The California Institute of Technology said Thursday it has received a pledge of $750 million from philanthropists and entrepreneurs Stewart and Lynda Resnick to support research into environmental sustainability in the face of climate change.
The commitment is the largest ever for such research, the largest in its history and the second-largest given to a U.S. academic institution, Caltech said.
“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,” Stewart Resnick said in a statement. “Science and bold creativity must unite to address the most pressing challenges facing energy, water, and sustainability.”
Resnick is chairman and president of The Wonderful Company and a senior member of the Caltech board of trustees.
The Wonderful Company is a privately held multibillion-dollar agribusiness that describes itself as the world’s largest grower of tree nuts and the largest U.S. citrus grower, among other enterprises. Its brands include FIJI Water, POM Wonderful, the Justin, Landmark and JNSQ wines, Teleflora flower delivery, Suterra crop protection products, Wonderful Halos, Wonderful Nurseries and Wonderful Pistachios.
Caltech will build a 75,000-square-foot (6,967-square-meter) building that will be called the Resnick Sustainability Resource Center and serve as the hub for the research as well as provide state-of-the-art undergraduate teaching laboratories.
Areas of research will include building smarter electricity infrastructure, conversion of the sun’s energy into fuels, measuring, modeling and mitigating climate change, managing water resources, and global ecology, Caltech said.
Caltech President Thomas F. Rosenbaum said the gift will allow researchers “to tackle issues of water, energy, food, and waste in a world confronting rapid climate change.”