In 1989 Donald Lehr acquired The Betsy Nolan Group, a well-known public relations agency specializing in publishing. He had worked with Betsy Nolan on publicity campaigns throughout the 1980s for many bestselling authors including James Clavell, Shirley Conran, Belva Plain and Susan Isaacs. In the 1990s, Lehr created signature publicity campaigns for prestigious reference works including the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Random House Webster’s College Dictionary, Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang, HarperCollins Encyclopedia of Catholicism, HarperCollins Dictionary of Religion, and the first online version of Grove’s Dictionary of Art.
The Nolan/Lehr Group has directed international media relations and public affairs for the Templeton Prize since 1991 and has worked directly with each Templeton Prize Laureate since that time including Martin Rees in 2011, the Dalai Lama in 2012, Desmond Tutu in 2013 and Monsignor Professor Tomas Halik in 2014. In 2012 Lehr co-produced “The Dalai Lama at St. Paul’s,” winner of the World Gold Medal for online television at the 2013 New York Festivals International Television & Film Awards.
The agency has also directed public affairs for numerous John Templeton Foundation symposiums including “Amazing Light” at the University of California, Berkeley, honoring physicist Charles Townes; “Horizons of Truth” at the University of Vienna, honoring mathematician Kurt Gödel; and “Living in von Neumann’s World” at Princeton University, honoring scientist John von Neumann.
In 1998, Lehr began working with Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim on the Harvard Project on Religion and Ecology, managing communications strategy for the project’s three culminating conferences at Harvard University, the United Nations, and the American Museum of Natural History. His affiliation with the Forum on Religion and Ecology at Yale University has continued through the Religions of the World and Ecology book series, the Forum’s 2001 conference at AAAS in Cambridge, its updated website, and various ongoing meetings and conferences.
Lehr has developed and implemented environmental communications strategies for the Collaborative Program on the Ethical Dimensions of Climate Change, based at the Rock Ethics Institute at Pennsylvania State University, and the Australian Koala Foundation, based in Brisbane.
Since 2005 Lehr has worked with a variety of non-governmental organizations engaged in the United Nations climate change negotiations, including managing international media strategy for the Ecosystems Climate Alliance since its founding in 2008 and for the REDD+ Safeguards Working Group since its founding in 2011. His expertise includes a particular emphasis on REDD+ (Reducing Deforestation and forest Degradation in developing countries) and on forestry and land-use change in developed countries, within the context of broader climate change issues and developments.
Since 2005, Lehr has served as a consultant for the New York Racing Association with responsibility for strategic communications with media and government agencies.