The RBF at 75: Reflecting on Risk and Failure
Posted on: February 14, 2017
We marked the Rockefeller Brothers Fund’s 75th anniversary in November 2015 and continue to reflect on common themes from our history through a series of essays.
As a sector, philanthropy can afford to take risks that private investors and government programs cannot. In fact, at the RBF, we feel obliged: if our success rate were 100 percent, we wouldn't be directing our resources at problems whose gravity and necessity make them worth tackling. In this essay, we revisit our history to explore how a foundation can maintain its "experimental disposition" while also recognizing when it is time to wind down a less than successful strategy.