Stephen M. Ross

For other people named Stephen Ross, see Stephen Ross (disambiguation).
Stephen M. Ross

Ross at an event at Miami Beach Senior High
Born (1940-05-10) May 10, 1940
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
Residence New York, New York, U.S.
Palm Beach, Florida, U.S.
Nationality United States
Alma mater University of Michigan
Wayne State University
New York University
Occupation Chairman of The Related Companies,
95% owner of Miami Dolphins
Known for Time Warner Center
Net worth Increase US$ 12 billion (March 2016)[1]
Spouse(s) Kara Gaffney
Children 4
Jennifer Ross
Kimberly Ross
Avery (step-child)
Drew (step-child)
Relatives Max Fisher (uncle)

Stephen M. Ross (born May 10, 1940) is an American real estate developer, philanthropist and sports team owner. Ross is the chairman and majority owner of The Related Companies, a global real estate development firm he founded in 1972. Related is best known for developing the Time Warner Center, where Ross lives and works, as well as the Hudson Yards Redevelopment Project. According to Forbes magazine, Ross had a net worth of $12 billion.[2] Ross is also the principal owner of the Miami Dolphins and Hard Rock Stadium.[3]

Ross is a major benefactor of his alma mater, the University of Michigan; with lifetime contributions of $313 million to the university, he is the largest donor in university history.[2][4] According to the Chronicle of Philanthropy, Ross's higher education gifts rank behind only those of fellow American billionaire New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, whose recent $350 million contribution[4] to Johns Hopkins University increased his lifetime total to $1.1 billion.[5] The University of Michigan renamed its business school, the Ross School of Business, in Ross's honor in 2004, after Ross made a $100 million gift to fund a new business-school building.[6][7] In September 2013, Ross donated $200 million to the University ($100 million to the Business School and $100 million to Michigan athletics), the largest single gift in the history of the university; the University of Michigan announced plans to rename the university's athletics campus in his honor.[4] Ross also gave $5 million to the athletic department's academic center and $1 million to endow a professorship in real estate at the Ross School of Business.[4]

Early life and education

Ross was raised in a Jewish family[8][9][10] in Detroit, where he went to Mumford High School,[11] and later graduated from Miami Beach Senior High School. He attended the University of Florida and then transferred to the University of Michigan Business School, where he earned his bachelor's degree in accounting in 1962. He later received a Juris Doctor from the Wayne State School of Law in 1965 and an LL.M. degree in Taxation from the New York University School of Law in 1966.[12] These later degrees were financed by a loan from his uncle, the businessman Max Fisher,[11] who Ross has called, "the most important role model and inspiration for me in life".[13]


Ross began his career as a tax attorney at Coopers & Lybrand in Detroit. In 1968, he moved to New York City and accepted a position as an assistant vice president in the real estate subsidiary of Laird Inc. and then worked in the corporate finance department of Bear Stearns. In 1972, he left employment and living off $10,000 lent to him by his mother,[14] he utilized his federal tax law knowledge to organize deals for wealthy investors allowing them to shelter income with the generous incentives granted by the federal government to promote the construction of federally subsidized affordable housing.[14] He was very successful, earning $150,000 in his first year,[14] and he was soon arranging more complicated transactions. Using his earnings along with his newfound experience, he started to develop real estate on his own and with an emphasis on high-quality architecture and engineering, he quickly earned a solid reputation in the American real estate arena. With a focus on the northeastern United States and Florida, he developed apartments, condominiums, retail, office parks and mixed-use developments. In 1972, he founded The Related Companies, a real estate development company.[15]

Related is a fully integrated and diversified real estate development company. Its business includes development, acquisitions, management, finance, marketing and sales. Headquartered in New York City, Related has offices and real estate developments in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, San Francisco, South Florida, Abu Dhabi, and Shanghai. The company directly employs approximately 2,000 people.[16] The company's existing portfolio of real estate assets, valued at over $15 billion, is made up of mixed-use, residential, retail, office, trade show and affordable properties in what the company calls "premier high-barrier-to-entry markets." Related is the largest owner of luxury residential rental properties in New York with over 5,000 units in its portfolio and has developed mixed-use projects such as Time Warner Center in New York and CityPlace in West Palm Beach and is currently developing the 26-acre Hudson Yards project[17] on Manhattan's west side.[18] Related also manages approximately $1.5 billion of equity capital on behalf of sovereign wealth funds, public pension plans, multi-managers, endowments, Taft Hartley plans and family offices.[19]

Related also owns Equinox Fitness Clubs and a partnership interest in Union Square Events, the catering, culture, sports, and events business of Danny Meyer's Union Square Hospitality Group.[16]

Miami Dolphins

In February 2008, Ross bought 50 percent of the Miami Dolphin franchise, Dolphin Stadium and surrounding land from then-owner Wayne Huizenga for $550 million, with an agreement to later become the Dolphins' managing general partner. On January 20, 2009, Ross closed on the purchase of an additional 45% of the team from Wayne Huizenga. The total value of the deal was $1.1 billion.[20][21] This means Ross is now the owner of 95% of both the franchise and the stadium. Ross announced his intention to keep Bill Parcells as the director of football operations.[3] Parcells later stepped down from his position shortly before the 2010 NFL season. Since buying the Dolphins, Ross has brought in Gloria Estefan, Marc Anthony, Venus Williams, and Serena Williams, as minority owners of the team. In 2013, Ross made a push to obtain multimillion-dollar public funding from the state of Florida and Miami-Dade taxpayers to help renovate Sun Life Stadium, the Dolphins' home field. After this effort failed in the Florida legislature, a team spokesman said that Ross does not intend to move the team but that under an eventual future owner the Dolphins' future in the Miami area is bleak.[22] Although Ross said he intends to keep the Dolphins "in town", there has been speculation that the team may seek to move out of Miami to a nearby locale such as Palm Beach.[23][24]

RSE Ventures

RSE Ventures is a multi-national sports and entertainment venture firm with a focus on new technologies.[25] RSE Ventures was co-founded in 2012 by Ross and Matt Higgins (businessman), former Executive Vice President of the New York Jets[26] and current Vice Chairman of the Miami Dolphins.[27] RSE builds, owns and operates a variety of new companies, including Preplay Sports, Thuzio, Poptip and FanVision.[28][29][30]

Kangaroo Media/FanVision

Ross and Carl Peterson own Kangaroo Media, producer of FanVision.[31]

Civic and philanthropic activities

Ross was co-chair of the University of Michigan's fund raising campaign, which was completed May 2007.

In 2004, Ross made the single largest contribution (at the time) to the University of Michigan by donating $100 million to the school.[7] The University renamed its business school, Ross School of Business in his honor. On September 12, 2013, it was announced Ross had committed an additional $200 million gift to the University, to be distributed equally among the Ross School of Business and the University's athletic department. It replaced Charlie Munger's 2013 contribution of $115 million as the largest single gift in the University's history.[32]

He was on the executive committee of NYC2012, New York's initiative to bring the summer Olympic Games to New York City in 2012, which failed when London won. Ross is chairman of Equinox Holdings, and chairperson emeritus of the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY), the city's leading real estate trade association. As a member of the board of trustees of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, Ross was involved in the planning of a major renovation of the Frank Lloyd Wright iconic building and other new museums. He is a trustee of New York Presbyterian Hospital, the Urban Land Institute, the NY Chapter of Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International, the Levin Institute and is a director of the Jackie Robinson Foundation and the World Resources Institute.[33] He also serves on the Executive Committee and is a trustee of Lincoln Center.

Ross was a major supporter and contributor to the 2012 presidential campaign of Mitt Romney.[9][34]

Honors and awards

Over the years, Ross has received numerous honors for his business, civic, and philanthropic activities. He was named the third Most Powerful Person in New York Real Estate by the New York Observer, Multi-Family Property Executive of the Year by Commercial Property News, and Housing Person of the Year by the National Housing Conference.[35] He also received The National Building Museum Honor Award, REBNY's Harry B. Helmsley Distinguished New Yorker Award and the Jack D. Weiler Award from UJA. Crain's New York named Ross one of the 100 Most Influential Leaders in Business and he was recognized by NYC & Company with their Leadership in Tourism Award.

Personal life

Ross and his wife Kara Ross (née Gaffney),[36] an entrepreneur and jewelry designer,[8][37][38] reside in New York with her two daughters from a previous marriage.[39] Ross has two of his own children from his first marriage.[39] The Rosses also own an 11,000 sq ft oceanfront mansion in Palm Beach.


  2. 1 2 Kellie Woodhouse, Stephen M. Ross gives University of Michigan record $200M (September 4, 2013),
  3. 1 2 Stephen Ross Buys Ownership of the Miami Dolphins, January 20, 2009
  4. 1 2 3 4 David Jesse, U-M receives record-setting $200-million donation from Stephen Ross, Detroit Free Press (September 4, 2013).
  5. $1.1 Billion in Thanks From Bloomberg to Johns Hopkins. Retrieved on 2013-11-12.
  6. Why Change the Name of the School? | Stephen M. Ross – University of Michigan Business School. Retrieved on 2012-03-22.
  7. 1 2 About the Gift | Stephen M. Ross – University of Michigan Business School. Retrieved on 2012-03-22.
  8. 1 2 "Stephen M. Ross" BY ALIZA DAVIDOVIT retrieved October 25, 2012
  9. 1 2 The Jewish Daily Forward: "Romney PAC Attracts New Jewish Donors: Hedge Fund Managers and Developers Top List of Supporters" by Josh Nathan-Kazis March 12, 2012
  10. The New York Jewish Week: "Billionaires Busy Praying?" by Gary Rosenblatt August 23, 2008
  11. 1 2 Murray, Tom (June 4, 2015). "Family Ties: Stephen M. Ross parlayed two family loans into a multibillion-dollar enterprise". dbusiness. Retrieved 10 October 2015.
  12. Ross becomes owner of the Dolphins. (2009-01-21). Retrieved on 2012-03-22.
  13. "Ross' connections with Michigan". michiganross. Retrieved 10 October 2015.
  14. 1 2 3 University of Michigan: "Two Men, One Vision - With $100 Million Gift, Steve Ross Retrieved March 23, 2013
  15. "Stephen M. Ross J.D.". Bloomberg Newsweek. Retrieved 8 November 2013.
  16. 1 2 "STEPHEN M. ROSS Chairman and Founder Related Companies". Retrieved 8 November 2013.
  17. Anatomy of a deal: Inside Related/Oxford’s unusual financing of Hudson Yards" The Real Deal (August 13, 2013)
  18. Brennan, Morgan (2012-03-07). "Stephen Ross: The Billionaire Who Is Rebuilding New York". Forbes.
  19. Anjli Raval (January 23, 2012). "Related closes distressed asset fund". Financial Times.
  20. "Ross Becomes Miami Dolphins Majority Owner". CBS. 2009-01-20. Retrieved 2010-04-03.
  21. "Ross, Huizenga complete Fins sale". ESPN. Associated Press. 2009-01-21. Retrieved 2010-04-03.
  22. "Fins Future in Miami Bleak". ESPN. 2013-05-06. Retrieved 2013-05-06.
  23. "Dolphins Open to Stadium in Palm Beach". The Miami Herald. 2013-05-09. Retrieved 2013-05-10.
  24. "Roger Goodell: 'We Want Dolphins to Stay in Miami'". Miami New Times. 2013-05-10. Retrieved 2013-05-10.
  25. Abraham D Mankour (June 17, 2013). "RSE Ventures' test lab; SBD Global on to Vol. II". SportsBusiness Daily.
  26. Matthew Futterman (February 29, 2012). "Ex-Jets Executive Joins Miami Owner's Venture". The Wall Street Journal.
  27. Andrew Abramson (January 4, 2014). "Young and influential: Miami Dolphins fans know little of Matt Higgins, key adviser to owner Stephen Ross". The Palm Beach Post.
  28. Jason Belzer (July 24, 2014). "How RSE Ventures Is Revolutionizing Business As We Know It". Forbes.
  29. Eric Fisher (September 15, 2014). "FanVision acquires PrePlay, will add games to hardware". SportsBusiness Daily.
  30. Natasha Lomas (April 12, 2013). "Predictive Sports Game Startup PrePlay Raises $4.7M Series B To Build Out Its App Portfolio, Seize More Sports Fans' Eyeballs". TechCrunch.
  31. Nixon, Alex (March 29, 2012). "Kangaroo Media sues YinzCam over patents". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Retrieved January 11, 2014.
  32. "Stephen Ross tosses University of Michigan $200 million donation". Ann Arbor Journal. Retrieved 13 September 2013.
  33. World Resources Institute Biosketch of Stephen M. Ross. Accessed March 27, 2012.
  34. Forbes: "Billionaires Give $2 Million to Romney Super PAC" by Laurie Bennett February 1, 2012
  35. "The 100 Most Powerful People in New York Real Estate" (PDF). Jared Kushner. Retrieved February 12, 2013.
  36. O'Halloran, Caroline (March 18, 2011). "Rock star ascending: Main Line-bred jewelry maker Kara Ross". Main Line Media News.
  37. University of Michigan – Stephen M. Ross.
  38. Kara Ross website: Biography retrieved March 23, 2013
  39. 1 2 Main Line media news: "Rock star ascending: Main Line-bred jewelry maker Kara Ross" By Caroline O'Halloran March 18, 2011
Preceded by
Wayne Huizenga
Miami Dolphins Principal Owner
Succeeded by
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