Innovating new models to both generate and provide access to clean energy that will foster economic development.

Cars today can drive 300 miles with no gasoline, yet in rural Asia and Africa children are choking from kerosene lamps, women risk danger walking unlit roads, and families are trapped in poverty all because they don’t have access to electricity. But as we see more families and businesses using solar panels and neighborhood micro-grids, we believe it’s possible to bring electricity to the 1.2 billion people who live without it. Just as we created a market for investments that make impact, not just money, we must create a new market for bringing energy to the developing world – extending a key ladder to opportunity for hundreds of millions living in poverty.

Building off the global momentum to bring sustainable energy to all, The Rockefeller Foundation is working with governments, the private sector, technologists, and other advocates to catalyze an energy transformation by accelerating electrification in environmentally and economically sustainable ways. Through our Smart Power for Rural Development initiative, our aim is to spark long-term economic growth and power opportunities for those left behind in the modern economy— empowering and bringing dignity to the lives of millions.

Our Current Initiatives

Smart Power for Rural Development

More than one billion people across the globe are locked out of the modern economy because they lack sufficient access to electricity to power their homes, communities, and businesses. If we provide access to reliable electricity, we can power social and economic development and transform lives.


2 billion people are still living without access to reliable, affordable electricity, and nearly half of them do not have access to electricity at all. Together with UMass Amherst, Columbia University, Carnegie Mellon University and Colorado School of Mines, we are committed to building the data tools of the future that can help end energy poverty today.

Global Commission to End Energy Poverty

The GCEEP is comprised of heads of development banks, utilities, and off-grid firms, along with senior academics, industry leaders and investors. Throughout the course of the year ahead the Commission intends to forge a robust, actionable consensus that lays out viable pathways for providing electricity services to hundreds of millions of under-served homes and business more quickly and more cost-effectively than the current trajectory.

The Latest

See All »