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WRI’s “Courage to Lead” Dinner: It’s About More than the Money

More than 350 guests joined WRI last week to hear how Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Related chairman and CEO Stephen M. Ross, and former WRI President Jonathan Lash are changing our cities, our country, and our world for the better. The occasion was WRI’s “Courage to Lead” dinner, held in conjunction with our 30th anniversary. The event raised more than $1 million in critical unrestricted support, which enables WRI to respond quickly to emerging issues and new opportunities.

Many of WRI’s most important donors and partners helped make this a very special evening, including Bloomberg, Related, DuPont, Alcoa and Alcoa Foundation, and the Generation Foundation. Many other companies, individuals, and foundations contributed, and a full list can be viewed online. We appreciate all of their support. I’ve had the pleasure to work on special events at WRI for more than a decade. Despite the headaches that often come with organizing big affairs, the “Courage to Lead” dinner is always one of my favorite events, mostly because of the people. I don’t know of many other environmental fundraising dinners where you might encounter a young bike-sharing entrepreneur rubbing elbows with a real estate mogul and a former governor, or find Republicans and Democrats discussing energy policy over a nice piece of line-caught Atlantic swordfish with pea shoots and a plum-sake reduction.

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WRI’s “Courage to Lead” dinner always draws a fascinating mix of guests from the corporate, government, environmental, and policy arena. It seems to embody WRI’s philosophy of bringing together leaders from a variety of sectors in order to find solutions for today’s toughest environmental and economic development challenges. In a time where our politics have become ever more polarized, I find this extraordinarily inspiring. Our guests said the same.

If you’d like to experience WRI’s “Courage to Lead” dinner virtually, I invite you to view video and photos from the event. To learn more about WRI's 30 years of big ideas, check out our history and interactive timeline.

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