RBF Institutional Milestones

The Brothers Return from War

Almost immediately on the heels of the Fund’s incorporation, its founding trustees were drawn into World War II. All five Rockefeller brothers served in the war. David enlisted as an Army private and Winthrop as an infantryman on a Pacific troopship. Winthrop was the only brother injured in combat. John D. Rockefeller 3rd worked first for the Red Cross in Washington and then was commissioned as an officer in the Navy in 1943. Laurance was commissioned as a Navy lieutenant and worked on the design and production of aircraft. Nelson had been appointed Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1940 and was thus exempt from combat. While the Fund made some grants during the war years, its work became more robust after 1946, when the brothers returned to their offices at Room 5600, 30 Rockefeller Center in New York City.

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Browse the major events in the Rockefeller Brothers Fund's history