Credit: New York Times
SO THE SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE (SFC)
Edition: THREE STAR
Origin: Pocantico Hills, N.Y.
LP The president of the Rockefeller Foundation has called for a new American philanthropic strategy to help alleviate poverty in the Third World and protect the imperiled global environment.
TX At a three-day conference here marking the 150th birthday anniversary of John D. Rockefeller, Peter Goldmark Jr., the foundation's president, urged Rockefeller descendants to encourage the birth of more foundations around the world. ""If they will lead - as they have so often - many of us will follow," Goldmark said. He also challenged the biggest American foundations to direct 25 percent of their annual spending to the twin goals of preventing damage to the environment and increasing economic equity between the industrialized and developing countries. The top 10 foundations could provide $300 million a year, Goldmark said. ""Every major foundation should have an international dimension to its program," he said. ""In a period of planetary environmental danger, global communications, intercontinental missiles, a world economy and an international marketplace of ideas and arts and political trends, there is simply no excuse not to." Goldmark's call for action evoked a standing ovation from participants, including younger Rockefellers, foundation leaders, investment bankers, environmentalists and visitors from 13 countries. ""He has pulled it off, I think," observed Dr. Willem Welling, executive director emeritus of the Bernard van Leer Foundation in the Netherlands, which spends $15 million yearly for early childhood education. But he also recalled that European and American foundation leaders in 1981 weighed, but then rejected, a proposal earmarking 5 percent of their income for poorer countries. CURRENT SPENDING The 10 largest American foundations, which have $25 billion in assets, now spend about $100 million for international activities. This money comes mainly from the Ford, Rockefeller and Kellogg foundations and the Carnegie Corp. But sharing of resources for environmental activities is being explored, partly by the Rockefeller and MacArthur foundations, along with the Pew Charitable Trusts, said Rebecca Rimel, executive director of Pew. The conference here at the 2,700-acre Rockefeller estate, overlooking the Hudson, was partly a private party for some fourth- and fifth-generation family members - there are 88 descendants - to honor the family patriarch who, with Andrew Carnegie, created the institutional model for American philanthropy. ""But we felt it would not be meaningful just to meet and say grandfather was great," said David Rockefeller, who, with his surviving older brother, Laurance, represents the third Rockefeller generation. ""So we focused on "philanthropy for the 21st century.' " ECLECTIC GUEST LIST * The guest list was eclectic, including Prince Karim Aga Khan, the spiritual leader of 15 million Ismaili Muslims. One of the world's richest men, he gives away about $130 million a year, much of it to schools, a network of medical facilities, housing in poor African communities and economic development. The prince advised Western philanthropies in the Third World to build on the power of local communities to organize, set priorities and act. This is an opportune moment for international philanthropy, said David Rockefeller Jr., chairman of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, which co-sponsored a Moscow seminar this summer on the role of foundations. ""The Eastern Europeans as they move toward a free-market economy are looking for an appropriate place in Western-style philanthropy," Rockefeller said. ""Japan tomorrow could become a major philanthropic force in the world, because it has the funds, it is very conscious of its image, and it also shares many environmental problems." A CAUTIONARY NOTE But participants from Japan cautioned against being overly optimistic about an early involvement. Japan traditionally looks to government for activities carried out by private Western foundations and has yet to develop a foundation culture, said Akira Iriyama, executive director of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation in Tokyo. In expanding abroad, foundations must ""remember the enormous third world of poor people in this country," said Pablo Eisenberg, president of the Center for Community Change in Washington, an aid and advocacy group. Although the Rockefeller Foundation devotes 60 percent of its spending to causes abroad, Goldmark said, it will always maintain a strong role in the United States.
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