Building on 50 years of partnership with The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural & Environmental Sciences (CFAES), Nationwide Foundation is contributing $7 million to support the college’s vision of a modern land-grant institution, according to an announcement from CFAES.
“The Nationwide Foundation is proud to make this contribution to Ohio State and see our collaborative efforts around food production, security and sustainability take a giant leap forward,” Nationwide Foundation president Chad Jester said. “Together, we share a long-term vision with the College of Food, Agricultural & Environmental Sciences that assures the land-grant mission of sustaining life remains strong for generations to come.”
The foundation's gift supports initiatives in translating research and making it accessible, strategic collaboration, workforce development and new facilities. This new gift brings total contributions to $11.8 million for the CFAES collaborative over the past several years, the college said.
“We are grateful for the Nationwide Foundation’s steadfast support of Ohio State and its land- grant mission,” university president Michael V. Drake said. “This generous gift will enable our faculty and students to continue addressing critical challenges for years to come, benefiting communities across Ohio and around the world.”
The largest part of the gift, $5 million, will support the construction of new facilities and infrastructure at the Waterman Agricultural & Natural Resources Laboratory -- a key asset on the Columbus, Ohio, campus. At Waterman, CFAES operates a hub for teaching, research and extension.
Last year alone, more than 100 active research projects and more than 200 outreach programs took place at Waterman in the areas of turf science, dairy management and research, entomology, ecological engineering, agricultural systems management, sustainable agriculture, food science, medicine and behavioral science and agronomic and horticultural production practices, CFAES said.
The plan for Waterman includes a Controlled Environment Food Production Research Complex with a state-of-the-art greenhouse production system. In addition, there will be a new multispecies animal learning center, the Kunz-Brundige Franklin County Extension Building, which is currently being built, and the dairy facility will be modernized.
With the remaining $2 million, Nationwide Foundation is contributing to programming initiatives focused on the land-grant mission, including translating research to ensure its accessibility and utility, broadening lifelong learning opportunities to strengthen the workforce and bolstering leadership programming for CFAES students, the announcement said.
These initiatives include combining an integrated team of researchers, data scientists and communicators to manage a robust digital knowledge exchange to respond to public needs and highlight relevant research and data.
“Our college works every day to sustain life, and to be successful, we need partners who share our vision and appreciate its complexity and the long-term investment it requires,” said CFAES vice president for agricultural administration and dean Cathann A. Kress. “Nationwide’s value on doing together what cannot be done alone both supports our interdisciplinary work and challenges us to keep seeking other collaborators. We are deeply fortunate to have partners like Nationwide and the Nationwide Foundation committed to advancing and sustaining life across Ohio and beyond.”