International Relations

War Relief

World War II profoundly shaped the Fund’s activities in its earliest years. Not only did all five brothers serve the war effort, together they recognized that its devastation would have far-reaching effects, and that postwar reconstruction needs would be enormous. Accordingly, the Fund made grants to a variety of aid organizations, including American Aid to France, American Relief for Italy, the Greek War Relief Association, Philippine War Relief of the United States, and Russian War Relief. In addition to these nationally targeted agencies, the RBF gave to broad-based international coalitions including the War Prisoners’ Aid Committee, the International Rescue Committee, the American Red Cross and, most significantly, the U.S.-based National War Fund. Support to these agencies comprised the Fund’s largest category of giving in the 1940s, with a total of $800,500 going to war relief, rehabilitation, and morale services worldwide.

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A letter addressed to John D. Rockefeller with the heading "National War Fund".

Document courtesy of the Rockefeller Archive Center.

Letter acknowledging the RBF gift to the National War Fund. Prescott S. Bush to John D. Rockefeller 3rd, October 29, 1943.

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