By Lise Alves, Contributing Reporter
MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA – Billionaire philanthropists, Lynda and Stewart Resnick announced last week a US$750 million to Caltech for research in climate change and sustainability. The Resnicks’ donation is the second largest to an educational institution and the largest geared towards combating the consequences of climate change.
“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,” added the billionaire entrepreneur after announcing the donation.
The Resnicks are owners of Wonderful Company, a fruit and nuts conglomerate in California. They are said to be the largest single producers of almonds and pistachios in the world. “Sustainability is the challenge of our times,” noted Caltech president Thomas F. Rosenbaum after the announcement.
“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,” added Rosenbaum.
“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.”
With the Resnicks’ donation the Resnick Sustainability Institute (RSI) founded in 2009 by the husband and wife team along with the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, plans to construct a new 75,000 square foot research center.
The focus will be to study solar and climate science, energy, biofuel decomposable plastics, water and environmental resources, as well as ecology and biosphere engineering.
“It is essential to have hope. More than anything, this commitment from Lynda and Stewart places hope in science and technology, and also in Caltech, to help chart a more sustainable future for all of us” RSI director Jonas C. Peters told reporters last week.