2019 Annual Review: Finance

  • A chart of the RBF's endowment value from 2017 through 2019.
    In 2018, a generous gift from the estate of David Rockefeller raised the Rockefeller Brothers Fund endowment from approximately $960 million to over $1.2 billion.

Mission-Aligned Investing

Each year, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund is required by law to distribute five percent of its endowment for charitable purposes. Given the enormous and complex challenges facing today’s increasingly interdependent world, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund has worked over the last decade to align the remaining 95 percent of its financial portfolio with its programmatic interests in democratic practice, peacebuilding, and sustainable development.

September 22, 2019, marked five years since the Rockefeller Brothers Fund announced its commitment to divest from fossil fuels. Financial results in this period have exceeded expectations. The RBF investment portfolio beat its performance targets, posting an average annual return of 7.76 percent over the five-year period that ended December 31, 2019. Over the same period, our benchmark investment portfolio, made up of 70 percent stocks and 30 percent bonds, returned only 6.71 percent annually.

Investment Performance
  2017 2018 2019
Investment Portfolio (12/31) $ 938,480,000 $ 1,132,984,000 $ 1,132,984,000
Average Market Value of Portfolio $ 880,524,000 $ 1,008,228,000 $ 1,208,734,000
Investment Performance (net of fees) 18.31% -0.82% 17.86%
Investment Management Expenses $ 4 million $ 4 million $ 5.7 million

The Fund’s other mission-aligned investment efforts include impact investments; investing using ESG criteria; and leveraging shareholder voting rights.

The RBF's investments are categorized as traditional, screened-divest, ESG, impact, and cash.Of the Fund’s portfolio allocation target of 20 percent for impact investments, 14.3 percent had been committed and 7.73 percent deployed, as of December 31, 2019.

Impact Investments as of December 2019
Investments Initial Commitment Amount Committed Asset Class Geographic Focus Description Mission Alignment
Generation Climate Solutions Fund II October 2014 $15,000,000 Private Capital North America and Europe Enhanced resource productivity/reduced pollution, waste, and emissions Sustainable Development
Turner Multifamily Impact Fund April 2015 $20,000,000 Real Assets United States Workforce housing Broad mission
Elevar Equity III June 2015 $12,500,000 Private Assets India and Latin America Services for underserved communities Broad mission
Sustainable Asset Fund (Vision Ridge) August 2015 $20,000,000 Real Assets United States Resource optimization across water, agriculture, renewable energy, energy efficiency, and transportation Sustainable Development
New Energy Capital Infrastructure Credit Fund February 2016 $20,000,000 Real Assets United States Renewable energy development Sustainable Development
Mainstream Renewable Power Africa Holdings Limited (MPRAH) July 2016 $12,500,000 Private Capital Africa Expanding renewable power supplies across Africa Sustainable Development
ARCH Venture Fund IX, L.P./ARCH Venture Fund IX Overage, L.P. November 2017 $5,000,000 Private Capital North America Identify and capitalize on early-stage venture capital opportunities that arise from the convergence of advanced breakthroughs in life sciences, physical sciences, and information sciences Broad mission
Sustainable Asset Fund II (Vision Ridge) February 2018 $12,500,000 Real Assets United States Resource optimization across water, agriculture, renewable energy, energy efficiency, and transportation Sustainable Development
Ambienta III May 2018 $14,000,0003 Private Capital Europe Resource efficiency and pollution control Sustainable Development
New Energy Capital Infrastructure Credit Fund II September 2018 $20,000,000 Private Capital United States Small and midsized clean energy infrastructure projects and companies Sustainable Development
ARCHFund X/Overage Fund X December 2018 $15,000,000 Private Capital North America Healthcare focused venture capital, with an emphasis on building companies around novel healthcare therapies and treatments Broad mission
Sustainable Water Infrastructure Fund (SWIF) November 2019 $12,500,000 Real Assets California, Australia, Chile Sustainable water and agriculture Sustainable
Development
Impact Investment Total: $179,000,000
 
ESG Investments as of December 2019
Fund Name Commitment Date Current Value Asset Class Geographic Focus
Generation IM Global Equity Fund March 2014 $119,912,848 Global Equity Developed Markets
Agility Global Equity Impact Fund January 2016 $100,000,0004 Global Equity Global
Stewart Investors Worldwide Sustainability Fund October 2016 $25,239,855 Global Equity Global
Ownership Capital Global Equity (USD) Fund March 2017 $69,161,931 Global Equity Global
ESG Investment Commitment Total: $314,314,634
 

For the most current information about our endowment, divestment efforts, and commitment to mission-aligned investing, visit the Mission-Aligned Investing section of our website.

Spending

Total spending for 2019 was $53.5 million in expenditures that count toward the minimum distribution requirement, plus $5.7 million5 for investment management expenses. This reflects a $5.3 million increase from total spending in 2018, due in part to a generous gift from the estate of David Rockefeller in September 2018.

Spending on grantmaking and administration at the Fund’s headquarters, including operations in China and the Western Balkans, accounted for 91 percent of total spending; The Pocantico Center accounted for nine percent.

Total Spending
  2017 2018 2019
Grants Paid6 30,706,000 32,426,400 37,553,800
Non-grant Appropriations7 430,000 380,600 462,200
Pocantico Conferences & Events 312,000 345,300 393,400
Administration8 8,851,000 8,823,200 9,299,000
Subtotal $ 41,077,000 $ 42,975,500 $ 49,208,400
Core Pocantico Operations 4,697,000 5,244,000 5,033,000
Grand Total $ 45,774,000 $ 48,219,500 $ 54,241,400

The Fund’s 2019 administrative and capital expenses, net of investment-related expenses and excluding Pocantico core operations, totaled $9,369,000. Personnel costs (salaries and employee benefits) accounted for 67 percent of total administrative expenses.


3 Reflects committed level; current market value approximates $13.5 million.
4 Reflects committed level; current market value approximates $72.7 million.
5 This figure does not include all fees paid to investment managers. It excludes the Fund’s share of underlying management and incentive fees from alternative investment funds, private equity funds, and fund of funds, where investment fees are not directly invoiced but rather netted against investment performance.
6 Includes grant payments and employee matching gifts.
7 Includes consultancies and other expenses that advance the Fund’s mission but do not take the form of traditional grants.
8 Includes program-related administrative costs; excludes investment-related expenses.

2019 RBF Annual Review

Introduction

Featured Essay: A Broader Vision of Our Assets

Grantmaking

The Pocantico Center

Finance

Staff & Trustees

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