A Blend of Two Models
Martha, John, Laurance, Nelson, and David Rockefeller created the Rockefeller Family Fund in 1967. While our operations and approach remain true to the Rockefeller vision of strategic, innovative philanthropy, we have evolved from our roots as a family foundation.
Today, our partners include a community of environmental, economic, and civil-engagement funders who share a similar determination to create a better world through philanthropy. These vibrant partnerships are possible because we respect each other’s ideas and values, we listen well, and we enjoy genuine collaboration. RFF works closely with other funders and talented individuals to address major societal problems through collaborative initiatives that are impossible for any individual funder to undertake.
Over the decades, we have built a national network of foundations and advocates who practice a highly effective form of strategic philanthropy that constantly evolves to meet new challenges.
To many observers, we appear to be a typical grant-making organization. In fact, we are a hybrid of two very distinct models:
We act as a foundation generally acts, giving grants to nonprofit organizations. We were founded with this intent, and this is the institutional form that is most recognizable to the nonprofit community.
We act as an advocacy organization, developing and running programs and projects to help address key societal challenges. We assemble teams and build staffs behind the scenes, with our eye focused only on the project’s goals.
This blend of approaches has significant benefits. We work with the foundation community as partners, allowing us to learn from, and collaborate openly with, a wide range of current and potential funders.
At the same time, we retain flexibility that is unavailable to many foundations. When the right nonprofit organizations exist to help address a specific need, we support them with grants. If no such group exists, we use a combination of convening skills, consulting help and staff expertise to tailor solutions to a specific need. Once the need is addressed, we move forward. We get results often more quickly and at a lower cost than conventional wisdom thought possible.
The Rockefeller Family Fund is a tax-exempt not-for-profit organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the federal tax code.