Oregon State University's College of Health and Human Sciences announced Wednesday that it has received a $5 million donation from Bob and Charlee Moore, the founders of Bob's Red Mill Natural Foods, to develop a research center to study the nutritional value of whole grain foods.
The gift, establishing the Moore Family Center for Whole Grain Foods, Nutrition, and Preventive Health, will be used to revamp the food research laboratory in Milam Hall, and create an endowment to fund the director, a professor and graduate research positions to study whole grain foods in regards to childhood obesity, nutrition and preventative health.
Bob Moore, 82, who founded the Milwaukie company in 1978, has seen its product distribution expand to all 50 states and 61 countries, with annual sales of $93 million in 2010.
Moore, whose company produces many whole-grain foods, said Wednesday that he wanted to donate money he earned from an employee stock ownership program for research to fight obesity and provide young people with healthy food choices.
"I looked about for what I thought would give the deepest and most profound research, and certainly OSU popped up as the best," he said in a phone interview.
The Moores originally planned to give the university $1 million to support its nutrition and obesity research. But after meeting with Dean Tammy Bray and touring the College of Health and Human Sciences facilities, they decided to up the ante.
"I was $5 million (worth of) impressed," Moore said.
The Moores' gift is the second-largest donation to the College of Health and Human Services. Hallie Ford's $8 million gift to establish the Hallie Ford Center for Healthy Children and Families in 2007 is the largest.
Neither Ford nor the Moore family are OSU alumni, but Molly Brown of the OSU Foundation said OSU has received sizeable gifts from non-alumni.
"We're a land-grant institution, where some of the research that we do is so incredibly relevant to the state, regardless if you've graduated from OSU or not," she said.
The Moores' gift puts the total raised for the Campaign for OSU to $659 million. The capital campaign has the goal of raising $850 million by 2013.
Contact reporter Gail Cole at 541-758-9510 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.