Non-profit)
  28. EarthRights International (ERI) (Non-profit)
  29. Environmental Advocates of New York (Non-profit)
  30. Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) (Non-profit)
  31. Environmental Leadership Program (Non-profit)
  32. Evangelical Environmental Network (EEN) (Non-profit)
  33. Every Voice Center (Non-profit)
  34. FairVote (Non-profit)
  35. Four Freedoms Fund (Non-profit)
  36. Fractured Atlas Productions (Non-profit)
  37. Free Press (Non-profit)
  38. Free Speech for People (Non-profit)
  39. Friends of the Earth (Non-profit)
  40. German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF) (Non-profit)
  41. IfNotNow Movement (Non-profit)
  42. Issue One (Non-profit)
  43. J Street Education Fund (Non-profit)
  44. Justice at Stake (Non-profit)
  45. Leadership Conference Education Fund (Non-profit)
  46. Legal Aid Society of New York (Non-profit)
  47. MapLight (Non-profit)
  48. Media Matters for America (Non-profit)
  49. Mountain Association for Community Economic Development (Non-profit)
  50. Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) (Non-profit)
  51. NEO Philanthropy (Non-profit)
  52. New Venture Fund (NVF) (Non-profit)
  53. Niskanen Center (Non-profit)
  54. North Star Fund (Non-profit)
  55. Oil Change International (Non-profit)
  56. Ploughshares Fund (Non-profit)
  57. Population Council (Non-profit)
  58. Protect Democracy Project (PDP) (Non-profit)
  59. Proteus Fund (Non-profit)
  60. Public Citizen (Non-profit)
  61. Represent.US Education Fund (Non-profit)
  62. ReThink Media (Non-profit)
  63. Robin Hood Foundation (Non-profit)
  64. Rocky Mountain Institute (Non-profit)
  65. Roosevelt Institute (Non-profit)
  66. Seventh Generation Advisors (Non-profit)
  67. Sierra Club Foundation (Non-profit)
  68. Social Good Fund (Non-profit)
  69. Southern Coalition for Social Justice (SCSJ) (Non-profit)
  70. Sustainable Markets Foundation (Non-profit)
  71. Tides Foundation (Non-profit)
  72. U.S. Climate Action Network (US-CAN) (Non-profit)
  73. USAction Education Fund (Non-profit)
  74. Vera Institute of Justice (VIJ) (Non-profit)
  75. WESPAC Foundation (Non-profit)
  76. William J. Brennan Center for Justice (Non-profit)
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: November 1, 1997

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2015 Dec Form PF $14,599,535 $54,704,441 $859,466,256 $24,065,076 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2014 Dec Form PF $103,303,579 $50,057,913 $885,380,360 $21,929,270 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2013 Dec Form PF $145,085,287 $49,743,372 $870,572,218 $21,202,174 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2012 Dec Form PF $19,934,262 $50,370,995 $800,956,943 $22,283,589 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2011 Dec Form PF $9,598,720 $49,511,280 $751,804,582 $19,076,834 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Rockefeller Brothers Fund

    475 RIVERSIDE DR RM 900
    NEW YORK, NY 10115-0066