The Rockefeller name is one of America’s most well-known names in business. During the late 19th century and the turn of the 20th century, Standard Oil, founded by J.D. Rockefeller, was the most successful oil company in the country. J.D. Rockefeller’s son, J.D. Rockefeller Jr., joined his father’s business in 1897, but his involvement in Standard Oil would only last for 13 years.
On this day, March 3rd, in 1910, J.D. Rockefller Jr. announced his retirement from Standard Oil and J.P. Morgan’s U.S. Steel company. Rockefeller’s retirement was largely prompted by a scandal involving bribes to two Congressmen by Standard Oil head, John Dustin Archbold. Turning away from hands-on involvement in the business world, Rockefeller decided to focus on one of his life-long ambitions, philanthropy.
Three years after retiring from his father’s oil company, J.D. Rockefeller Jr. helped to found the Rockefeller Foundation. The Rockefeller Foundation, set up “to promote the well-being of mankind throughout the world,” is now one of the most prominent philanthropic organizations in the United States. The foundation’s first decade of operation witnessed several notable philanthropic contributions, including: $100,000 for an American Red Cross headquarters in Washington, D.C.; founding an International Health Commission; and spending $25 million to establish the world’s first school of Hygiene and Public Health.