The Rockefeller Foundation in New York City has announced that Judith Rodin will step down after nearly twelve years as president.
Rodin, the first woman to serve as president of the century-old foundation, led its adoption of a new strategic operating model characterized by partnerships with business and government, performance measurement, and innovation. She also championed and helped develop two new fields, climate resilience and impact investing, with the potential, as she wrote in an email message to supporters, to change "how both the public and private sectors act on behalf of [their] beneficiaries."
The foundation's focus on resilience was influenced by Rodin's efforts as the first female president of the University of Pennsylvania to revitalize the West Philadelphia neighborhood in the 1990s. Later, having watched New Orleans struggle to recover from Hurricane Katrina, Rodin made it a priority of the foundation to help cities worldwide build their long-term resilience to the combined effects of urbanization, globalization and climate change. During her tenure, the foundation has invested more than $500 million and leveraged billions more from corporate and public-sector partners in support of various resilience initiatives, including the 100 Resilient Cities network, the Global Resilience Partnership, and a partnership with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development that led to the creation of a National Disaster Resilience Competition and a Rebuild by Design competition.
Looking to boost the amount of private-sector funding available for social change efforts, the foundation also invested $50 million to help build the emerging field of impact investing — a term that was coined at an international conference hosted by the foundation at its Bellagio Conference Center in 2006. By 2010, $6 billion in new capital had been committed to impact investments around the world, with three-quarters of that growth tied directly to Rockefeller's field-building efforts.
"The Rockefeller Foundation has benefitted enormously from Judy Rodin's tenure as our president and CEO," said the foundation’s board chair, Dick Parsons. "Over the last twelve years, she has led the foundation to embrace a new and cutting-edge approach to grantmaking and innovation, and she has positioned us as a global leader in the urgent dialogue regarding how to make ours a better, more just, and more sustainable world. As both a longtime friend and a colleague her presence will be missed, though her vision will continue to guide us."