EMERYVILLE, CALIF. — Clif Bar & Co. has announced that it will gift a $1 million endowment to the University of Wisconsin-Madison to further the study and advancement of organic agriculture. The endowment will specifically support the work of Erin Silva, PhD, a professor at the university’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and expert in organic agricultural research. A matching opportunity for endowed professorships from UW-Madison alumni John and Tashia Morgridge will increase the gift to $2 million.
“Public/private collaborations are critical to drive innovation in agriculture,” said Kate VandenBosch, dean of UW-Madison CALS. “Funding from Clif Bar provides the flexibility for a talented, creative professor like Dr. Silva to extend her work to larger audiences. This generous gift will allow Erin to increase the number of farmers she works with and grow the number of current students who can learn more deeply about organic agriculture.”
Since 2015, Clif Bar has been making annual endowment gifts to land-grant institutions in an effort to expand organic agriculture research. The UW-Madison also received the first Clif Bar grant, awarded to focus specifically on organic corn breeding.
More than 80% of the ingredients used in Clif Bar products are organic or certified sustainable, according to the company, and since 2003 Clif Bar has purchased more than 1 billion lbs of organic ingredients.
“Clif Bar has been committed to investing in organic for nearly 20 years because we recognize the benefits for people, communities and the planet,” said Sarah Beaubien, senior director of sustainability impact at Clif Bar. “With agricultural research receiving less than 1% of public funding, this endowment program is intended to fund the best and brightest minds to help drive the organics industry forward and meet the growing consumer demand for organic food.”