John D. Rockefeller, Jr.'s understanding of labor issues prior to 1914 was shaped largely through his philanthropic and civic activities, including contributions to five liberal, Progressive-era organizations concerned with improving industrial conditions. Simply put, philanthropy provided his education.
Following the tragic events in Colorado, especially the so-called Ludlow Massacre, JDR Jr. employed philanthropic giving, in combination with a variety of other strategies, to address the problems at the Colorado Fuel & Iron Company (CF&I), while also restoring the Rockefeller family's good name: He used philanthropy to:
- Improve social and economic conditions in Colorado immediately following the strike;
- Involve the YMCA's industrial department as part of the company's expanded employee welfare programs;
- Express gratitude and demonstrate camaraderie with CF&I employees following his historic 1915 visit to Colorado;
- Promote the ideas of employee representation and personal relations in business; and
- Encourage research in the emerging fields of industrial relations and organizational behavior.
This research report highlights philanthropic aspects of JDR Jr.'s response to the strike and are based on a larger investigation that examined JDR Jr.'s efforts as milestone events in modern public relations and industrial relations as well as JDR Jr.'s emergence as a 20th century icon. Observations about his philanthropic strategy are discussed.
- Publisher and Funder
- Rockefeller Archive Center
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