International House Receives Major Gifts from the Rockefeller Family to Foster Global Citizenship
NEW YORK, Feb 8, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — International House is pleased to announce it has received three gifts totaling $9 million: $5 million from the Estate of David Rockefeller, $2 million from the estate of his niece, Abby O’Neill, and a matching grant of $2 million from Mrs. O’Neill’s son, Peter O’Neill. These funds will support International House’s mission to instill cross-cultural understanding and leadership through a lived experience for the world’s most promising young professionals at the earliest stages of their careers.
International House, or “I-House,” is a nonprofit residence and program center that serves annually more than 700 graduate students from approximately 100 countries. It was founded in 1924 with the support of the Dodge family and John D. Rockefeller, the father of David Rockefeller. I-House was conceived as an antidote to the inward-looking focus of cultures and countries in the aftermath of WWI, and these generous gifts recognize the renewed importance of cultivating the values of cultural openness and respect.
The gifts were announced at a recent event celebrating David Rockefeller’s lifetime connection with I-House and his outsized impact on the institution. At the event, which was made possible by a grant from the David Rockefeller Fund, a special award in David Rockefeller’s honor was given to I-House alumna Evgenia Sokolova ’12 for demonstrating many of his personal characteristics: respect for other cultures, improvement in the lives of others, empathy for those less fortunate, and personal courage.
Rockefeller, who passed away in 2017 at the age of 101, had said that his early visits to I-House were critical to shaping his internationalist perspective, and for the rest of his life he became a tireless champion of the House and its mission. What began with Rockefeller’s visits to the House as a boy with his father evolved to his leadership as a Trustee, Chair of the Executive Committee, and Chair Emeritus, as well as a lifetime of philanthropic support. This leadership became a tradition of the Rockefeller family, as his niece Abby O’Neill served as Trustee until her death in 2017, and great-grandnephew Peter O’Neill, himself an I-House alumnus, is currently Chair of the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees.
David Rockefeller Jr. said of the gift from his father’s estate, “My father recognized the importance of learning about other cultures at a young age, and he long felt that the International House experience was one of the most direct and effective ways to achieve that global perspective. My siblings and I are proud and delighted to make this gift in our father’s honor.”
Peter O’Neill, in echoing that sentiment, said, “As an alumnus and Trustee of I-House, I can speak first hand and with great passion about the impact that I-House makes in opening minds and broadening perspectives among our young scholars in many disciplines from throughout the world.”
I-House Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Frank Wisner, said, “We are deeply grateful to the David Rockefeller and Abby O’Neill families for making this extraordinary investment in shaping internationalist mindsets just when such a mindset is most needed. These gifts uniquely position I-House for another century of enabling global understanding and co-operation.”
ABOUT INTERNATIONAL HOUSE
Founded in 1924 by the Rockefeller and Dodge families, International House is an historic non-profit residence and program center in New York City that promotes cross-cultural exchange annually among 700 graduate students and professional trainees from around the world. I-House Residents represent a broad diversity of academic interests and backgrounds, and its 65,000 Alumni include Nobel Prize winners, heads of state, award-winning authors, musicians and actors, and global CEOs. By instilling core values of Respect, Empathy, and Moral Courage, the I-House Experience helps build the next generation of globally-minded leaders in business, the arts, politics, and all other disciplines. I-House has been designated a landmark institution. Like @IHouseNYC on Facebook, and Follow @IHouseNYC on Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
For more information, contact:
Victoria Eng, Communications Lead, International House