Annual Reviews

The RBF’s Annual Reviews provide readers with annual highlights of the Fund’s programs, grantmaking, and finances as a reflection of our commitment to accountability, transparency, and sustainability. Each year, we focus on an issue central to the Fund's mission.


The global COVID-19 pandemic upended nearly every human life in 2020. As ordinary distractions gave way to that singular focus, we saw the world a little more clearly.


The RBF aims to use its full array of assets—its endowment, its reputation, its name, its offices and The Pocantico Center,  its expertise, and its history—to advance our mission. In the 2019 Annual Review, Executive Vice President Gerry Watson reflects on the success of this “assets-all-in” approach, evidenced by the results of our five-year path of divestment. The review also provides a snapshot of the Fund's key statistics from 2017–2019.


In the 2018 annual review, RBF President Stephen Heintz asks how foundation philanthropy can disentangle itself from the infrastructure of economic inequality that gave birth to it and suggests ways that the sector can begin to correct the balance between capitalism and democracy. The review also provides a snapshot of the Fund's key statistics from 2016–2018.


In the 2017 annual review, RBF President Stephen Heintz reflects on prior challenges to the Fund's vision for a sustainable and peaceful world in the context of the year's shifting political landscape and notes that social progress requires a reenergized democratic spirit. The review also provides a snapshot of the Fund's key statistics from 2015–2017.


The 2016 annual review contains an essay by RBF President Stephen Heintz laying out his 'Logic of the Future' for a new global ethos of fairness, sharing, and caring. It also contains commemorations of David Rockefeller and Abby M. O'Neill, two past leaders of the Fund who passed away in early 2017.


The Fund marked its 75th anniversary in 2015 by reflecting on common themes from its history. The Fund also continued with its fossil fuel divestment efforts and detailed its Mission-Aligned, ESG, and Impact investment strategies.


Following much discussion by the Fund's staff and trustees, in 2014, the Fund announced it would divest its endowment from fossil fuels. The decision was based on twin imperatives: the moral obligation of doing everything we can to help prevent catastrophic climate change and an economic necessity of looking long term as an institutional investor.


The 2013 feature essay by Priscilla Lewis details the cross-programmatic efforts to reduce global emissions undertaken by the Fund's Sustainable Development, Democratic Practice–Global Governance, Southern China, New York City, and Western Balkans grantees. It explores the urgency with which the world must tackle climate change, as well as a new sense of possibility that lasting progress can be made.


The 2012 cover story, written by Charles Granquist, executive director of The Pocantico Center, tells the story of Kykuit, the Rockefeller family estate, which the RBF has managed since 1991 through an agreement with the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Since 1994, when the Fund's conference center first opened there, The Pocantico Center has been central to advancing the Fund's programmatic work. During 2012, the Pocantico Center underwent a year of self-study which led to an accreditation from the American Alliance of Museums.


The 2011 annual review includes a letter from RBF’s president, Stephen Heintz, highlighting the Fund’s support of the creative process and institutions in New York City through the Charles E. Culpeper arts and culture grants. Two companion videos were also produced: Artists in Motion which glimpses into the lives of four artists as they develop their work, and A Pivotal Role: Arts in New York City, which goes behind the scenes with four grantee organizations.