According to a recent announcement from the California Institute of Technology, agriculture billionaires, married business partners, and philanthropists Stewart and Lynda Resnick have made a financial contribution to the school that has broken at least two records. It's a $750 million sum to go towards climate change research, which Caltech says is the largest ever donation for that cause, as well as the biggest donation the school itself has ever received.
Stewart Resnick released a press statement of his own, explaining the motivation that went into the massive contribution:
"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."
Caltech president Thomas F. Rosenbaum, in turn, had this to say about the donation:
"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."
Among the first fruits of the investment will be a 75,000-square-foot building that will serve as the campus's Resnick Sustainability Resource Center. This center will serve to "amplify and expand" work in the field of climate change sustainability research that the Resnicks Sustainability Institute has done at Caltech since it was established back in 2009.
If you're curious about what other kind of work will be done with that $750 million, here are the pledge's "four core research initiatives," from the press announcement:
- Sunlight to Everything: Research into a smarter and more efficient electricity infrastructure, with a heavy emphasis on solar power.
- Climate Science: More research into the future of climate change and finding ways to reduce its negative impacts.
- Water Resources, : Research into efficient and sustainable management of water.
- Global Ecology and Biosphere Engineering: Research into the "biosphere and its response to climate change, engineering ways in which microbes may help plants adapt to the changing climate and how best to use biological tools to improve water and nutrient use."
The Caltech announcement also points out that the $750 million pledge ranks as the second-largest gift to any academic institution in the United States.