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The Rockefeller Foundation to Host Annual ‘Innovation Forum’ to Explore How the Benefits of New Technologies Can Positively Impact the World’s Poor

NEW YORK—The Rockefeller Foundation, celebrating 100 years of innovation, announces that it will be hosting its annual Innovation Forum tomorrow in New York City as part of its Centennial initiative honoring its 100yearold mission to promote the well-being of humanity. The Forum will focus on one of today’s most pressing issues—how to ensure that the benefits of new technologies do not bypass the world’s poor. The Foundation will seek to address this issue by showcasing some of the latest cutting-edge technologies and inviting participants to become innovators by imagining how these technologies might benefit people around the world. The Foundation will then leverage ideas and recommendations explored at the Forum to search for new ways of ensuring rapid advancements in technology to help the world’s most vulnerable.

The annual Rockefeller Foundation Innovation Forum convenes some of the most creative and inventive minds from the worlds of business, government, civil society and journalism to bring innovation to bear on urgent challenges facing poor or vulnerable people around the world.

The Forum will provide an opportunity for participants to learn about cutting-edge inventions, engage in discussions with participants from a variety of different sectors, and discuss how we may use the technologies and opportunities of the 21st century to help those who are becoming more vulnerable due to economic, social and environmental forces.

The annual Innovation Forum will also honor a number of individuals and organizations whose innovative work exemplifies the mission and vision of The Rockefeller Foundation. This year’s award recipients include:

  • Ratan Tata, Chairman of Tata Sons Ltd., who will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award for innovation in philanthropy.
  • Sir Ronald Cohen, Chairman of The Portland Trust and Big Society Capital and Director of Social Finance US, and widely recognized as the father of social investment, who will receive an innovation award for his work.
  • J. Carl Ganter, Director and Co-Founder of Circle of Blue, an international network of leading journalists, scientists and communications design experts reporting on the global freshwater crisis, who will receive an innovation award for his work.
  • Design for Change—represented by students from chapters around the globe—will receive a Young Innovators award for the global movement that has been designed to give children an opportunity to express their own ideas for a better world and put them into action.

“After almost 100 years of global impact, innovation remains at the heart of our work. It is the theme for our Centennial initiative, and it is the subject of this Forum,” said Dr. Judith Rodin, President of The Rockefeller Foundation. “The need for innovation is clear, but the process for achieving it is less so. It certainly involves making new and unforeseen connections between people and ideas. It is this idea that informs this gathering of thinkers and doers from extraordinarily diverse backgrounds.”

Participants in the 2012 Innovation Forum include noted global thought leaders Arianna Huffington, President and Editor-in-Chief at The Huffington Post; Aneesh Chopra, the First Federal Chief Technology Officer of the United States; Claire Diaz Ortiz, Director of Social Innovation and Philanthropy at Twitter; Maria Aiolova, founding Co-President of Terreform ONE; Bre Pettis, Co-Founder and CEO of MakerBot Industries; Mark Post, Professor at Maastricht University; Carlo Ratti, Director of the MIT SENSEable City Laboratory; and Limor Fried, Founder of Adafruit Industries.

The Rockefeller Foundation

The Rockefeller Foundation’s mission to promote the well-being of people throughout the world has remained unchanged since its founding in 1913. Today, that mission is applied to an era of rapid globalization. Our vision is that this century will be one in which globalization’s benefits are more widely shared and its challenges are more easily weathered. To realize this vision, the Foundation seeks to achieve two fundamental goals in our work. First, we seek to build resilience that enhances individual, community and institutional capacity to survive, adapt, and grow in the face of acute crises and chronic stresses. Second, we seek to promote growth with equity in which the poor and vulnerable have more access to opportunities that improve their lives. In order to achieve these goals, the Foundation constructs its work into time-bound initiatives that have defined objectives and strategies for impact. These initiatives address challenges that lie either within or at the intersections of five issue areas: basic survival safeguards, global health, environment and climate change, urban economic security, and social and economic security. For more information, please visit

For Media Inquiries
Laura Gordon, The Rockefeller Foundation, 212-852-8216,