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The Importance of Philanthropy

Why does an institution bearing the Rockefeller name need to seek funds?

The Rockefeller University was established in 1901 through the generosity of John D. Rockefeller, Sr., and over the years the institution has been generously supported by his descendants and various foundations they have established. But today it is not feasible for one family to serve as the sole source of support for a major biomedical research center with an annual operating budget of more than $300 million.

Don’t federal grants provide generously for the nation’s scientists?

Federal grants in support of specific research projects cover approximately 36% of the University’s annual operating costs. No scientific institution can afford to rely exclusively on federal aid, for a number of reasons. The level of this support can fluctuate dramatically from year to year. Most federal grants cannot be used to purchase even the most important research equipment. This is a critical disadvantage as scientific breakthroughs increasingly rely on expensive instrumentation and technology. Finally, federal support for young scientists is extremely limited. Private funding is essential to ensure the future of science through the recruitment of gifted new investigators.

What is the role of the University’s endowment in providing for its scientists?

Through prudent investment and the careful management, the University maintains a strong endowment. Rockefeller is one of the most fiscally stable institutions in the nation. Income from The Rockefeller University endowment currently provides 30% of the institution’s annual operating costs.