Stephen Ross Honored with ESPY Award for Philanthropy


Stephen M. Ross is an accomplished business magnate in the real estate and sports industries — and now he’s an ESPY award winner.

Ross’ foundation RISE, the Ross Initiative for Sports Equality, was honored with the Stuart Scott ENSPIRE Award at ESPN’s third annual Sports Humanitarian Awards July 11.

To the world at large, Ross is perhaps better-known as the principal owner of the Miami Dolphins and Hard Rock Stadium. Others may recognize him as chair and majority owner of The Related Companies, a global real estate development firm he founded in 1972. Here in Ann Arbor, he is best known as the principal benefactor of the Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, as well as a proud alum who has made large donations to Michigan athletics.   

On top of all this, he remains dedicated to using his resources and influence to help make the world beyond Ann Arbor a better place.

The goal of Ross’ organization RISE is to improve race relations by creating an alliance of professional sports leagues, athletes, educators, media networks, and sports professionals to promote understanding, respect, and equality through public awareness campaigns and educational programming. In just two years it has reached more than 30,000 students, coaches, and athletic staff.

“Sports is a common denominator — it unifies, brings people together,” Ross said during the keynote address of the 2016 Michigan Sport Business Conference. “Now is the time for sports to address issues such as racism, domestic violence, child abuse. The world is looking at sports. Sports has to stand up, not bury their heads in the sand.”