Ed Bass

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Ed Bass
Biosphere2 2.jpg
Edward Perry Bass

(1945-09-10) September 10, 1945 (age 73)
OccupationPhilanthropist, environmentalist
Net worthUS$2.1 billion (August 2018)[1]
Spouse(s)Vicki Skinner Bass[2] (1995-)[3]
Parent(s)Perry Richardson Bass
Nancy Lee Bass
RelativesRobert Bass (brother)
Sid Bass (brother)
Lee Bass (brother)
Hyatt Bass (niece)
Sid W. Richardson (great-uncle)

Edward Perry "Ed" Bass (born (1945-09-10)September 10, 1945)[4] is an American businessman, financier, philanthropist, and environmentalist who lives in Fort Worth, Texas. He financed the Biosphere 2 project, an artificial closed ecological system, which was built between 1987 and 1991. He is the chairman of Fine Line, an investment and venture-capital management firm in Fort Worth,[5] and Chairman of the board of directors of the Sid W. Richardson Foundation, a philanthropic organization.[6] He was listed as #239 on the Forbes 400 list of wealthiest Americans in 2012, with an estimated net worth of $2 billion.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Bass was born in Fort Worth, Texas to Perry R. (1914–2006)[7] and Nancy Lee (née Muse) Bass (1917-2013),[7][8] the second-oldest of four sons; his brothers are Lee Marshall Bass, Sid Richardson Bass, and Robert Muse Bass. His father, Perry, was an adviser and later partner of his own bachelor uncle, Sid W. Richardson (1891–1959), starting in the 1930s.[9] When Richardson died, he left each of the Bass brothers $2.8 million, and Perry managed the bulk of the family oil fortune, which was initially beset by legal problems.[7][9]

Ed Bass attended Phillips Academy,[10] and graduated from Yale in 1967 with a bachelor's degree in administrative science.[2] He served for a short time in the United States Coast Guard and returned to Yale, studying for a master's degree in architecture, which he did not complete.[10] All four brothers attended Yale, from which their father had also graduated in 1937.[7][10]

Early projects[edit]

After leaving Yale, Bass "set out to explore the world".[11] He moved to New Mexico and spent some time with "an unusual counterculture group at Synergia Ranch", run by John P. Allen.[12] While in New Mexico, Bass built the Llano Compound, a condominium in Santa Fe and began an association with Allen that focused on ecology projects.[12] He later spent money on a hotel in Nepal, a 300,000-acre (1,200 km2) Australian ranch, a Puerto Rican rainforest, and the now-defunct Caravan of Dreams performing arts center in Fort Worth.[11][13]

Biosphere 2[edit]

In 1984, Bass and Allen founded the Biosphere 2 project, which Bass funded with an initial commitment of $30 million.[14] The project was part of a 2,500-acre (10 km2) ranch in the Santa Catalina Mountains in Oracle, Arizona, near Tucson.[14][15] The purpose of its 3 acre[14] living space was to be an experiment in "recreating the earth" and as a possible way to settle Mars.[12] The project began with eight people living inside in an attempt to be a self-contained settlement, raising food and recycling air and water.[16] After the environment was sealed in 1991,[15] noxious gases built up, and while some of the 4,000 species thrived, the water and crops failed in 1994.[15]

In April 1994 Bass obtained a court order to "formally oust the key managers of the Biosphere and seize the premises," and he dissolved Space Biospheres Ventures, a partnership, which the Los Angeles Times called a "volatile blend of New Age idealism and corporate sophistication."[17] The Biosphere project had in 1992 installed an independent Science Advisory Committee (SAC), chaired by Thomas E. Lovejoy, a senior official at the Smithsonian Institution, and the members came to be at odds with Bass "on questions of scientific standards," and the science committee was dissolved in February 1993. Bass attempted to make Steve Bannon the interim chief executive officer.[17] The existing management, however, refused Bannon admittance to the property, according to an affidavit Bass later submitted to a Fort Worth court, where he filed his dissolution suit.[17]

In 1995, it was turned into a research facility overseen by Columbia University, which declined to provide funding for continued research after June 2003.[15] In 2007, Bass sold some of the land adjacent to the project, and the building was leased to the University of Arizona.[10] The total cost of the privately funded Biosphere project has been variously reported as $150 million[12] to $200 million.[10][15] The University of Arizona announced a full acquisition of the Biosphere buildings and grounds in June 2011.[18]

Conservation efforts[edit]

Bass has funded numerous projects focused on environmental conservation, and has stated that he feels conservation "most effective when approached as an enterprise".[19] His investment in Nepal also included conservation efforts for rhinos and tigers.[19] He has supported and worked with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the New York Botanical Garden, the Jane Goodall Institute, and the National Environmental Education and Training Foundation.[12][20][21] He is currently the vice chairman of the Botanical Research Institute of Texas and is the founder of the ecological nonprofit Philecology Trust, which he created in 1986.[21]

Urban redevelopment[edit]

Bass is a long-time supporter of downtown redevelopment, and has been described as a "leader in what is recognized as one of the most successful urban revitalization efforts in America".[21] He and his family began the Sundance Square development in 1982. It combines commercial and residential space in the central business area of Fort Worth, and it received the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce's Spirit of Enterprise award in 2004.[22] He led the development of Bass Performance Hall, financed without public funding, which opened in 1998.[21][23]


  • 2002: Established the Edward P. Bass Distinguished Visiting Environmental Scholars Program at Yale[24]
  • 2006: $60 million donation to Yale (He and his family have donated more than $200 million to Yale.[5])
  • 2007: $12 million to WWF [25]
  • 2017: $10 million to Yale University toward a state-of-the-art, 500-seat lecture hall to be named the O.C. Marsh Lecture Hall in honor of Othniel Charles (O.C.) Marsh, a pioneering professor of vertebrate paleontology at Yale[26]
  • 2017: $30 million to the University of Arizona to support Biosphere 2[27]
  • 2018: $160 million to renovate the Peabody Museum of Natural History at Yale University[28]

Current activities[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Edward Bass". Forbes. 2012-09-19. Retrieved 2012-09-19.
  2. ^ a b c "Edward P. Bass Named to Yale Corporation". Yale University. 2001-09-05. Archived from the original on 2006-09-09. Retrieved 2008-05-26.
  3. ^ Myerson, Allen R. (2002-06-02). "Where Cowgirls Go to Get Their Due". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-05-27.
  4. ^ "The Bass Family Tree". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. 1998-04-26.
  5. ^ a b Chronicle of Philanthropy; 11/23/2006, Vol. 19 Issue 4, p6-6. Retrieved 2008-05-26.
  6. ^ "Sid W. Richardson Foundation Board of Directors". Retrieved 2008-05-26.
  7. ^ a b c d Simnacher, Joe (2006-06-02). "FW philanthropist Perry Richardson Bass dies". Dallas Morning News.
  8. ^ Campbell, Steve (2013-03-01). "Nancy Lee Bass was the 'first lady of Fort Worth'". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Retrieved 2013-09-16.
  9. ^ a b "Perry Richardson Bass 1914-2006". Houston Chronicle. Associated Press. 2006-06-02.
  10. ^ a b c d e Biography Reference Bank. H. W. Wilson. 2008.
  11. ^ a b Bartimeo, Jim (1990-08-27). "Is Ed Bass a Visionary -- or Seeing Visions?". Business Week (People ed.) (3175): 60.
  12. ^ a b c d e Broad, William J. (1991-09-24). "As Biosphere Is Sealed, Its Patron Reflects on Life". The New York Times. p. 1. Retrieved 2009-06-05.
  13. ^ Broad, William J. (1986-05-27). "Ultimate Survival: Desert Dreamers Build a Man-Made World". The New York Times. p. 1.
  14. ^ a b c Mydans, Seth (1990-04-30). "Visit to a Tiny Planet: Within Glass Walls, Five Climates and 3,800 Species". The New York Times. p. 1. Retrieved 2009-06-05.
  15. ^ a b c d e Herszenhorn, David M. (2003-03-25). "Columbia Is Sued Over Pullback on Biosphere". The New York Times. p. 13. Retrieved 2009-06-05.
  16. ^ "Science Watch; New Biosphere Official". The New York Times. 1993-03-02. p. 5. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2009-06-05.
  17. ^ a b c Hotz, Robert Lee; Bauman, Adam S. (1994-04-24). "Biosphere 2: Trouble in Paradise". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2017-03-28.
  18. ^ "Biosphere 2 to Have a Permanent Home With the UA". Office of University Communications, The University of Arizona. 2011-06-27. Retrieved 2011-06-27.
  19. ^ a b Beatty, Sally (2007-10-05). "Gift of the Week: Millions for Wildlife From a Bass Brother". The Wall Street Journal. p. W2.
  20. ^ "World Wildlife Fund 2007 Annual Report". p. 64. Archived from the original on October 5, 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-26.
  21. ^ a b c d "Seven Honorary Degree Recipients to be Recognized During Spring Commencement". University of Arizona. 2009-04-29. Retrieved 2009-06-06.
  22. ^ Baker, Sandra (2005-05-23). "Chamber to honor Sundance Square". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. (Subscription required (help)).
  23. ^ Marton, Andrew (2008-04-27). "The first 10 years of a great hall - from transporting arias to errant autos". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. (Subscription required (help)).
  24. ^ "The Edward P. Bass Distinguished Visiting Environmental Scholars Program". Yale University. Retrieved 2008-05-26.
  25. ^ Scutari, Mike (4 September 2018). ""I Have Some Faith." A Billionaire's Latest—and Biggest—Gift to His Alma Mater". Inside Philanthropy. Retrieved 30 December 2018.
  26. ^ "Ed Bass names new lecture hall for Yale's O.C. Marsh". YaleNews. 25 May 2017. Retrieved 30 December 2018.
  27. ^ "$30M Gift Announced for UA's Biosphere 2". UANews. 20 September 2017.
  28. ^ Xiong, Amy; Mahoney, Madison (28 August 2018). "Bass '67 donates $160 million to Peabody Museum". Yale Daily News. Retrieved 30 December 2018.