Nonprofit Sector Support

In the 1980s, the Fund continued to work on strengthening the nonprofit sector in the United States. A key component of the RBF’s field-building strategy was its support for Independent Sector, a new leadership network for nonprofit organizations, foundations, and corporations committed to the public good, founded in 1980 by former RBF trustee John W. Gardner. Independent Sector’s early projects included an Urban Institute survey assessing the impact government cutbacks would have on philanthropy, and a successful lobbying campaign to get charitable contributions provisions included in the new tax code. In 1983, the RBF made a grant to Yankelovich, Skelly & White for the first national survey of individuals’ attitudes toward charitable giving since the Filer Commission of the 1970s, and then funded Independent Sector’s publication of that survey, released as The Charitable Behavior of Americans, in 1986.


A 1990 staff meeting at ACCESS, an organization founded in 1986 to encourage employment opportunities, especially for minorities, in the nonprofit sector.

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