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Making big bets on catalytic, early-stage innovations for outsized impact

From funding the scientists who developed the vaccine for yellow fever to catalyzing the field of impact investing, The Rockefeller Foundation has a long record of innovation that has led to great transformations.

This is a principle that inspires us to pioneer strategies, adopt unique approaches, and work to uncover, pilot, and scale breakthrough solutions. We reframe complex social problems to spark new thinking and recombine existing tools, approaches, and ideas to accelerate meaningful social change.

As we urgently address the fundamentals of people’s well-being through initiatives focused on health, energy access, jobs, food, and cities, we are also looking toward a future that will grow from the rapidly evolving trends we observe today. To prepare for that future, we will make bold bets on disruptive solutions that will allow us to leapfrog current approaches.

The first area will focus on radically accelerating the pace at which private capital can be deployed towards social challenges.

The second area will focus on the ubiquitous and rapidly evolving data and technologies that permeate every aspect of society.

The third area will focus on the Foundation’s long-standing belief in science to develop new knowledge and insight that can eventually be applied to improve people’s well-being.

Our Current Initiatives

Innovative Finance

Global philanthropic funds, even when combined with the development or aid budgets of governments, add up to billions of dollars. Meanwhile, the cost of solving the world’s most critical problems runs into the trillions—including an estimated $2.5 trillion annual funding gap needed to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in developing countries alone. Private capital is urgently needed in order to fill this gap and address pressing global challenges.

Data Science for Social Impact

More than 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are produced every day. This abundance of data, combined with rapidly advancing analytics capabilities, could improve the lives of billions of people around the world – yet it’s only living up to a fraction of that potential. While private-sector businesses have been building and deploying data science capabilities for many years, most organizations in the non-profit, civic, and public sectors are far behind. They have a strong appetite to use applied…

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