The University of Connecticut’s Zwick Center for Food and Resource Policy Board has received an additional $500,000 gift from its founder.
Charles J. Zwick ’50, ’51 (CANR), and his wife Barbara, also an alum, came to UConn last week to take part in a celebration ceremony at the UConn Foundation.
Zwick started the Food and Resource Policy Center five years ago with a generous $1 million gift.
On April 23, Zwick said he will be giving $100,000 a year, for the next five years, so the center can continue its work. That drew loud applause from the gathering of University, UConn Foundation, and state officials – and farmers – who attended the event.
“We are looking to see impact from the center’s research,’’ said Zwick. “The world is changing fast, and we need to have clear data to guide us in how we use and distribute valuable resources.’’
Zwick, who grew up on a farm in Connecticut, is a graduate of the UConn College of Agriculture, a former Harvard professor, and was director of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget under President Lyndon B. Johnson. He also worked at RAND Corp. from 1956 to 1965.
The funds will be used by UConn’s College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources to conduct agricultural policy studies.
Department of Agriculture Commissioner Steven Reviczky, who was in attendance, said the Zwick Center has been “immensely important to farming and agriculture’’ in the state of Connecticut.
He said the center and its work provide farmers with “the tools necessary to maintain the community and quality of life we have in our state.’’
Gregory Weidemann, dean of the College of Agriculture, Health, and Natural Resources, said the Center has fulfilled its promise, in large part due to Zwick’s generosity.
“There is often a time delay between seeing a need and having the necessary funding to address that need,’’ Weidemann said. “This has allowed us to be much more responsive.’’
Speakers at the ceremony noted that the funding has allowed the Zwick Center to tackle topical subjects, such as childhood obesity, in an expeditious manner.
Zwick’s initial gift, five years ago, came at a fortuitous time for the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.
The federal funding that had supported the long-standing and successful Food Marketing Policy Center was being phased out, owing to the elimination of the federal Special Grant Program.
At the same time, Zwick was considering possible gift opportunities for his alma mater. Given his long history in policy development at RAND and in federal government, creating a new center that built upon the previous center seemed a natural fit. Fortunately for the University, Zwick saw this as an opportunity as well and made an investment to establish a Center for Food and Resource Policy in his name.
The Zwick Center is known for excellence in quantitative and policy-oriented economic research on problems confronting food and energy markets, the use of natural resources, and the environment.
The Center’s goal is to provide practical recommendations to improve the functioning of markets and related government policies, and to advance and disseminate knowledge that impacts public policies to improve society’s welfare. Signature programs include policies related to food marketing and industrial organization, environmental and natural resources economics, and economic development.
The constituencies it serves include private firms, consumer and nonprofit organizations, scholars, public agencies, and policy makers.