NEW YORK, NY – September 21, 2022 – Following an extensive national search, the David Rockefeller Fund’s Board of Directors is pleased to announce Lourdes J. Rodríguez, DrPH as the family foundation’s next Chief Executive Officer.
“I am excited about this opportunity to join the David Rockefeller Fund,” said Dr. Lourdes J. Rodríguez, CEO. “The DR Fund can use its reputational capital and networks to facilitate conversations about how to solve the global climate crisis, address the unjust criminal justice system, and unleash the acts of creation that are intrinsic to the arts. We are ideally situated to do this as part of our organizational journey; this is the next logical step to the work and one that must be handled with gentleness, humility, and bravery. I will work alongside the Board, family, staff, and grantees so that solutions might emerge from that space of deep and broad reflection.”
Her appointment comes at an important moment in the evolution of the David Rockefeller Fund. There is a natural generational evolution taking place, with a majority of the family seats on the Board occupied by the founders’ grandchildren, their spouses/partners, and an increasing number of non-family Board members.
In entering this position, Dr. Rodríguez will play a crucial role in examining the socioeconomic systems that have traditionally provided the underpinnings of formal philanthropy — exploring how issues of power and equity overlap with philanthropic practice while also actively defining and building new models for the foundation to be more just and inclusive.
Dr. Rodríguez previously served as a senior program officer with Austin, Texas based St. David’s Foundation, one of the country’s largest health foundations, investing more than $80 million annually across Central Texas. Specifically, Dr. Rodríguez’s work has centered on creating the community conditions needed to reverse poor maternal mortality and morbidity outcomes.
“While Lourdes’ departure from St. David’s Foundation is bittersweet, we are inspired by the profound impact she has had in our Central Texas community,” said Edward B. Burger, President & CEO, St. David’s Foundation. “We are forever grateful for the tremendous contributions she has brought to our work to ensure women and girls are supported with the resources and conditions vital for equitable health and well-being, including establishing Central Texas as a perinatal safe zone and centering women of color. On behalf of the entire Foundation, we are excited for her next chapter with the David Rockefeller Fund and the visionary work she will lead.”
Prior to joining St. David’s Foundation, Dr. Rodríguez served as Associate Professor and Director of Community-Driven Initiatives at the Dell Medical School at the University of Texas at Austin and as part of the leadership team and community engagement committee for the Planet Texas 2050 grand challenge.
She also worked as Program Officer at the New York State Health Foundation, co-directed the Urbanism and the Built Environment track in the Department of Sociomedical Sciences at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, and served as community liaison for the Columbia Center for Youth Violence Prevention. She received her doctorate in Public Health from Columbia University, and also earned her Master of Public Health degree from the University of Connecticut and her Bachelor of Science in Industrial Biotechnology from the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez.
“Given the population-level traumas created by issues like the climate crisis and the U.S. system of mass incarceration, we are especially eager to have Lourdes’ perspective on collective recovery and community wellness,” said Camilla Rockefeller, Chair of the Search Committee. “Her work on public health brings an important new lens to our work at the Fund.”
The search was conducted by Sandi Haynes, who worked alongside the Fund’s Board of Directors, Jamie Bennett, Mindy Thompson Fullilove, M.D., Michael Quattrone, Camilla Rockefeller, and Clay Rockefeller, as well as Lexi Fisher, the Chief Operating Officer, who previously served as an interim CEO.
About the David Rockefeller Fund
Inspired by the vision and generosity of its founders, David and Peggy Rockefeller, the David Rockefeller Fund seeks to foster and embody a more just, creative, and flourishing world.
We currently focus our work in three primary program areas:
- Climate: backs efforts to support and sustain bold, science-based leadership on equitable climate solutions. We are particularly interested in supporting non-profits run by, serving, and building power for the communities of color who have been the most disproportionately affected by the climate crisis, and in investing in under-funded constituencies and geographic areas. This includes organizing efforts to: address intersecting climate, gender, and racial justice inequities; defend voting rights; and accelerate and expand movements to keep coal, oil and gas in the ground and shift whole regions to affordable clean energy;
- Justice: supports initiatives and efforts to ensure more humane policies within detention systems and, preferably, to dramatically reduce the number of those incarcerated in favor of more just and equitable alternatives that provide healing to crime victims’ families and truly safer communities. We are especially interested in grassroots organizing, power building, and effective advocacy efforts to advance decarceration policies on a national scale; and
- Arts: supports arts and culture organizations that are using the arts to amplify social justice movements and/or progressive power-building efforts on a national level. We seek to fund exemplary and inspiring efforts that demonstrate how artistic practice can move beyond a single person or institution, affect much broader communities than a single audience, and advance social, economic, and ecological justice.
The David Rockefeller Fund seeks to address the root causes of problems, and is guided by core principles that include, among other things: respect, flexibility, risk-taking, and self-examination.