CORVALLIS, Ore. – A $5 million gift from one of the world’s most prominent advocates for whole grains and healthy eating will launch a new research and outreach center at Oregon State University focused on whole grain foods nutrition.
The gift from Bob and Charlee Moore, founders of Bob’s Red Mill Natural Foods, will establish the Moore Family Center for Whole Grain Foods, Nutrition, and Preventive Health in the College of Health and Human Sciences at OSU.
The academic center will build on the college’s research on nutrition, childhood obesity and related topics, and help promote healthy eating throughout Oregon and beyond.
“Making healthy, whole grain food is what I believe in and what I have focused on for 30-plus years,” said Bob Moore, the company’s CEO.
“Charlee and I are particularly concerned about the pressure on young people to eat junk: pop, candy, empty calories,” Moore said. “Far too many kids are overweight, and so are their parents. It’s a very serious problem for our nation and the world. This center at OSU will help provide solutions.”
The gift will provide endowments for the center’s director and an additional professor, along with two programmatic funds to support the center’s research and outreach, including a fund focused on childhood obesity. This will enhance the college’s current efforts to develop, deliver and evaluate effective public health obesity prevention strategies for schools and communities.
The gift also will create an endowed fellowship fund for graduate students who want to study, research and advance the health and nutritional benefits of whole grain foods. A final portion of the gift will allow the university to renovate the food research laboratory in Milam Hall where faculty and students will study whole grain foods and ways to promote healthy eating behavior.
The lab will be renamed in honor of the Moore family.
This is the second largest gift OSU’s College of Health and Human Sciences has ever received. Its Hallie Ford Center for Healthy Children and Families was established in 2007 through an $8 million commitment from the late Oregon philanthropist.
President Ed Ray noted that both of these gifts came from friends who are not OSU alumni.
“We are seeing tremendous investments from representatives of the broader community who identify with OSU’s mission and see that the university is pursuing work critical for the future of our state and our world,” Ray said. “This gift from Bob and Charlee Moore is a great example. Improving human health and wellness is one of three areas of focus identified in our strategic plan, reflecting the depth of expertise we have in this field. The gift will further advance our leadership in preventive health research and outreach.”
Bob and Charlee Moore started their business in 1978 in an historic flour mill near Oregon City, with a mission to grind whole grains into flours, cereals and mixes for the local community and move people back to the basics with healthy whole grains, high-fiber and complex carbohydrates. Now based in Milwaukie, Ore., Bob's Red Mill has become a leading provider of whole grain natural foods with international distribution.
“This is an extraordinary addition to the Moore family legacy in promoting healthy eating,” said Tammy Bray, dean of the College of Health and Human Sciences. “Bob is a passionate advocate for the power of whole grains, and thanks to him and Bob’s Red Mill, thousands of people have made radical changes in their eating habits. We at OSU are thrilled to partner with the Moores to create an academic home for this influential work.”
The gift qualifies for the OSU Provost’s Faculty Match Program, an initiative to encourage donor investments in endowed faculty positions that help advance priorities identified in the university's strategic plan. Over five years the match will provide an additional $675,000 to launch the Moore Family Center.
With this gift, OSU’s first comprehensive fundraising campaign has raised more than $659 million. Guided by the university's strategic plan, The Campaign for OSU seeks $850 million to provide opportunities for students, strengthen Oregon and conduct research that changes the world.