Loading... please wait


Catalyzing the Change We Need Now

Main Stage

Programming Partner: The Rockefeller Foundation

Media Partner: Yahoo! Finance



    • Across the globe, explained Rajiv Shah, lower-income and BIPOC communities are far more likely to suffer the consequences of COVID-19. In the U.S., when compared to the general population, Black Americans are five times more likely to be hospitalized. In Brazil, the COVID-19 mortality rate within indigenous communities is three times higher than that within the general population. And in India, the lowest-income and most densely-populated states are seeing testing positivity rates higher than 25%. 
    • The vast inequality between developed and developing countries has been exacerbated by COVID-19. Developed countries have spent some 3-5% of their GDP on fiscal stimulus, an endeavor that most developing countries simply cannot afford to undertake. The World Bank is estimating that, for the first time since World War II, almost 500 million people in developing countries will be forced back into poverty. 
    • The Rockefeller Foundation is coordinating crucial COVID-19 response efforts. At the onset of the pandemic, the Foundation rapidly mobilized $100 million and committed to supporting testing and contract tracing across the globe. In the U.S., the Foundation devised a comprehensive national testing action plan and strategy, working with Congress to secure $25 billion in funding. The organization is now working to provide testing to underserved communities in 37 cities, states, and localities, including two Native American nations.


  • Shah emphasized the role of cross-sector partnerships in COVID-19 response and recovery. The Rockefeller Foundation has joined forces with scores of companies around the world to ensure that the path to recovery is just, equitable, and sustainable. 
  • In this interview, Shah announced a new public charity, the RF Catalytic Capital Inc. The new tool is designed to accelerate the Foundation’s ability to achieve global impact through aggregating impact investment and grant capital with new partners.

“If you want to address COVID-19 in America, focus on African American and minority communities. It is a tragedy that an African American kid is far more likely to experience a COVID-related death event in his family and then walks out to the street and feels unsafe in a country that is still not able to make every American citizen feel safe in their bodies,” Rajiv Shah


Key takeaways & next steps:


  • Shah urged the audience to give as much as they are able—the Rockefeller Foundation takes donations in both large and small increments. 
  • The Rockefeller Foundation offers opportunities for humanitarian-minded individuals to contribute knowledge and ideas
  • The new public charity, RF Catalytic Capital Inc, represents the next chapter for the Foundation.



Session Speakers