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Eileen Rockefeller

Conservationist, venture philanthropist, and author of Being a Rockefeller, Becoming Myself

  • About Eileen Rockefeller

    Eileen Rockefeller is an author, public speaker, and venture philanthropist.

    Her recent memoir, Being a Rockefeller, Becoming Myself, details a journey of finding herself amidst one of America’s most storied families.

    Rockefeller’s newest work, a debut selection of poems titled Space Between, invites you into a more personal place yet still – to join her private relationships with people, nature, and spirit. Her poetry moves you beneath the surface of everyday experience. She brings shifting patterns of light and dark to poems brimming with intimacy and generosity, hurt and healing, lovers and loved ones, and most of all with the ever-present thrum of the natural world.

    Rockefeller is also visionary catalyst in the fields of mind/body health, social and emotional learning, and innovative philanthropy for clean energy. As founder of the Institute for the Advancement of Health in 1981, she pioneered broad acceptance of mind/body interactions in health and disease. She foresaw the related need for social and emotional learning (SEL) as an integral part of education, prompting Daniel Goleman’s bestseller, Emotional Intelligence, and the co-founding of CASEL (Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning) in 1994. She and her husband, Paul, founded the Growald Family Fund in 2007 to help reduce climate change by transitioning the energy sector to clean alternatives.

    Her other philanthropic efforts include being a founding chair of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors (2000), and is chair of her family’s generational association. She speaks internationally on topics relating to legacy, family, and philanthropy, leading discussions around the values that have helped keep the Rockefeller family together for seven generations.

    The youngest daughter of David and Peggy Rockefeller, and a great-granddaughter of John D. Rockefeller, she has two adult sons and lives with her husband on an organic farm in Vermont.

    She received her BA from Middlebury College in 1974 and her MA from Lesley College in 1976.

  • Speaking Topics

    Being a Rockefeller. Becoming Myself; Seeking a Meaningful Life

    Eileen shares her experience of growing up in one of America’s best-known families. Her authentic and often humorous stories will elucidate the prevailing question:"what is it like to grow up as a Rockefeller?" while drawing upon themes that demonstrate that regardless of background, there is a certain universality to the human experience.

    Family Values Through the Generations: What to Keep, What to Toss, and How to Tell the Difference

    Using her own family of origin as the blueprint, Eileen shares examples that both served and did not serve the sense of unity within her extended family. She describes how her generation learned from the examples of her uncles and aunts, and how she has sought alternate means of showing support and solidarity, from rituals that included everyone to structures for deep listening. She also outlines her family’s shared values around philanthropy and how it’s the glue that has held her family together for seven generations.


    Eileen’s father, David Rockefeller, has often told her, “It’s easy to give money away, but it’s not easy to give it well.” Making a list of your common values is the first of many ways to turn the burden or confusion of deciding how and where to give money into pleasure and satisfaction. Eileen builds from the weight of her family’s expectations, which made her early years of philanthropy a chore, to the collaboration of her extended family around shared interests, to the later partnership with her husband that turned philanthropy into a meaningful adventure with measurable success. She gives tips along the way for how philanthropy can be implemented within families to open communication and encourage connection across generations.

  • Praise for Eileen Rockefeller


    Eileen is an inspiration and a wonderful person. We all fell in love with her and she was so well received. Her presentation added incredible value to our proceedings.

    EY Global Family Business Center of Excellence, Brand, Marketing & Communication Leader

    Eileen did a marvelous job; her passion, commitment, knowledge, and personal experience came through. She’s not just giving lip service to the subject of philanthropy, this is something that is her. We were honored, thrilled, and lucky to have Eileen

    Citibank, Wealth Management – Latin America, Vice Chairman

    Everyone loved it and seemed very engaged… more than any other event we’ve hosted. I’m still amazed at how many people lingered after the event and discussing various topics with their peers. That’s EXACTLY what we are trying to accomplish… starting a conversation about our families.

    Tolleson Wealth Management, President

    I’m sure you could tell by the response to your presentation how much the CosClub members enjoyed it. I heard so many complimentary comments after the event: “wonderful,” “great,” “she was so open about sharing her thoughts and letting us see her vulnerability as well as her immense talent.”  The phrase I heard most often was “She’s a lovely lady.” Your presentation had just the right mix of provocative thoughts and humor. I think all of us left feeling we have a sense of what it is like “being a Rockefeller” and hoping we can apply your attitude to our own families. And I’m so glad you read some of your poetry…. Thank you again for giving us such a truly meaningful presentation.

    Cosmopolitan Club, Events Coordinator
  • Books by Eileen Rockefeller

  • Media About Eileen Rockefeller

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and Availability

  • 212 572-2013
  • Eileen Rockefeller travels from Vermont

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