Billionaire Explains Record $750 Million Donation to Caltech for Climate Change Research

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Lynda Resnick, Caltech President Thomas F. Rosenbaum, middle, and Stewart Resnick are seen at a science lab at Caltech in this undated photo.(Credit: Caltech via Los Angeles Times)

Lynda Resnick, Caltech President Thomas F. Rosenbaum, middle, and Stewart Resnick are seen at a science lab at Caltech in this undated photo.(Credit: Caltech via Los Angeles Times)

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It did not escape Stewart Resnick’s attention that, after some unusual winter weather in 2015, his pistachio crop took a 70% hit. He couldn’t miss it when, for several years, his heat-blasted oranges came in smaller and less prodigiously than in the past. California’s persistent drought could not be ignored, either, by the man reputed to be the biggest farmer in America.

Those events influenced the Resnicks’ decision, announced Thursday, to give $750 million to Caltech for research into climate change and sustainability. And there was another inspiration.

“My grandkids … they would yell at me all the time, ‘How can you help with this? What are you doing about it?’ ” Resnick said after announcing the gift. “A lot of the adults are not concerned, but the kids are concerned. And rightfully so.”

The donation from Resnick and his wife, Lynda — to build a sustainability center, fund immediate research and enrich an endowment expected to spin off $20 million a year — is the second-largest to an American university.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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