Sustainable Development Program

The Rockefeller Brothers Fund

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Grant amount: More than US $10,000

Deadline: Rolling

Applicant type: Nonprofit Government Entity Hospital / Clinic College / University

Funding uses: Project / Program

Location of project: Bosnia and Herzegovina, China, Montenegro, Serbia, United States

Location of residency: Anywhere in the world

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About this funder:



Note: Staff members actively identify organizations that are well-positioned to meet programmatic goals. While we remain open to unsolicited requests, applicants should be aware that the likelihood of an unsolicited request becoming a grant is low.

Sustainable Development Guidelines

Human activity is causing climate change, rapid loss of biodiversity, and accelerating degradation of Earth’s life support systems. These developments threaten the livelihoods, health, and security of people in all nations and cultures as well as the well-being of the greater community of life. The RBF’s sustainable development grantmaking endeavors to address these challenges by supporting development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. The program supports global stewardship that is ecologically based, economically sound, socially just, culturally appropriate, and consistent with intergenerational equity.

The Sustainable Development program maintains a significant focus on the United States in light of its disproportionate impact on the global economy, politics, and the environment. The program’s work is also advanced in collaboration with the Fund’s “pivotal place” programs—New York City, Southern China, and the Western Balkans—and with the Democratic Practice program’s Global Governance portfolio. Pivotal place programs support work in specific countries or regions to build the knowledge, policies, organizational capacity, and leadership needed to advance sustainable development in locally appropriate ways. The Fund’s Global Governance portfolio supports broad participation in forging the international agreements and institutional arrangements needed to encourage investment in sustainable development. Fund staff work to ensure that global developments inform work in specific places and that locally grounded efforts generate lessons and innovations needed for global impact.

With the recognition that the impact of unchecked climate change threatens all other conservation efforts, the Sustainable Development program focuses its U.S. grantmaking on building a green economy at the federal, state, and local levels.

Goal: Advance Solutions to Climate Change


  • Building public and policymaker understanding and support for a range of actions to address the threat of climate change. 
  • Supporting implementation efforts to build a clean energy economy at the federal, state, and local levels.
  • Supporting efforts to reduce reliance on carbon-intensive energy sources.
  • Supporting targeted efforts to advance international progress on climate change.

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.


  • To be eligible for a grant, organizations should be tax-exempt or seeking support for a project that would qualify as educational or charitable.
  • The Sustainable Development program is focused on efforts to promote effective climate policies in the United States through support for high-leverage opportunities at the federal, state, and municipal levels (including New York City as the Fund’s home).
    • In addition, the program provides support for select international efforts to advance global climate negotiations.


  • What We Do Not Fund
    • Support for Individuals:  
      • We do not provide grant support to individuals, including funding for education, health care, and travel to or attendance at conferences.
    • Meetings, Publications, and Films:
      • We do not generally support meetings, publications or films, including documentaries, through its grantmaking, unless directly related to a Fund-supported project. Learn more about the use of The Pocantico Center for conferences.
    • Phased-Out Programs:
      • The Fund strives to be a strategic funder in carrying out its mission.As such, we evaluate our grantmaking regularly and phase out lines of grantmaking as appropriate.
      • No funding is available for phased-out programs. For more information about the RBF’s past grantmaking, visit the Past Programs page or see the Grants Search.
    • Capital Expenses: 
      • We do not award grants for capital expenses, including the construction and renovation of buildings.