14:03 PM

Nationwide Foundation approves $7M grant in support of Ohio State partnership to support facilities, programming in College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences

Building on 50 years of partnership with The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES), the Nationwide Foundation is contributing $7 million to support the college’s vision of a modern land-grant institution with a mission to sustain life.

“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,” said Nationwide Foundation President Chad Jester. “Together, we share a long-term vision with the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences that assures the land-grant mission of sustaining life remains strong for generations to come.”

The Nationwide Foundation 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.

“We are grateful for the Nationwide Foundation’s steadfast support of Ohio State and its land-grant mission,” 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, supports constructing new facilities and infrastructure at Waterman Agricultural and Natural Resources Laboratory, a key asset on the Columbus campus and essential to the comprehensive university. At Waterman, CFAES operates a unique hub for teaching, research and extension. Last year alone, more than 100 active research projects, and more than 200 outreach programs in the areas of turf science, dairy management and research, entomology, ecological engineering, agricultural systems management, sustainable agriculture, food science, medicine and behavioral science, agronomic and horticultural production practices took place at Waterman Lab. Waterman is also home to a multitude of college-credit courses encompassing everything from bee-keeping to biogeography. Nationwide Foundation’s lead gift will support CFAES’ goal to engage every undergraduate student in some aspect of the Waterman experience dedicated to food security, production or sustainability during his or her time at Ohio State.

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 multi-species animal learning center; the Kunz-Brundige Franklin County Extension Building, which is currently being built; and a modernization of the dairy facility.

With the remaining $2 million, the 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 strengthening leadership programming for CFAES students. 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; as well as coordinated development of emerging talent, leaders and workforce through educational, training and certification programs, with innovative research through the college and programming that emphasizes career exploration and college preparation through Ohio 4-H.

“Our college works every day to sustain life, and to be successful we need partners who share our vision, 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.”