RBF Institutional Milestones

Presidential Succession

William M. Dietel, who came to the Fund in 1970 after serving as principal of the Emma Willard School in Troy, New York, succeeded Dana Creel as president of the Fund when Creel retired in 1975. Dietel presided over a challenging period that included a decline in the Fund’s financial holdings, shifting program priorities, and the deaths of several founding trustees. Serving until 1987, Dietel oversaw a program of major final grants to longtime grantees, the Fund’s separation from the Rockefeller Family Office, and the transformation of the RBF into a more programmatically oriented foundation. During his administration, RBF staff amplified the Fund’s financial contributions by serving on the boards of grantee organizations. They provided resources that went beyond money to leadership, institutional cultivation, and networking, helping build the capacity of many fields. This level of involvement had been characteristic of the brothers’ philanthropy, and during Dietel’s presidency was extended to become a distinguishing feature of the Fund’s approach.

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