Dinner recognizes philanthropist Mayor Michael Bloomberg; honors Stephen Ross and Jonathan Lash;

Raises more than $1 million to support organization’s mission

The World Resources Institute is celebrating its 30th Anniversary tonight with the “Courage to Lead” dinner at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in New York City. At the dinner, WRI will recognize the contributions of its special guest, philanthropist and Mayor Michael Bloomberg; and honor Stephen Ross, chairman, CEO and founder of Related Companies; and Jonathan Lash, president of Hampshire College and WRI’s former president.

The dinner emcees are Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, co-hosts of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” Andrew Steer, president-elect of WRI and current special envoy for climate change at the World Bank, will give remarks.

“This is an exciting event for WRI, which is celebrating 30 years of making big ideas happen,” said James Harmon, chairman of the Board of Directors, WRI, and chairman of Caravel Management. “This is a great opportunity to recognize leaders – past, present, and future— who have been associated with WRI. Mayor Bloomberg, Stephen, and Jonathan all demonstrate the leadership qualities, vision, and skill to help us in creating a more sustainable planet.”

The dinner will raise more than $1 million to help the organization fulfill its mission and respond to new and emerging challenges. WRI expects around 350 people, from a mix of government, business, non-profit, and philanthropic organizations, to attend the dinner.

Mayor Bloomberg is one of the most influential and important leaders of his generation. In addition to tacking urban sustainability, transportation, and public health challenges in New York, he is using his influential voice and philanthropy to advance innovative solutions around the world.

“Bloomberg Philanthropies is committed to improving public safety and public health while also addressing climate change. And we’re glad to be partnering with WRI in these efforts,” said Mayor Bloomberg.

WRI is honoring Stephen Ross, a visionary leader, businessman, and real estate developer. Ross’ Related Companies have transformed urban landscapes and created more vibrant cities for people and business. Ross has been a strong advocate for polices that make cities more sustainable, and he leads by example as demonstrated by Related's commitment to green building, and high quality public and amenity space. Ross also serves on WRI’s Board of Directors.

“I am extremely proud to be receiving this honor from such a visionary organization. I have gotten to know WRI from both the inside and outside, and to me it exemplifies all the best qualities of a non-profit by utilizing rigorous and evidence-based analysis to find pragmatic solutions to sustainability,” said Ross. “I am excited about WRI’s newest initiatives, including its growing presence in China, India, and Brazil that offer the potential for a truly global outlook and impact.”

In addition, WRI is honoring its former president, Jonathan Lash, who helped transform the organization into a global player. Today, WRI has more than 240 staff members, operations of more than $45 million annually, and a presence in over 50 countries.

Lash was at the helm of WRI for 18 years, leading the organization to expand internationally, deepen its business engagement, and influence the direction of the environmental movement. Lash is now the President of Hampshire College, where he is focused on educating the next generation of leaders in a rapidly changing world. Lash currently serves on WRI’s Board of Directors.

“WRI is a unique organization working at the forefront of many of today’s biggest challenges. With its analytical capacity and focus on results, it is really well-positioned for the next chapter of its history,” said Lash. “I am grateful to have had the chance to work with WRI’s extraordinary people, and I know that under Andrew Steer’s guidance WRI will continue to have great success in the years to come.”

Bloomberg, DuPont, and Related Companies provided leadership support for the “Courage to Lead” dinner. Alcoa, the Alcoa Foundation, and the Generation Foundation also made generous contributions.

In addition, Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Caterpillar Foundation, and the Shell Foundation have provided critical ongoing support for WRI’s sustainable cities and road safety work.

A special exhibit of megacity images by award-winning Dutch photographer Martin Roemers, presented by Anastasia Photo Gallery of New York, will be on display.


Read about WRI’s 30 year history and see an interactive timeline.

Additional photos and videos will from the “Courage to Lead” dinner will be available soon.