Applaud Philanthropic Organization’s Divestment from Oil


Target: Rockefeller Brothers Fund President Stephen Heintz

Goal: Support a philanthropic organization’s symbolic commitment to clean, renewable energy through divestment from fossil fuels

The well-known Rockefeller Brothers Fund announced plans to divest from fossil fuels the same week as the historic People’s Climate March and a United Nations climate summit. Though the impact of the organization’s decision will be relatively minor financially for the organization, the impact on the scale of global awareness is undeniable.

The divestment isn’t particularly surprising either; in 2010, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund committed to investing in companies that meet goals of sustainability, and the fund plans this year to drop investments in tar sands and coal to one percent. The organization also is not alone in its stance against unsustainable and environmentally toxic energy. According to a report from Arabella Advisors, at least 70 other philanthropic foundations are committing to a decrease fossil fuel investments. The Rockefeller heirs now join the 800 global investors including cities, universities and religious groups that have collectively pledged to divest $50 billion from fossil fuels over the next five years.

The mostly symbolic divestment is made all the more impactful by the fund’s history in oil. The Rockefeller fortune that allowed the creation of its philanthropic organization was amassed by the Standard Oil Company, founded by John D. Rockefeller in 1870. The fund’s president, Stephen Heintz, said of John D. Rockefeller, “We are quite convinced that if he were alive today, as an astute businessman looking out to the future, he would be moving out of fossil fuels and investing in clean, renewable energy.”

Support the Rockefeller Brothers Fund in its commitment to environmental sustainability and longevity.


Dear Mr. Heintz,

Sustainable energy is not a new philosophy, and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund is not the first organization to commit to supporting the planet’s longevity. What is new is the force with which we are confronting the crisis globally, and the fund’s pledge to divest from fossil fuels is symbolically monumental in that fight. What the momentum of your organization’s commitment—along with that of the other 800 organizations pledging to divest—ensures, is that climate change can no longer be ignored, that companies refusing to invest in renewable energy are held accountable, and that the people demand that law makers make steps to change our future.

I applaud your pledge to invest in renewable energy and divest from fossil fuels.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

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