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Wes Edens: Merging Fortune and Philanthropy

Wes Edens does not appear to be an ordinary businessman. Rather than simply put money back into his own business ventures, Edens chooses to support and invest in other businesses and causes, and give back to many different communities in the process of doing so. Wes Edens first found success with Fortress Investment Group, a small private equity firm. Over the course of twenty years since the company’s inception, Fortress has grown to manage over $42 billion. On the way to such massive growth, Fortress invested in and financed a rail line, now dubbed Virgin Trains USA. This railway sought to improve rail transportation in Florida, and is now extending its reach to California and Nevada, where it seeks to create a route between Los Angeles and Las Vegas.

Not content with only investing in existing transportation, Wes Edens also founded New Fortress Energy, which sought to create cleaner, greener sources of energy on a global scale. New Fortress Energy helped reduce the carbon footprint of East Coast Rail, another Florida-based transportation company, and also helped establish Miami’s first liquid natural gas production facility. Since then, New Fortress Energy has helped to install a similar liquid natural gas facility in Jamaica. The philanthropy and positive influence of Wes Edens even extends to the world of sports. In 2014, Edens became part-owner of the Milwaukee Bucks. The Bucks, who had not won a championship since 1971, were seemingly inspired by the change in ownership and in the 2018-19 season were only bested by the Toronto Raptors in the postseason, while boasting the most wins of any NBA team that season.

Furthermore, Edens worked with the Greater Milwaukee Foundation in pledging $200 million to build a new stadium for the Milwaukee Bucks, with the stipulation that the team remain in Milwaukee. As of 2018, the stadium is complete, and the Bucks have signed a 30-year lease at the arena. In addition to investing in causes with foreseeable outcomes, like greener energy and sports teams, Wes Edens also invests in noble causes that seek to improve more complex issues. To that end, Edens and his wife, Lynn, established the Edens Professorship in Global Health at Macalester College. The $2 million professorship focuses on health and medical geography; specifically, healthcare delivery, health hazards related to the environment, and infectious diseases. Read More.

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