Around the Institute

The Resnick Aspen Action Forum: A $15 Million Gift Moving Leaders Into Action

December 16, 2015  • Aspen Institute Staff

The Aspen Global Leadership Network is comprised of highly successful entrepreneurial leaders focused on creating a better society. Each year, hundreds of these individuals convene in Aspen, CO, at the Aspen Action Forum to discuss ways to effectively impact society in the areas of health, education, business, and more. Having provided major support for this event since its inception, Lynda and Stewart Resnick, co-owners of The Wonderful Company, have announced a $15 million endowment to the Institute to ensure the continued operation of the Forum, renamed the Resnick Aspen Action Forum, through 2030.

The Resnick Aspen Action Forum, an annual five-day event held in Aspen, CO, encourages its attendees (many of whom are Fellows in the Aspen Global Leadership Network) to commit to putting their service ideas into action. Through open dialogue, workshops, interactive roundtable discussions, and networking opportunities, participants make public “Action Pledges,” which detail specific ways in which they will implement change.

Past pledges include:

  • Developing social and emotional learning skills to improve academic performance in more than 10,000 students in Los Angeles
  • Fueling a leadership pipeline to propel young people from low-income, underrepresented backgrounds into positions of influence in the United States
  • Curbing the practice of child marriage in northern Nigerian communities 
  • Supporting the education of 100,000 girls in India
  • Building a sustainable manufacturing facility in the Midwestern United States

At the 2015 event, Lynda Resnick made an Action Pledge to reduce the incidence of obesity, disease, and stress in California’s Central Valley, where most of The Wonderful Company’s workforce lives.

Part of the Resnick’s $15 million gift will also go towards providing 12 annual scholarships for leaders from California’s Central Valley — primarily those working in education, wellness, and community development — to participate at the Resnick Aspen Action Forum. 

“This event is one of the few in the world that moves real change-makers from thought to action,” said Lynda Resnick, who is also an Institute Trustee. “The outcomes of the Resnick Aspen Action Forum are tangible, and Stewart and I are excited to support it in this way.” Aspen Institute President and CEO Walter Isaacson is thankful for the Resnick’s contribution, noting that with the endowment, the Resnick Aspen Action Forum “will continue to make a real and measurable impact on key global issues for years to come.” 

The Resnicks have provided major support for the Aspen Action Forum since 2013. In that time, over 1,000 participants from more than 40 countries have attended the event. The 2016 convening will take place in Aspen, CO, from July 19-22 with optional programming on July 18. Visit the Resnick Aspen Action Forum website to learn more about the event.