2012: A Year in Review

After 99 years of creating impact and catalyzing innovation, 2012 yielded incredible achievements and progress across all of the Rockefeller Foundation’s focus areas and initiatives. Explore the timeline below to learn more about some of those achievements that stood out over the year, including the acceleration of universal health coverage as a key development goal, the launch of our Centennial initiative, and the continued growth of the impact investing sector to unlock private capital to improve the lives of poor or vulnerable people worldwide.

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Meeting of the US- Brazil Joint Initiative on Urban Sustainability

January 13, 2012

The second meeting of the US- Brazil Joint Initiative on Urban Sustainability (JIUS) kicked off a six month process of identifying green technology, products and services in the waste and stormwater management, innovative waste solutions and green building sectors that were highlighted in a green economy “cookbook,” intended to help match project developers and communities with financing for short- and long-term implementation of city-scale investments in urban sustainability. JIUS is a collaboration between the US  and Brazil to demonstrate how investment in the environment can be an economic driver by stimulating demand in for green and ‘smart’ infrastructure, technologies, products and services.

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Another victory for the impact investing community

FEBRUARY 12, 2012

New York becomes the seventh state to put into effect legislation for benefit corporations, allowing company boards to consider social and environmental goals ahead of profits and shareholder value. The Rockefeller Foundation’s grantee B Lab has been critical to building Global Impact Investing Rating System, a third-party rating system of the impact of benefit corporations. The legislation was a victory for the Rockefeller Foundation’s Impact Investing initiative and the community of social enterprises in the U.S.

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Catalysts for Change

April 2-4, 2012 

The Rockefeller Foundation collaborates with Institute for the Future (IFTF) to run a first-of-its-kind global forecasting game called Catalysts for Change. The goal of the online game is to convene people from all over the world identify innovative approaches to addressing the problems of poverty. Over 48 hours of game play, 1,616 players from 79 countries participate, using IFTF’s collaborative forecasting platform building and improving upon the solutions already proposed by leading nonprofit organizations to address the 1.2 billion people living in extreme poverty.

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West African Rural Resilience Initiative

May 7, 2012

Oxfam America expands its Rural Resilience Initiative to West Africa with support from the Rockefeller Foundation. Rockefeller’s $450,000 commitment supports the start of the initiative in Senegal to enable poor farmers to strengthen their food and income security by managing risks through a four-part approach—improving natural resource management (community risk reduction), accessing microcredit ("prudent" risk taking), gaining insurance coverage (risk transfer), and increasing savings (risk reserves).

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Rio +20: A Framework for Action

June 20-22, 2012 

Rio +20: The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development is held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, bringing together representatives and heads of state from more than 190 governments to renew commitments toward the development of measurable sustainable development goals globally. At a special session, the Rockefeller Foundation in partnership with UN Global Compact announced a “framework for action” to encourage investors, large corporations and governments to engage with and support the rising number of social enterprises that address social and environmental needs across a range of sectors, including agribusiness, education, energy, financial services, health, housing and water. 

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Innovation Forum

June 26-27, 2012 

The Rockefeller Foundation hosts its second Innovation Forum, where we announce of the winners of its 2012 Innovation Challenges, a competition designed to surface solutions to pressing global challenges such as access to fresh water, food insecurity, and rapid urbanization. The competition invites people and organizations around the globe to submit innovative ideas addressing one of three issues: using data to improve the quality of life for poor or vulnerable communities; improving or scaling agricultural water use efficiency; and encouraging and supporting young people to enter and stay in farming. Selected from nearly two thousand entries, the eight winners are eligible for grants of $100,000 each to further develop their ideas.

Watch Judith Rodin's Opening Remarks:

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Africa's Economic Transformation

August 16, 2012 

The Foundation’s Africa Regional Office in Nairobi convenes policy makers, members of academia, the private sector and grantees from around the continent to discuss the pivotal role innovation will play in securing Africa’s economic transformation. 

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Impact Investing Gains Momentum

September 24, 2012 

Rockefeller Foundation President Judith Rodin speaks at the White House Forum on Philanthropy Innovation, lauding the White House proposal to devote more than $100 million in federal funds to incentivize Social Impact Bonds at the state level. The Rockefeller Foundation has supported the growth of Social Impact Bonds to expand preventative services that benefit poor or vulnerable populations, including the first-ever SIBs pilot in Peterborough, UK, to reduce the rates of prisoner re-entry.

WATCH: Judith Rodin and Arianna Huffington talk social impact investing

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Ensuring Resilient Livelihoods

September 25, 2012  

Against the backdrop of the United Nations General Assembly, The Rockefeller Foundation, USAID, and the United Nations Foundation host a high level event highlighting the new international commitment to building resilience for vulnerable communities. Dr. Judith Rodin and USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah welcome expert speakers including Valerie Amos, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator; Ertharin Cousin, Executive Director, World Food Programme; and Heikki HolmÃ¥s, Minister of International Development of Norway for rich discussion of key alliances and innovations enabling relief and development actors to come together to build resilience and help sustain development gains.

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Impact Investment Forum

October 19, 2012 

The Rockefeller Foundation partners with Omidyar Network and the Avina Foundation to co-host an impact investing convening in Sao Paulo, Brazil, to find ways to unlock capital to address Latin America’s development and social needs. This is the first meeting of four held to catalyze impact investing across the Global South.

Photo: Alexandre Giesbrecht

More: Impact Investing: A Growing Global Opportunity

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Superstorm Sandy

October 29, 2012 

Superstorm Sandy hits the Northeastern United States, killing 72 people and causing $68 billion in damages. In New York State, more than 300,000 homes are destroyed, 2 million people lose power, and many subway lines took months to reopen after extensive flooding. In the weeks to follow, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo appoints Dr. Rodin co-chair of the NYS 2100 Commission: Building Resilience in New York, which provides a number of recommendations to make the state’s infrastructure and systems better able to withstand and bounce back from future disasters. 

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Horn of Africa Risk Transfer for Adaption Program

December 6, 2012

The largest weather index insurance payout for small-scale African farmers is triggered by satellite technology. More than 12,200 farmers in 45 villages in Northern Ethiopia benefit from drought protection for a total $322,772 in payouts offered through the Horn of Africa Risk Transfer for Adaption Program (HARITA), launched in 2007 by Oxfam and, supported by The Rockefeller Foundation, Swiss Re, The International Research Institute for Climate, Africa Insurance Company and several other partners. 

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The Eve of Our Centennial

december 31, 2012

The end of 2012 marks the start of the Rockefeller Foundation’s Centennial. We approached our 100 year anniversary with the goal of using the milestone as a springboard to the future, engaging people at both high-levels and at the grassroots across geographies and sectors to take action and create innovative solutions to the problems that will define the next century of our work.

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Moving Towards Universal Health Coverage

January 24-28, 2012

The annual Prince Mahidol Award Conference supported by the Rockefeller Foundation in Bangkok, Thailand was focused on Moving Towards Universal Health Coverage: Health Financing Matters, a historic framing for an influential health conference. At the close of the meeting, a ten-point declaration recognized Universal Health Coverage (UHC) as fundamental to the right to health, and marked the commitment by more than 800 delegates to translate the rhetoric of UHC into better, more equitable health outcomes.

From the RockBlog 

Politics, Policy-Making, and the Implementation of Health Financing and Delivery 

March 6: The Rockefeller Foundation announces support for the City of Chicago’s push to establish bus rapid transit  through $485,000 in grants to The Chicago Community Trust, as well as more than  $250,000 worth of technical support for planning the downtown East-West Transit and the Western/Ashland BRT corridors.  The announcement came after Mayor Rahm Emanueal announced plans for an infrastructure bank to attract private financing for city infrastructure projects, including the proposed BRT.