From floods and earthquakes to pandemics and economic collapse, catastrophic events are increasing in frequency and impact. The question is no longer if disruption will happen, but when, and if we’ll recover. To date, the Rockefeller Foundation has invested and committed more than $100 million in helping cities, institutions and systems prepare for, withstand and bounce back more quickly and effectively from disaster.

Click to the left to learn more about one example of our resilience work in 2012 to help New York City rebound more effectively after Superstorm Sandy and prepare for future shocks, and view the breadth of resilience initiatives around the world.

Photo: Stefanie Deji



Resilience Before and After
Superstorm Sandy

On October 29, 2012, Superstorm Sandy made landfall along the east coast of the United States, destroying homes, devastating businesses, and badly damaging critical pieces of New York’s physical and natural infrastructure. The storm was just the most recent catastrophic event in a new century characterized by the sudden and unforeseen – and a reminder that we need to prepare our cities, even those with many resources, to withstand crises and bounce back quickly and effectively, come what will.

Along with other partners, The Rockefeller Foundation had been working to build New York’s resilience long before the storm. In the aftermath of Sandy, New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo enlisted our expertise to put forth specific recommendations which influenced the federal, state and local governments to approach rebuilding through a resilience lens.


Equitable Growth

The same global forces that increase risk and volatility — urbanization, globalization, and changing demographics, to name just a few — also create opportunities and innovations, including technology, access to data and options for mobile health care and banking. To ensure poor and vulnerable populations benefit from these gains, the Rockefeller Foundation has pursued a number of initiatives to advance equitable growth.

Click to the right to see one example of how we've worked toward this goal in 2012 through supporting the impact investing sector in Latin America, and see how we advance equitable growth across all of our focus areas.


Equitable Growth


Over the past seven years, the Rockefeller Foundation has invested more than $40 million in building the field of impact investing – investments intended to generate both financial return and social impact. While the industry has taken root in the United States and Europe, Latin America has enormous opportunity to unlock capital toward solving the region’s inequalities in income, education and health care. In 2012, the Rockefeller Foundation hosted the first in a series of convenings, bringing together more than 100 investors, philanthropists and entrepreneurs in Sao Paulo, Brazil, culminating in grants to local organizations.

Click on the pictures to the left to see how these investments are translated to impact in the lives of the poor or vulnerable. 


Omidyar Network and the Rockefeller Foundation provided more than $800,000 in capital for the Latin America Impact Economy Innovations Fund Challenge, which invited proposals from organizations interested in receiving support to fuel initiatives aimed at fostering Latin America’s impact economy, specifically by aiding the growth of the impact investing industry and social enterprise sector.

Click on the images from left to right to see how investment turned into impact in Latin America.


Avina Americas, a local nonprofit that fosters links and partnerships among social business leaders and identifies priority agendas for action that meet the unique needs of Latin America, oversaw the challenge. Avina regranted money to organizations to accelerate market driven solutions for advancing social and charitable goals, such as relieving poverty and promoting sustainable development.

Click on the images from left to right to see how investment turned into impact in Latin America.


One of the recipients of the Challenge grant was Artemisia, a local non-profit organization in Brazil that looks for and supports entrepreneurs and social businesses with the potential to transform the country, and offers education, resources, incubation and acceleration services to increase their capacity and competency. Through its hands-on Impact Accelerator program, high-potential early stage social businesses undergo a six-month program that builds internal capacity and creates relationships with the investor community.

Click on the images from left to right to see how investment turned into impact in Latin America.


Programa Vivenda, a start-up offering housing solutions for slum communities, completed Artemisia’s Impact Accelerator program in 2011. The company offers “property restoration kits” to alleviate the unhealthy conditions of slum houses and improve structural quality. The price of each kit is up to 65 percent lower than conventional restoration alternatives and can be paid in multiple installments if needed. The kits are delivered within 15 days of a request, rather than the months it usually takes for repair requests to be completed.

Click on the images from left to right to see how investment turned into impact in Latin America.


The conditions in Ana’s bathroom were deplorable. “My bathroom had no grout,” Ana said, “and the water from the shower was opening up a hole in the ground. Worms and millipedes began to appear in the hole due to the humidity.”

Instead of buying the construction materials herself, and taking months to finish the renovation, Ana bought Vivenda’s bathroom kit, which in addition to restoring the fixtures, greatly reduced the humidity in the room. She now has a clean, safe and beautiful bathroom – free of mold and worms. The picture shows the transformation – and just one of the successes impact investing has helped to achieve.

Click on the images from left to right to see how investment turned into impact in Latin America.