Stephen M. Ross

NET WORTH: $7.6 billion

SOURCE OF WEALTH: Related Companies

FUNDING AREAS: Education, Sustainability

OVERVIEW: Stephen Ross has given hundreds of millions to his alma mater, the University of Michigan, and is the school's single largest donor. He has supported another alma mater, NYU, and has given a big sustainability gift. Ross moves philanthropy through the Stephen M. Ross Foundation, though grantmaking through this newly-minted charity is sparse. 

BACKGROUND: Stephen M. Ross graduated from the University of Michigan, received a J.D. from Wayne State University, and a master of law degree from NYU. Ross is the chairman and founder of Related Companies, which he formed in 1972. Related Companies has developed over $22 billion in real estate and owns real estate assets valued at over $15 billion. Ross is also the owner of the Miami Dolphins.


EDUCATION:  Ross has given the University of Michigan some $380 million through the years. UMich's business school is named in his honor. In 2017, Ross donated $50 million to University of Michigan; some of those funds went to the Student Success initiative, to help students develop "career and professional skills, build a robust network of advisers and career advocates, personalize their learning journey, and access internships and career opportunities with leading companies around the globe. " Previous donations include $200 million in 2013, $100 million for the Stephen M. Ross athletic campus for use by 900-plus student-athletes in all sports, and $100 million to further develop a state-of-the-art collaborative learning environment on the Ross School campus. 

A $20 million gift went to NYU School of Law in 2015.

SUSTAINABILITY: Ross is a director of World Resources Institute (WRI), whose mission is to promote environmental sustainability, economic opportunity, and human health and well-being. Ross established the WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities with a $30.5 million gift; the organization works to "integrate urban planning, sustainable transport, energy and climate change, water resources and governance."

OTHER: The Stephen M. Ross Foundation has supported Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Ross is on the board of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. He is also a director of the Jackie Robinson Foundation.

LOOKING FORWARD: In his late 70s, Ross has put a philanthropic bullseye on the University of Michigan. But perhaps his recently minted family foundation will direct funds to a greater variety of causes in the coming years. New York City and Southern Florida are likely regions of giving.


Stephen M. Ross Foundation
c/o Perspecta Trust LLC
1 Liberty Ln E, Ste 100
Hampton NH 03842