Rockefeller Brothers Fund President Stephen Heintz to receive Distinguished Service Award


Alliance magazine


The Council on Foundations is to award Stephen Heintz, President of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Distinguished Service Award. The award honors and celebrates a visionary leader who embodies the inspirational qualities that define excellence in philanthropy—commitment, courage, entrepreneurship, and impact.

‘Stephen Heintz’ deep commitment to the principles of philanthropy has led to him being one of the most respected leaders in the field in the United States and globally,’ said Gene Cochrane, interim president and CEO of the Council on Foundations. ‘Under his leadership, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund has been both a trusted grantmaker and convener. He has led discussions on some of the more challenging issues of our time, including climate change, U.S.-Iran relations, the European integration of the Balkans, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as well as concerns right here in the United States surrounding the erosion of democracy. The Council staff is extremely pleased that he will share his views on the state of the sector and the state of our nation in what will likely be a thoughtful and provocative call to the field.’

Since 2001, Heintz has served as president of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. He began his professional life in public service in the state of Connecticut and has devoted his career to citizen engagement in democracy and to making institutions work for people. Under his leadership, the RBF works in some of the world’s most challenging grantmaking environments.

After the 2016 presidential election, Heintz urged the Board of Trustees to establish the Urgent Opportunities Fund, a two-year special initiative to address pressing concerns in the U.S. around increasingly divisive political rhetoric, discriminatory hurdles to voting and challenges to the free press, among other things.

Building on the Rockefeller family’s long-term engagement in China, in 2017 the Fund joined a small cohort of international organizations to register under China’s 2017 NGO Management Law, allowing it to continue its commitment to fostering sustainable development there. In 2017, Heintz was appointed to the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development, a high-level international advisory body for the Chinese national government.

Heintz is known in the sector for having coined the term ‘acupuncture philanthropy’ to describe the Fund’s approach: strategically leveraging the RBF’s modest financial assets and strong reputation in areas of outsized global impact to trigger larger systemic change.

To learn more about the awards or to register to attend the November Awards Ceremony, please visit

Read more about Stephen Heintz here


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