News Release

Brookings Receives $1 Million from James D. Wolfensohn

May 16, 2005

James D. Wolfensohn, the outgoing president of the World Bank and a member of the Brookings Board of Trustees since 1983, announced today an initial $1 million gift to the Brookings Institution to support action-oriented fresh thinking on effective solutions to the challenges of global development. With Mr. Wolfensohn’s support, Brookings will further its practical and innovative research and outreach activities related to combating global poverty.

Mr. Wolfensohn’s gift and the work it will support in the year ahead are intended to lay the ground for creation in 2006 of a five-year, $10-million policy center that will delve further into development issues with his own active engagement.

“All of us at Brookings are grateful for Jim Wolfensohn’s generosity,” said Strobe Talbott, president of the Brookings Institution. “He is enabling us to make more of a contribution in an area where he has shown such extraordinary leadership and vision.”

Brookings will apply the Wolfensohn grant to projects that give special emphasis to evaluating, replicating and expanding successful programs that reach large numbers of the world’s poor.

“I am impressed by the possibilities for new research in this area,” Mr. Wolfensohn said. “That research will focus on the changing balance of our world resulting from the strong demographic growth in developing countries as compared with the stagnation and aging of the populations of developed countries. These trends will lead to new challenges for youth and for scaling-up approaches to poverty alleviation that must be more effective and sustainable over time. Brookings is an ideal institution to take on this work.”

The research funded by Mr. Wolfensohn will draw on Brookings’ traditional strengths, including multi-disciplinary analytical depth and practical policy expertise. Unique among research programs in the field of international development, Brookings brings together scholars across the disciplines of international economics, governance, international relations, economic development, law, security studies, and environmental science to address the complex, interrelated issues within economic development.

“Brookings has made a major commitment to address global poverty–one of the central challenges of our time–and we welcome the personal passion, knowledge, eloquence, and prestige that Mr. Wolfensohn will bring to our endeavors,” said Lael Brainard, who directs Brookings work relating to global trade, finance, and development. Johannes Linn, currently a visiting scholar at Brookings and a former vice president at the World Bank, will serve as executive director of the projects funded by Mr. Wolfensohn’s gift.

Mr. Wolfensohn’s support will complement ongoing work supported by Brookings Trustee Richard C. Blum of San Francisco and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

For more information on the Poverty and Global Economy Initiative and to download Policy Briefs, articles, research papers, transcripts of events, and scholar profiles, please visit

About Brookings

The Brookings Institution is a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C. Our mission is to conduct in-depth, nonpartisan research to improve policy and governance at local, national, and global levels.