Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors



Tax ID:


Tax-Exempt Status:


Budget (2016):

Revenue: $215,801,312
Expenses: $167,023,813
Assets: $239,055,438

Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors (RPA) is one of the nation’s largest philanthropic organizations. Founded in 2002, it engages in diverse investments, grants, and guidance with its partners. 12

Many of RPA’s financial investments go towards ostensibly apolitical endeavors such as art initiatives, environmental sustainability, and promoting healthier relationships between men and women. However, most of the groups highlighted on its website have left-leaning social-change missions such as those related to race, the environment, and gender. 3

Mission and Initiatives

Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors funds and advises organizations in four ways – strategy and consulting, management and implementation, fiscal sponsorship, and research. The organization also engages in direct funding of higher education institutions, museums, advocacy groups, and other non-profit entities. 4

One of the RPA’s fiscally-sponsored organizations is the Art for Justice Fund. 5 Along with the Ford Foundation and other donors, RPA assists Art for Justice with creating artistic narratives which portray the U.S. police and justice system as deliberately targeting minorities for arrests and incarceration. 6

Another RPA-funded organization is The Earth Charter Fund, an environmental advocacy coalition of international organizations including the United Nations. 78

RPA and other left-of-center foundations founded the Reproductive Health and Women’s Rights Collaborative in 2018 to promote abortion and birth control. Left-leaning donor foundations involved in the Collaborative included the David and Lucile Packard Foundation (which gave $10 million), as well as Acton Family Giving, the Ford Foundation, and JPB Foundation. 91011

RPA helped the Intrepid Philanthropy Foundation launch the education-focused LIGHT Awards. The Awards provide teacher training and professional development. 12

RPA provided funding for a climate change urban initiative called 100 Resilient Cities. After funding ran out in 2019, the unaffiliated Rockefeller Foundation provided new funding to the initiative. 13

Philanthropy Leadership

A major part of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors’ work is philanthropic leadership. It engages in research, writes papers, and creates coalitions for purposes of guiding donors and foundations. Twenty-three donor guides have been created, addressing donors who focus on issues like gender and climate change, as well as donor best practices. 14

RPA also led the creation of a foundation group which looks at the future of philanthropy. 15 The Philanthropy Framework was launched in 2019 as a structural document for philanthropic foundations. The document uses several left-leaning foundations such as the California Endowment as case studies. 16

The foundation’s 2018 Scaling Solutions report likewise looked at creating more efficient and effective philanthropic operations, and used several left-of-center foundations as examples. 17


Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors’ revenue in 2018 was $214.3 million, with over $355 million in assets and nearly $200 million in expenses. Almost $193 million was spent on direct grants, project sponsorships, and consulting. 18

In 2015, RPA gave millions of dollars to apolitical organizations such as education institutions, museums, conservation, and poverty assistance groups. However, it also funded many left-of-center organizations, such as:19

RPA also receives significant outside funding from other foundations. The MacArthur Foundation gave $20.785 million from 2013 to 2019 for a number of climate and other projects. 20 The Gates Foundation gave RPA almost $3.5 million to start an educational non-profit in 2009. 21


Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors’ staff and board have significant backgrounds in philanthropic foundations. 22

Board chair Wendy O’Neill has a significant background in foreign culture and affairs. She has been on multiple Asian-focused boards since 2001, and worked in China trade and investment. She also was a trustee of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, a left-leaning grantmaking institution, from 2005 to 2014. 23

Vice-chair Peter Rockefeller is an investment banking and financial strategist whose career spans early-stage business investment, mergers and acquisitions, and financial strategy. 24

Adam Wolfensohn is a climate change activist and partner in the environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) firm Encourage Capital. He previously founded and ran a music and sound design studio. 25

President and CEO Melissa Berman, Ph.D., is the first person to hold these roles at RPA since its 2002 founding. She sits on a number of philanthropic boards. 26

Chief operating officer and senior vice president Nick Hodges has been with RPA since 2014. His career spans financial services and multiple senior roles for left-leaning philanthropic foundations such as the Tides Foundation and the San Francisco Foundation. 27


  1. Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, About, Accessed January 22, 2020.
  2. Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, Melissa Berman, Accessed January 22, 2020.
  3. Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, Issue Areas, Accessed January 22, 2020.
  4. Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, What we do, Accessed January 22, 2020.
  5. Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, What we do, Accessed January 22, 2020.
  6. Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, Strategy, Accessed January 22, 2020.
  7. Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, The Earth Charter Fund, Accessed January 22, 2020.
  8. Earth Charter, Mission Vision & Goals, Accessed January 22, 2020.
  9. Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, Reproductive health and women’s rights collaborative, Accessed January 22, 2020.
  10. The David & Lucile Packard Foundation, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, Accessed January 22, 2020.
  11. Acton Family Giving, Reproductive Health Collaborative, Accessed January 22, 2020.
  12. Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, LIGHT Awards, Accessed January 22, 2020.
  13. 100 Resilient Cities, Accessed January 22, 2020.
  14. Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, Philanthropy Roadmap, Accessed January 22, 2020.
  15. Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, Theory of the Foundation, Accessed January 22, 2020.
  16. Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, The Philanthropy Framework, February 2019. Accessed January 22, 2020.
  17. Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, Scaling solutions toward shifting systems: approaches for impact, approaches for learning,” October 2018. Accessed January 22, 2020.
  18. ProPublica, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, 2017/2018 consolidated financial statement, Accessed January 22, 2020.
  19. ProPublica, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors 2015 990, Accessed January 22, 2020.
  20. MacArther Foundation, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, Accessed January 22, 2020.
  21. Gates Foundation, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, Accessed January 22, 2020.
  22. Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, Team, Accessed January 22, 2020.
  23. Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, Team, Accessed January 22, 2020.
  24. Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, Team, Accessed January 22, 2020.
  25. Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, Team, Accessed January 22, 2020.
  26. Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, Team, Accessed January 22, 2020.
  27. Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, Team, Accessed January 22, 2020.

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Eileen Rockefeller Growald
    Former Board Member
  2. Darren Walker
    Board Member
  3. Anne Bartley
    Board Member

Donor Organizations

  1. Alex C. Walker Foundation (Non-profit)
  2. Andrew W. Mellon Foundation (Non-profit)
  3. Annie E. Casey Foundation (Non-profit)
  4. Barr Foundation (Non-profit)
  5. Bauman Family Foundation (Non-profit)
  6. Bloomberg Family Foundation (Bloomberg Philanthropies) (Non-profit)
  7. Bobolink Foundation (Non-profit)
  8. Bush Foundation (Non-profit)
  9. California Endowment (Non-profit)
  10. Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation (Non-profit)
  11. Conrad N. Hilton Foundation (Non-profit)
  12. David and Lucile Packard Foundation (Non-profit)
  13. Edna McConnell Clark Foundation (EMCF) (Non-profit)
  14. Ford Foundation (Non-profit)
  15. Heising-Simons Foundation (Non-profit)
  16. High Tide Foundation (Non-profit)
  17. Hyams Foundation (Non-profit)
  18. James Irvine Foundation (Non-profit)
  19. JPB Foundation (Non-profit)
  20. Kresge Foundation (Non-profit)
  21. Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust (Non-profit)
  22. Lumina Foundation for Education (Non-profit)
  23. Marguerite Casey Foundation (Non-profit)
  24. Marisla Foundation (Non-profit)
  25. Nathan Cummings Foundation (Non-profit)
  26. New Venture Fund (NVF) (Non-profit)
  27. Newman’s Own Foundation (Non-profit)
  28. NoVo Foundation (Non-profit)
  29. Paul M. Angell Family Foundation (Non-profit)
  30. Public Welfare Foundation (Non-profit)
  31. Rita Allen Foundation (Non-profit)
  32. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) (Non-profit)
  33. Rockefeller Brothers Fund (Non-profit)
  34. Rockefeller Foundation (Non-profit)
  35. S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation (Non-profit)
  36. Silicon Valley Community Foundation (SVCF) (Non-profit)
  37. Skoll Fund (Non-profit)
  38. Skoll Global Threats Fund (Non-profit)
  39. Stuart Foundation (Non-profit)
  40. Surdna Foundation (Non-profit)
  41. Tiffany & Co. Foundation (Non-profit)
  42. Unbound Philanthropy (Non-profit)
  43. Wilburforce Foundation (Non-profit)
  44. William Penn Foundation (Non-profit)
  45. Wyss Foundation (Non-profit)
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: July 1, 1991

  • 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
    2016 Dec Form 990 $215,801,312 $167,023,813 $239,055,438 $53,171,138 N $204,486,774 $5,453,636 $837,109 $2,265,851
    2015 Dec Form 990 $213,172,347 $178,615,361 $197,645,943 $55,241,993 N $205,065,709 $6,353,488 $1,283,240 $2,098,363 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990 $161,698,628 $114,165,257 $124,561,808 $15,695,784 N $152,332,044 $7,338,625 $1,183,035 $1,589,108 PDF
    2013 Dec Form 990 $73,483,668 $64,542,602 $73,743,259 $13,083,534 N $63,824,498 $7,560,906 $860,971 $1,427,658 PDF
    2012 Dec Form 990 $50,331,901 $56,408,707 $58,493,827 $9,355,901 N $41,754,138 $7,329,503 $782,481 $1,372,860 PDF
    2011 Dec Form 990 $85,429,582 $78,799,944 $60,696,686 $8,034,157 N $79,019,333 $5,240,607 $712,965 $1,948,808 PDF
    2010 Dec Form 990 $40,022,867 $33,702,203 $58,253,541 $5,543,702 N $35,218,801 $4,608,342 $729,346 $1,516,584 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors

    NEW YORK, NY 10036-1802