The RBF supported the New York Public Library (NYPL) with annual grants as early as 1952. In 1968, it made a special $25,000 gift toward the preservation of the Schomburg Collection of Negro Literature and History, which had deteriorated severely.
Despite intergenerational conflicts, the Fund responded to the concerns of the era with programs in equal opportunity, urban problems, U.S. Southern development, the environment, and fostering the health of the private sector.
The 1980s saw the Fund focusing on issues at home and abroad in the areas of agricultural reform, post-apartheid democracy in South Africa, and nuclear non-proliferation. In New York City, it worked on the social toll of AIDS, affordable housing, sustainable urban development, and public education.
The 1990s witnessed the fall of two seemingly entrenched political orders: Communist regimes in the Eastern bloc and apartheid in South Africa. These seismic geopolitical shifts both invited the Fund’s response and reaffirmed its existing involvement in both regions.
In 1991, the RBF entered into a special arrangement with the Asian Cultural Council, housing the organization in the Fund’s offices for several years, engaging in joint fundraising efforts, and making annual grants toward its general support.
In 2014, the Fund launched the Charles E. Culpeper Arts & Culture grants, honoring the legacy of the Culpeper Foundation and uniting two RBF commitments in need of redefinition: the arts and New York City.