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International Education Board (1923–1938)

Total Assets (endowment): $28 million[1]

Prominent Grants:$40,000 institutional grant to Niels Bohr and the Institute for Theoretical Physics at the University of Copenhagen in 1923. Its largest appropriation in the United States was given to the California Institute of Technology to construct a telescope at Mount Palomar.

Summary: The International Education Board (IEB) was incorporated in 1923 with funding from John D. Rockefeller, Jr. The IEB was dedicated to the “promotion and/or advancement of education, whether institutional or otherwise, throughout the world.” The foundation was led by Wickliffe Rose, who described the IEB as “a bird of passage; will therefore undertake no permanent functions; will establish and maintain no institutions of its own; will seek rather to encourage development of institutions that may be depended upon to derive their support from the people they serve; will seek to direct its efforts to fields of educational activity that may be regarded as germinal …”[2]

the IEB focused its funding in the areas of agriculture and the natural sciences. IEB support was extended through grants to universities and research institutes, as well as to promising individuals through fellowships. The majority of its grants were dispersed in Europe.

In fifteen years the IEB supported 57 institutions and 603 fellows, including 509 in the natural sciences. In its 1928 reorganization, the Rockefeller Foundation (RF) had created a new Division of Natural Sciences and gradually, the RF took over much of the work of the IEB. The IEB was officially closed on December 31, 1938.