Photo courtesy of the Rockefeller Archive Center.
Gift from the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Estate
John D. Rockefeller, Jr., father of the founding RBF trustees, died in 1960 and left half of his estate, approximately $65 million, to the Fund. One of the first actions the RBF board took after receiving the bequest in 1961 was to designate $1 million for African American higher education, one of John D. Jr.’s strongest commitments and a longstanding interest of his children as well. In memorializing their father, the founding RBF trustees noted that “the very existence of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund is a tribute to John D. Rockefeller, Jr., bearing witness as it does that the principles and ideals for which he lived were adopted and carried forward by his children.” With this inheritance, the RBF became one of the top ten wealthiest American foundations.