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March 24, 2016

Rockefeller Family Fund to Eliminate Fossil-Fuel Holdings

The Rockefeller Family Fund announced Wednesday that it will fully divest from fossil fuels "as quickly as possible" and singled out ExxonMobil for stinging criticism over its handling of climate issues, Reuters and The Guardian write.

The foundation pledged to pull its money from the oil, oil sands, and coal industries, saying "there is no sane rationale" for companies to continue seeking new sources of hydrocarbons, and it called ExxonMobil "morally reprehensible." The attorneys general of California and New York are investigating allegations that the company misled the public and shareholders about the implications of its research on climate change.

The Rockefeller Family Fund was founded in 1967 by five descendants of Gilded Age oil baron John D. Rockefeller, whose Standard Oil was a precursor to ExxonMobil. A larger family charity, the $860 million Rockefeller Brothers Fund, announced in 2014 that it would eliminate all holdings in fossil-fuel firms.

Read a Chronicle of Philanthropy article on the role of foundations in the debate over fossil-fuel divestment.