World Resource Institute

WRI Annual Report 2018-19: Operations & Finance

Operations And Finance

We’re grateful to our donors for supporting the institutional infrastructure necessary to ensure the success of our work. Just as families need a roof overhead to feel safe, programs need an institutional foundation of systems and processes to manage risk and make their work more effective. Our Board Committee for Audit and Risk Management ensures we effectively manage WRI’s continued growth. Charity Navigator and our auditors certify that we’re allocating the right amount of resources for compliance activities.

In 2018 we made the following investments in ensuring that WRI’s global network is appropriately equipped to achieve our mission:

  • We allocated significant startup funds to international offices as they strive to achieve a level of program funding that will enable them to pay for institutional infrastructure on their own. They operate important programs, yet lack the flexible funds needed for such key functions as management of grants and contracts, institutional communications and exploring new opportunities.

  • We reorganized and expanded operational support for WRI China to ensure that it meets new legal requirements, and increases its contributions to China’s sustainable development efforts, as China’s new law governing foreign-affiliated non-governmental organizations takes effect.

  • To develop management skills, 50 managers across our global network began a 12-month Leadership Academy Certification program comprised of self-study and a monthly two-hour virtual global session to share practical skills that can be put into action.

  • Our internal WRI Sustainability Initiative shows that we walk the talk when it comes to acting on WRI’s principles, through a range of successful programs, including:

    1. Our Zero Waste program, which added composting and increased education about recycling, so we help keep 80 percent of WRI’s waste out of landfills.

    2. A flex work program that helps manage our carbon footprint, increasing staff productivity and the effectiveness of workspace utilization, reducing workspace costs and carbon footprint per employee.

    3. Plastics Free Weeks, where staff who accept a “plastics free” challenge learn to reduce or eliminate single use plastics to curb the impact on the ocean, wildlife and people.

We strive for operational excellence across our global network starting with the recruitment, retention and management of WRI’s staff, our most important asset. We manage our endowment, the contributions entrusted to us, and our facilities in ways that are in line with our values and advance our mission. We maintain strict financial controls to ensure that all contributions are managed in compliance with donors’ wishes.

The trust of our supporters is of great concern to WRI. We receive donations from individuals, governments, foundations, and corporations, and have stringent financial controls in place to ensure compliance with donors’ wishes. One hundred percent of our revenue directly supports WRI’s mission. To maintain our credibility and effectiveness, our income and expenditures are reviewed by professional auditors.


(As of September 30, 2018, with comparative totals for 2017, $000s)

Grants/Contributions $103,567 $91,407
Federal Grants 5,572 5,921
Support from Endowment Income/Others 2,013 1,215
TOTAL Unrestricted Revenues and Other Support $111,152 $98,543
Program Activities $99,396 $88,721
General Administration 7,016 7,072
Development 2,470 2,691
TOTAL Expenses $108,882 $98,485
Change in Operating Net Assets 2,270 58
Change in Designated Net Assets 0 149
Change in Temporarily Restricted Net Assets 31,304 (8,888)
Total Change in Net Assets 32,803 (8,680)
Ending Net Assets $114,869 $82,066

The $33 million increase in 2018 net assets was largely attributable to increased revenue for multi-year grants as well as slight gains in investments. Many of our large donations run over multiple years and the increase in 2018 reflects the renewals that materialized and were pending in 2017.


To foster deeper involvement in our work, we offer programs for corporate and individual donors and a network for WRI alumni.

CORPORATE CONSULTATIVE GROUP is a global, cross-industry membership network of companies that engage with WRI experts, drive business value through WRI’s tools and research, and stay up to date on cutting-edge intelligence, trends and solutions.

Contact Emily Neagle, 202-729-7626

GLOBAL LEADERSHIP COUNCIL is an invitation-only group of individuals committed to helping enhance WRI’s profile, resources, and effectiveness. Members gain access to WRI insights, research and analysis.

Contact Jenni LeBlanc, 202-729-7985

SUSTAINERS CIRCLE is a committed group of individuals whose support of $1,000 or more helps WRI respond to emerging opportunities, seed new work and invest in innovation. Members are invited to informative, exciting events and briefings and receive weekly updates on WRI’s work.

Contact Heather Sullivan, 202-729-7875

WRI ALUMNI NETWORK is an affinity group linking hundreds of former WRI staff to each other and current WRI staff. Launched in January 2017 with an alumni edition of WRI’s Stories to Watch, the association welcomes all former staff and board members, who stay in touch through a WRI Alumni Network Facebook group.

Contact Rich Barnett, 202-729-7647

WRI BOARD ALUMNI NETWORK is an opportunity for former Directors to stay involved and to help steer the Institute’s work in a number of different ways, based on individual interests and expertise.

Contact Jenni LeBlanc, 202-729-7985


Learn more about our work through our free resources, connect with us via social media and join our family of donors.


Our free resources—online at and in print—provide objective, fact-based analysis of the latest environment and development information. WRI’s flagship Insights blog is a great introduction to our work.


Our social media sites let you join the conversation about important issues and share ideas and information with your networks.


We welcome support from governments, foundations, companies and individuals who share our belief that we can protect the planet and improve people’s lives. To learn more or make a secure online donation, please visit or call Heather Sullivan at 202-729-7875.