Billionaires Stewart and Lynda Resnick have pledged to donate $750 million to the California Institute of Technology to aid climate change research.
The couple, who co-own The Wonderful Company – the largest producer of almonds and pistachios whose brands include Fiji Water – said the pledged donation is to support environmental sustainability research.
The commitment is the largest ever for such research, the largest gift in Caltech’s history, and the second largest gift given to a US academic institution, according to the university.
Stewart Resnick, who as well as being chairman and president of The Wonderful Company is a senior member of the Caltech board of trustees, said such an investment is vital if we ever hope to tackle the climate emergency we’re currently facing.
He said in a statement, as per Business Insider:
In order to comprehensively manage the climate crisis, we need breakthrough innovations, the kind that will only be possible through significant investment in university research.
Science and bold creativity must unite to address the most pressing challenges facing energy, water, and sustainability.
As a result of the pledge, Caltech plans to build a 75,000 square foot building called the Resnick Sustainability Research Center which will serve as a hub for the research. It will also provide state-of-the-art undergraduate teaching laboratories.
As per the university, areas of research will focus on: measuring, modelling and mitigating climate change; managing water resources; global ecology; building smarter electricity infrastructure; and conversion of the sun’s energy into fuels.
Caltech President Thomas F. Rosenbaum said, according to Forbes:
Sustainability is the challenge of our times. Stewart and Lynda Resnick’s generosity and vision will permit Caltech to tackle issues of water, energy, food, and waste in a world confronting rapid climate change.
The Resnick Sustainability Institute will now be able to mount efforts at scale, letting researchers across campus follow their imaginations and translate fundamental discovery into technologies that dramatically advance solutions to society’s most pressing problems.
This isn’t the couple’s first donation to Caltech; ten years ago, they contributed $20 million to the university, resulting in the establishment of the Resnick Sustainability Institute.
Then, in 2014, they donated a further $15 million to create the Resnick Institute Innovation Fund, which provides fellowships and awards for students studying clean-energy and sustainability science.
Neither of those donations were as significant as this one though, which will hopefully help pave the way for us to make considerable progress in tackling the climate crisis.
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A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).