Rockefeller and his foundation

John D Rockefeller was once the richest man in the world. The first billionaire in the world.

By age 25, he controlled one of the largest oil refineries in the US. 

By age 31, he had become the world’s largest oil refiner.  

By age 38, he commanded 90% of the oil refined in the US.     

By 50, he was the richest man in the country.

By the time he died, he had become the richest man in the world. 

As a young man, every decision, attitude and relationship was tailored to create his personal power and wealth. 

But, at the age of 53, he became ill. 

His entire body was racked with pain and he lost all of his hair. In complete agony, the world’s only billionaire could buy anything he wanted, but could only digest soup and crackers. 

An associate wrote, “He could not sleep, would not smile and nothing in life meant anything to him.”

His personal, highly skilled physicians predicted he would die within a year. 

That year passed agonisingly slowly. 

As he approached death, he awoke one morning with the vague realisation of not being able to take any of his wealth with him into the next world. 

The man who could control the business world suddenly realised he was not in control of his own life. 

He was left with a choice. 

He called his attorneys, accountants and managers and announced that he wanted to channel his assets to hospitals, research and charity work. 

John D. Rockefeller established his Foundation. 

This new direction eventually led to the discovery of penicillin, cures for malaria, tuberculosis and diphtheria. 

But perhaps the most amazing part of Rockefeller’s story is that the moment he began to give back a portion of all that he had earned, his body’s chemistry was altered so significantly that he got better. 

It looked as if he would die at 53 but he lived to be 98.

Rockefeller learned gratitude and gave back the vast majority of his wealth. 

Doing so made him whole. 

It is one thing to be healed. It is another to be made whole.

Before his death, he wrote this in his diary: 

“I was taught to work as well as play

My life has been one long, happy holiday

Full of work and full of play

I dropped worry on the way

And God was good to me everyday!”


Image courtesy: Frontline magazine, India

Rockefeller Center is a complex of skyscrapers and theatres in New York City developed by John D. Rockefeller in the 1930s. The 12-acre complex of limestone buildings in midtown Manhattan incorporates wood veneering, murals, mosaics, sculptures, metalwork, and other allied arts. The Center has since served as a model for other urban complexes, and has grown into a focal point of tourism, particularly in winter when it is home to an ice-skating rink in its sunken plaza, which includes the famous Prometheus Fountain statue and a large Christmas tree. Pic courtesy: National Postal Union, USA.