EDF Remembers the Life, and Mourns the Death, of Robert W. Wilson

December 24, 2013


Eric Pooley, 917-859-2037, epooley@edf.org
Sharyn Stein, 202-572-3396, sstein@edf.org

“We have lost a great friend.

“Robert W. Wilson was a Wall Street legend who became a prominent philanthropist. For 25 years, he served on the board of Environmental Defense Fund.

“Bob had a passion to get things done in the world. Widely read and blessed with a keen intellect, he had the ability to predict where the world was going, a talent that informed his investments and, in later years, his philanthropy.

“After retiring from managing his own portfolio, he stepped up his philanthropic investments with the aim of bestowing his fortune during his lifetime. Always determined to find the greatest return, he challenged nonprofit groups to maximize their results. In doing so, he was often provocative, but eager to learn the counterarguments and quick to change his mind when the facts required.

“No fan of big government, Bob saw that government was necessary to protect the environment but that it should set performance-based rules rather than bureaucratic rules that could hamper the economy. He understood that the conservation cause needs to engage private enterprise. Initially skeptical of the science of climate change, he quickly came to regard it as a critical challenge. He wanted carbon pollution cut in an efficient and sensible way, knowing that for a solution to be environmentally sustainable, it must also be economically sustainable.

“Bob helped EDF grow with a pivotal $100 million challenge grant that inspired scores of others to increase their own giving. I am personally grateful to Bob for his leadership and support over many years.”

-Fred Krupp, President, Environmental Defense Fund

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