Support to culture in Africa, Latin America and Asia is not the preserve of governments. Large private funds with their own cultural policy operate worldwide. Their strategies are less coloured by political considerations and stem from socially responsible entrepreneurship or philanthropic ideals. Part four.

Rockefeller Foundation

September 2007 -

The fact that the Rockefeller Foundation with its capital of 3.5 billion dollars is one of the richest philanthropic organisations is not surprising. Its founder, John D. Rockefeller, is still considered one of the richest men the world has ever known. History chronicles him as America’s first billionaire. The businessman and founder of Standard Oil wanted to use his fortune to promote the welfare of humanity, establishing his foundation in 1913. In its earliest days, the Rockefeller Foundation focused on scientific philanthropy. It was the financial force behind the discovery of the vaccination for yellow fever and the "green revolution" in Latin America. Today the Rockefeller Foundation devotes particular interest to globalisation. It supports initiatives that make the process of global economic, political and cultural integration more balanced. Its objective in doing so is to ensure that the poor and vulnerable groups are not left behind.

The foundation's charity is aimed both inside and outside of the United States. From its head offices in New York, the foundation says that it has no plans to improve societies or to enforce a certain model for economic development. It is therefore constantly looking for innovative ideas. Most of its programmes focus on the usual development sectors: health, urbanisation and agrarian production. The Rockefeller Foundation has a partnership programme with nine African countries that strengthens universities and stimulates scientific networks.

Support for individual artists is primarily limited to the United States. The foundation does offer a four-week residency programme for musicians, visual artists and writers in its Bellagio Centre in Italy. It also awards grants to media artists throughout the world. These artists may not submit their own applications but must be nominated. The Rockefeller Foundation also supports publications on culture and development, such as Community, Culture and Globalization in 2002 and Cultural Vitality in Communities, which was published in 2006.