The Energy Foundation: MacArthur, Pew, Rockefeller, Hewlett, Packard, and McKnight Foundations, 1991

Center for Strategic Philanthropy and Civil Society (Duke)



Case Study Sector


In January 1991, the Rockefeller and MacArthur Foundations, along with the Pew Charitable Trusts, announced the creation of a new partnership. The three large foundations committed $20 million to create the Energy Foundation, a nonpartisan grant-making institution dedicated to developing and disseminating technologies and practices to reduce America’s dependence on non-renewable energy, and to boost energy efficiency.
The Energy Foundation has worked to promote increased energy efficiency and sustainability, primarily through a focus on technology and regulatory solutions. Three “strategic assumptions” underlie all the Foundation’s work:

  1. New technologies can grow the economy with far less pollution.
  2. Policy shapes today’s energy markets, determining which technologies thrive or wither.
  3. Intelligent philanthropy can influence energy policy with multi-billion dollar payoffs.



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