The Rockefeller Brothers Fund has announced that it will increase its grantmaking budget by $48 million over five years, including $10 million for a new programme focusing on racial justice. The other funds will go toward work to strengthen U.S. democracy and generate new economic thinking to address global climate change and inequity, as well as maintain current grant budgets during the current volatile moment.
‘This is a moment of global pandemic and civic tension that also contains extraordinary activism, authenticity, learning, and hope,’ said Valerie Rockefeller, chair of the RBF Board of Trustees. ‘It’s a time for deeper commitment to the ideas, leaders, organisations, and networks that can disrupt racial and economic inequity for meaningful progress on our long-term efforts for social change. There has never been a better time to invest in our mission to make the world more just, sustainable, and peaceful. Despite the uncertainty of the markets, we are certain about the decision to increase our spending.’
The announcement of increase funding is intended to help current grantees weather the COVID-19 crisis, while also expanding the Foundation’s footprint to join the national focus on race in America. The decision to increase grantmaking came at the RBF’s board meeting in June, as protesters across America took to the streets to demand justice for George Floyd.
Of the $48 million pledged, $10 million will go to a three-year racial justice initiative drawing on the Fund’s experience with institutions of justice, governance, and civic culture; $18 million will go toward strengthening democratic practice, including support for U.S. election protection, voter participation reform, and global governance reform; $10 million will go to supporting new economic thinking, experimentation, and advocacy that will address climate concerns; and $10 million will be allocated to providing dependable support for partners and grantees in case of economic downturns.
The increased funding will lead to a 5.5-6.6 per cent payout, according to a statement by Stephen Heintz, the foundation’s president, to the Chronicle of Philanthropy. The Rockefeller Brothers Fund endowment was valued at $1.18 billion at the end of April.