The Rockefeller Family
Effective philanthropy also requires patience — patience to deal with unexpected obstacles; patience to wait for the first, slight stirrings of change; and patience to listen to the insights and ideas of others.
With pride and admiration, the Carnegie family of institutions has taken the unusual step of recognizing another great name in the annals of American philanthropy: the name of Rockefeller. For it was John D. Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie who at the dawn of the last century, began the “business of benevolence” with the same vision and fervor that they founded their own great industrial ventures. Together they set the standards for philanthropy that even today serve as the guiding stars for the philanthropists and humanitarian leaders that have come after them.
The contributions of the Rockefeller family are staggering in their extraordinary range and in the scope of their contribution to humankind. As Rockefeller University this year celebrates its own centennial – one hundred years dedicated to scientific excellence for the benefit of humanity – we must also take note of the many other far-reaching benefactions of the Rockefeller clan that have literally affected the lives of millions and brought hope, education, research breakthroughs, medical advances, food programs, health care, and so much else to people in every walk of life, in every corner of the globe. Through the Rockefeller Foundation, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the creation of the University of Chicago, Spelman College and so many other institutions and endeavors such as the creation of Colonial Williamsburg, the Rockefeller family has enriched humankind and made the name Rockefeller synonymous with generosity, excellence and a vision of international relationships founded on mutual respect and goodwill.
Perhaps the best way to honor this great family is to honor David and Laurance S. Rockefeller, two of the most outstanding representatives – indeed, symbols – of this unparalleled family. Both of them have combined public service, civic commitment and private philanthropy in the service of not only our own city of New York, but of the state, the nation and the world as well. While their interests may vary, they have always complemented each other in preserving our heritage and advancing knowledge.