Rockefeller Foundation

The Rockefeller Foundation is a philanthropic organization and private foundation with her headquarters in New York City, United States. The preeminent institution established by the six-generation Rockefeller family, it was founded by Standard Oil owner John D. Rockefeller (“Senior”), along with his son John D. Rockefeller, Jr. (“Junior”), and Senior’s principal oil and gas business and philanthropic advisor, Frederick Taylor Gates, in New York State on May 14, 1913, when its charter was formally accepted by the New York State Legislature. Its central mission over the past 100 years has been “to promote the well-being of humanity throughout the world.”

Some of its objectives and achievements include:

  • Financially supported education in the United States “without distinction of race, sex or creed”
  • Helped establish the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in the United Kingdom;
  • Established the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and Harvard School of Public Health, two of the first such institutions in the United States;
  • Established the School of Hygiene at the University of Toronto in 1927;
  • Developed the vaccine to prevent yellow fever;
  • Helped The New School provide a haven for scholars threatened by the Nazis.

In the 1920s, the Rockefeller Foundation started a program to eradicate hookworm in Mexico. The program exemplified the time period’s confidence in science as the solution for everything. This reliance on science was known as scientific neutrality. The Rockefeller Foundation program stated that there was a crucial correlation between the world of science, politics and international health policy. This heavy reliance of scientific neutrality contradicted the hookworm program’s fundamental objective to invest in public health in order to develop better social conditions and to establish positive ties between the United States and Mexico.

The Hookworm Campaign set the terms of the relationship between Mexico and the Rockefeller Foundation that persisted through subsequent programs including the development of a network of local public health departments. The importance of the hookworm campaign was to get a foot in the door and swiftly convince rural people of the value of public health work. The roles of the RF’s hookworm campaign are characteristic of the policy paradoxes that emerge when science is summoned to drive policy. The campaign in Mexico served as a policy cauldron through which new knowledge could be demonstrated applicable to social and political problems on many levels.

A major program beginning in the 1930s was the relocation of German (Jewish) scholars from German universities to America. This was expanded to other European countries; when war broke out it became a full-scale rescue operation. Another program, the Emergency Rescue Committee was also partly funded with Rockefeller money; this effort resulted in the rescue of some of the most famous artists, writers and composers of Europe.

Another significant program was its Medical Sciences Division, which extensively funded women’s contraception and the human reproductive system in general. Other funding went into endocrinology departments in American universities, human heredity, mammalian biology, human physiology and anatomy, psychology, and the pioneering studies of human sexual behaviour.

In 1950 the Foundation mounted a major program of virus research, establishing field laboratories in Poona, India; Port of Spain, Trinidad; Belém, Brazil; Johannesburg, South Africa; Cairo, Egypt; Ibadan, Nigeria; and Cali, Colombia. In time, major funding was also contributed by the countries involved, while in Trinidad the British government and neighbouring British-controlled territories also assisted. Sub-professional staff were almost all recruited locally and, wherever possible, local people were given scholarships and other support to be professionally trained. In most cases, locals eventually took over management of the facilities. Support was also given to research on viruses in many other countries. The result of all this research was the identification of a huge number of viruses affecting humans, the development of new techniques for the rapid identification of viruses, and a quantum leap in our understanding of arthropod-borne viruses.

In the arts it has helped establish or support the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Ontario, Canada, and the American Shakespeare Festival in Stratford, Connecticut; Arena Stage in Washington, D.C.; Karamu House in Cleveland, Ohio; and Lincoln Centre for the Performing Arts in New York. In a recent shift in program emphasis, President Rodin eliminated the division that spent money on the arts, the creativity and culture program. Thousands of scientists and scholars from all over the world have received foundation fellowships and scholarships for advanced study in major scientific disciplines.

 Headquarters of Rockefeller Foundation: New York, United States

Source of Funding for Rockefeller Foundation: The Rockefeller and the Frederick Taylor Gates family

 Inter-relationship between Rockefeller Foundation and other NGOs

  • Rockerfeller Foundation works with other NGOs to achieve its goal of creating meaningful and measurable impact for poor and vulnerable communities through smart globalization.
  • Rockerfeller Foundation assists other NGOs in nurturing innovation, pioneering new fields, expanding access to and distribution of resources, and, ultimately, generating sustainable impact on individuals, institutions, and communities within the context of active initiatives
  • Rockerfeller Foundation in collaboration with other NGOs work on interconnected issue in areas selected because they are critical global challenges that the Foundation is distinctively positioned to address.
  • The Foundation works in regions where we can leverage their assets in assisting humanity.

Inter-relationship between Rockefeller Foundation and National Health Agencies

  • Rockefeller Foundation promotes of new ideas for national health agencies
  • they alerted the national health agencies on emerging issues in relation to health care needs and development.
  • Rockefeller Foundation expertise and talent which have become vital for the work of national health agencies both at the policy and operational levels;
  • Rockefeller Foundation provides expert knowledge and advice to national health agencies
  • Rockefeller Foundation provides a major channel for dissemination of information to their members, thus helping to fill the knowledge gap present in national health agencies.

 Relationship between Rockefeller Foundation and International Health agencies

  • Rockefeller Foundation promotes the policies, strategies and programmes derived from the decisions of international health agencies through their funding programme
  • Rockefeller Foundation collaborates with regard to various programmes of international health agencies through funding to help in implementation.
  • Rockefeller Foundation ensuring the harmonizing of international health agencies with the need of the people mostly affected.
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