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September 22, 2014

Rockefeller Brothers Fund Among 50 Divesting From Fossil Fuels

The Rockefeller family, whose vast wealth derives from the oil business, will announce plans Monday to end investment in fossil-fuel industries by its $860-million philanthropic organization, reports The New York Times. The Rockefeller Brothers Fund is among 50 foundations making the pledge to divest from coal and oil on the eve of the United Nations climate-change summit starting Tuesday, according to Reuters.

They join a growing divestment movement that now encompasses some 650 wealthy individuals and 180 institutions—including foundations, religious organizations, universities, and local governments—with combined assets of more than $50-billion. "This is a threshold moment,' said Ellen Dorsey, executive director of the Wallace Global Fund, which has led efforts to recruit philanthropic groups to the divestment cause. "This movement has gone from a small activist band quickly into the mainstream."

Rockefeller fund President Stephen Heintz said Standard Oil tycoon John D. Rockefeller, who built the family fortune in the 19th century, would approve of the move. "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," Mr. Heintz said in a statement.