DRI Foundation

About the DRI Foundation

The DRI Foundation was formed in 1982 and is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization. The Foundation Board Members raise funds to strengthen and promote the DRI scientific research and services to Nevada and beyond. Private philanthropy is an integral part of supporting DRI’s continued research and educational outreach.

Why We Support DRI

I support DRI because the groundbreaking research that scientists do here in Nevada and around the world benefits us all. Whether it’s research into air quality in the Las Vegas Valley, fighting invasive species in Lake Mead, or preserving Nevada’s ancient archeological history, DRI scientists provide policy makers with the knowledge and data to make decisions that will protect Nevada’s environment and drive our economic future.

Tina Quigley

Former Chair of the DRI Foundation

We tend to support organization that have tangible effects on large groups of people. DRI is a perfect example of this. It is an organization that quietly, without much fanfare, focuses on challenges we have as people on this planet in connection to the environment. Ranked 17th in the Nation for effective environmental research, the results of their efforts have positively touched people on every continent on earth…. and that is what we call ‘having an impact!

Mike & Cindy Benjamin

Chair and Trustee Emeritus of DRI Foundation

Mary Kay and I have been donors to DRI for over a dozen years because we have seen the impact of environmental research by DRI scientists in Nevada and on an international scale.  We have helped on their projects in the Sierras and Lake Tahoe in measuring snowpack and water clarity and tracking wildfires. We have traveled throughout Nevada and the West with them, even going to China and Tibet with President Kumud Acharya and to Jordan with Archeologist Teresa Wriston. We have experienced first-hand the impact of DRI research and the importance of our continuing support.  The work of DRI’s extraordinary scientists to address the adaptations required for our lives from changing environmental conditions should inspire the support of all who learn about DRI.

Tom & Mary Kay Gallagher

Vice-Chair of DRI Foundation
My dad, Clark J. Guild, Jr., had a great interest in natural resources and was also a DRI Research Foundation trustee for a number of years. My brother, Joe, and I established the Clark J. Guild, Jr. Endowment for Watershed Sciences because it represented all the things our father believed in: Nevada, education and research.

Joe and Jann Guild

Fellow of DRI Foundation
Mary and I are proud to do our part in recognizing the excellent research and science being conducted at DRI. At the same time, we hope this award brings about a greater recognition of the excellent high level of research and science taking place through DRI both statewide and worldwide.

Nazir and Mary Ansari

Fellow of DRI Foundation
The Desert Research Institute does an impressive job making good use out of the money they receive.

Bob and Del Noland

Fellow of DRI Foundation
The Desert Research Institute has been part of our family since its inception. Over the years our admiration for and support of the Institute continues to grow. We have great appreciation for the substantial contributions the Institute has made worldwide to the sciences, particularly those related to the environment.

Fred Gibson

Founding Trustee of DRI Foundation
DRI’s southern Nevada origins began in facilities owned by Sulo and Aileen Maki, who made substantial cash and property donations to the Institute during the past four decades.

The Sulo and Aileen Maki Estate

Innovation Research Program

A Special Initiative of the DRI Foundation

Donor-powered research solving critical environmental problems

The DRI Foundation created the Innovation Research Program (IRP) to increase the opportunities for DRI’s faculty and technical staff to succeed in their research by financially supporting their very best ideas. This financial support enhances DRI’s reputation as a world leader in critical environmental research and attracts talented scientists to the Institute.

Annual funding of the Innovation Research Program is a fundraising objective of the Foundation Members. These funds support seed grants, early funding, and hiring post-doctoral researchers.

In 2019, those funds supported DRI scientists in exploring big environmental questions. Has microplastic pollution made its way to the famous blue waters of Lake Tahoe? What can tools used to understand groundwater tell us about how chemo reaches tumors? How is declining snowpack changing mountain environments and economies? These research projects are leading to new data, new solutions, and new funding for larger projects.

DRI Foundation Leadership

Chair – Michael Benjamin, CEO, Palomino Farms LLC

Vice Chair – Nora James, Professional Book Editor, Nevada Medal Event Chair

Treasurer/Secretary – Kenneth G. Ladd, Chairman, Nevada HAND, Finance/Audit Committee Chair

LINDA BRINKLEY, Ph.D., Former VP & Dean, UNR

CHARLES T. CREIGH, President, Commercial Real Estate Advisors, Faculty Engagement Committee Co-Chair

RICHARD DITTON, Founder and EVP, Incredible Technologies, Inc.

JOHN J. ENTSMINGER, General Manager, Las Vegas Valley Water District & Southern Nevada Water Authority

MARK FOREE, General Manager, Truckee Meadows Water Authority

LAUREN FLETCHER, Ph.D., Founder & Former CEO, BioCarbon Engineering

MARK KAY GALLAGHER, Philanthropist

STEVE HILL, CEO, Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority

STEPHANIE KRUSE, Founder, KPS3 Marketing

STARLA LACY, Vice President, Environmental, Safety, and Land Resources, NV Energy

JANET LOWE, Marketing and M&A Consultant, President, Desert Research Corporation

KRISTIN MCMILLAN PORTER, Senior Advisor, Porter Group LLC

IAN ROGOFF, Co‐Founder and General Partner, Sierra Nevada Partners

JAVIER SAENZ, Vice President, Marketing Evolution, Communications and Marketing Committee Chair 

DR. RONALD SMITH, M.D., PhD., Internal Medicine, Private Practice


DR. NAZIR ANSARI,  Emeritus Professor of Management, UNR

JOSEPH W. BROWN, Esq., Of Counsel, Kolesar Leatham Attorneys at Law

MARK F. BRUCE, ESQ., Principal, Bruce Law Group

DR. KENNETH W. CIRIACKS, Retired, VP of Technology, Chevron

GAYLE CROWELL, Board Director, Strategic Business Advisor

DR. FAROUK EL-BAZ, Director, Center for Remote Sensing Boston University & Former NV Medalist

LOU EMMERT, Retired, VP & GM for Sprint Nevada

DR. CHARLES R. GOLDMAN, Adjunct Professor, DRI DHS & Former NV Medalist


WALTER M. HIGGINS III, Retired Chairman and CEOSierra Pacific Resources (now NVEnergy)

HON. BRUCE R. JAMES, Director, United States Government Publishing Office, Ret.

BRIAN J. KENNEDY, Retired Chairman & Founder, Meridian Gold

KEITH L. LEE, Principal, The Public Affairs Group

HOWARD “HAL” LENOX Jr., Director of Gov. Affairs, Western Region, General MotorsROBERT E. LEWISPresident, Lewis Operating Corporation


MICHAEL LYNCH, Manager, Eco Electrical Systems, LLC

DR. D. WARNER NORTH, Pres. & Principal Scientist, NorthWorks, Inc.

Former CEO, Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada
Executive Committee

MICHAEL A. SALTMAN, Managing General Partner & Pres., The Vista Group, LV

THOMAS J. SCHOEMAN, Retired, Pres., JMA Architecture Studios

ROBB SMITH, CEO & Co-Founder, Integral+Life

AMY VERNETTI, Director of Leadership Recruiting, Moonshots at Google, Inc.

TROY E. WADE II, Chairman, Nevada Alliance for Defense, Energy & Business

STEVEN WEBER, Ph.D.VP & Client Service Mgr., HWH America’s Inc.

TOM WILLISON, Ph.D.Retired Chairman, McKinley Capital Management

MISSY YOUNG, Executive VP of Colocation, SWITCH







HAL FURMAN, CEO & President, The Furman Group

THOMAS E. GALLAGHER, Adjunct Professor – Ethics, University of Nevada Las Vegas

SANDY MILLER, Former First Lady of Nevada



DRI Foundation Meetings & Materials

Foundation Board of Trustees – Meeting Agendas & Materials

Board Meetings, Events & Subject Materials (2021)
Unless otherwise stated, the following links provide access to public materials.

  • October 28, 2021 – Quarterly Meeting
  • August 12, 2021 – Quarterly Meeting
  • May 13, 2021 – Quarterly Meeting
  • February 11, 2021 – Quarterly Meeting

Board Meetings, Events & Subject Materials (2020)
Unless otherwise stated, the following links provide access to public materials.

The Nevada Open Meeting Law (OML) was enacted to ensure that the actions and deliberations of public bodies be conducted openly. In compliance with the Nevada OML, the DRI Foundation here provides the meeting agendas and subsequent supporting materials for its meetings.

For DRI Foundation meeting materials prior to 2020, or if you have questions regarding DRI Foundation meetings or materials, please contact Kristin Burgarello at (775) 673-7386 or kristin.burgarello@dri.edu.

DRI Foundation Committees – Meeting Agendas & Materials

Faculty Engagement Committee Meetings (2021)
Unless otherwise stated, the following links provide access to public materials.

Finance Committee Meetings (2021)
Unless otherwise stated, the following links provide access to public materials.

Marketing/Communications Committee Meetings (2021)
Unless otherwise stated, the following links provide access to public materials.

Trusteeship Committee Meetings (2021)
Unless otherwise stated, the following links provide access to public materials.

Executive Committee Meetings (2021)
Unless otherwise stated, the following links provide access to public materials.

Executive Committee Meetings (2020)
Unless otherwise stated, the following links provide access to public materials.




The DRI Foundation is a
not-for profit, 501 (c)(3)

DRI Advancement Office
2215 Raggio Parkway
Reno, Nevada 89512

Tax ID # 94-2879252
Your contribution is
tax-deductible to the
extent allowed by law.