Clif Bar purportedly is the largest funder of private organic research in the US, committed to creating endowed chairs at land-grant universities. An endowed chair is a special academic appointment that carries considerable prestige and demonstrates the strongest commitment on the part of a donor to a particular academic programme.
In 2015, Clif Bar awarded the first endowment to University of Wisconsin-Madison to focus on organic corn breeding. Since then, the company has awarded endowments to support organic grain breeding research at Washington State University (2018) and helped establish the University of California Organic Agriculture Institute (2019).
Today, more than 80% of all ingredients in Clif Bar products are organic or certified sustainable, and the company has purchased more than one billion pounds of organic ingredients since 2003.
“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 & Company.
“With agricultural research receiving less than one percent of public funding, this endowment programme 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.”
The $1m grant is the Californian snack producer’s fourth endowment and the second to be awarded to University of Wisconsin, intended to leverage a Morgridge Match opportunity and double the gift to $2m.