Sarah Brennan Joins Rockefeller Family Fund as Associate Director
The Rockefeller Family Fund (RFF) announced today that Sarah Brennan will join its staff as an associate director. Ms. Brennan, a leader in climate philanthropy for over a decade, has been working on climate issues at Bloomberg Philanthropies since 2019. She will help lead the Funder Collaborative on Oil and Gas, a project initiated by and housed at RFF. Her first day at RFF will be March 11.
“We’re thrilled to have Sarah join our team,” said RFF director Lee Wasserman. “She has provided brilliant and respectful strategic guidance to climate activists for years. Our grantees and funder colleagues, many of whom have worked closely with her during her tenure at Bloomberg, will continue to benefit from her insights as she grows the Funder Collaborative on Oil and Gas.”
In addition to Rockefeller Family Fund, the Funder Collaborative on Oil and Gas’s main contributors include Bloomberg Philanthropies, ClimateWorks Foundation, Crankstart Foundation, David Rockefeller Fund, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Sandler Foundation, Sequoia Climate Fund, Tortuga Foundation, and Zegar Family Foundation, among others. The Funder Collaborative makes grants to organizations fighting oil and gas infrastructure, helps establish coalitions and informal networks of groups aiming to weaken the industry’s financial standing and political influence, and has created a forum for donors interested in learning more about oil and gas issues. The Funder Collaborative builds upon Rockefeller Family Fund’s leadership role in holding Exxon and other fossil fuel companies accountable for climate-driven damages and fighting the industry’s decades-long disinformation campaign that hinders climate progress.
“The United States is now the biggest producer of both oil and gas in the world,” said Ms. Brennan. “If the world is to have any hope of avoiding the worst impacts of climate change, we have to greatly reduce our levels of production as quickly as we can. I have already had the opportunity to work with many people who are leading the shift away from oil and gas in America and I look forward to helping the Funder Collaborative continue to play a leadership role in that shift. I want to thank Bloomberg Philanthropies for the trust they placed in me over the past several years and for the strong role they have played in creating momentum for this work across the philanthropic community. I look forward to continued partnership.”
A Brooklyn native, Ms. Brennan has an A.B. in history and public policy (magna cum laude with honors) from Brown University and master’s degrees from the Harvard Kennedy School and Columbia Business School. She has worked in climate philanthropy since 2011, first leading the Robertson Foundation’s portfolio of environmental grantmaking and then Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Beyond Carbon campaign. Ms. Brennan serves on the board of the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis.
When working as a consultant for the Funder Collaborative in 2018, Ms. Brennan and RFF’s Helen Song established an extensive data base of proposed oil and gas facilities. That database has been expanded and is now available to the public at https://oilandgaswatch.org/, a website administered by the Environmental Integrity Project.
The Funder Collaborative on Oil and Gas was founded at a meeting of about two dozen foundation representatives at a 2018 meeting in Houston. By providing strategic guidance to grantees and through pooled and aligned funding, it has played a pivotal role in limiting the buildout of oil, gas and petrochemical facilities in the United States. Appalachian Mountain Advocates, Clean Air Council, Coastal Alliance to Protect our Environment, Columbia Riverkeeper, El Puente, Environmental Integrity Project, Fenceline Watch, Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis , Louisiana Bucket Brigade, Niskanen Center, RISE St. James, Rogue Climate, Texas Campaign for the Environment Fund, Together Louisiana, WE ACT for Environmental Justice and West Virginia Rivers are among its many grantees. Its grantees have played important roles in killing the PennEast Pipeline, the Pacific Connector Pipeline, the Kalama methanol factory and two proposed gas export terminals. They have also played leadership roles in preventing approval of both the Mountain Valley Pipeline and the Formosa Plastics Factory, projects that are not yet dead, but appear to be in serious trouble.
Rockefeller Family Fund is a U.S.-based, family-led public charity that initiates, cultivates, and funds strategic efforts to promote a sustainable, just, free, and participatory society.