RELEASE: Zwick Center Gets Half-Million-Dollar Boost

Gift will fund agricultural studies in Connecticut

Charles Zwick
Charles Zwick.

The University of Connecticut’s Zwick Center for Food and Resource Policy Board has received an additional $500,000 gift from its founder.

Dr. Charles Zwick, and his wife Barbara, came to UConn this week to take part in a celebration ceremony at the UConn Foundation.

Dr. Zwick started the Food and Resource Policy Center five years ago with a generous $1 million gift.

Dr. 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 UConn, UConn Foundation, state officials – and farmers, who attended the celebration ceremony.

“We are looking to see impact from the center’s research,’’ said Dr. Zwick. “The world is changing fast and we need to have clear data to guide us in how we use and distribute valuable resources.’’

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’’ to the state of Connecticut.

The center and the work it does, Reviczky said, “provides farmers the tools necessary to maintain the community and quality of life we have in our state.’’

Dean and Director of the College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources Gregory Weidemann said, in large part due to Dr. Zwick, “The Center has fulfilled its promise.’’

“There is often a time delay between seeing a need and having the necessary funding to address that need,’’ said Weidemann. “This has allowed us to be much more responsive.’’

Speakers at the celebration ceremony noted that the funding has allowed the Zwick Center to tackle topical subjects in an expeditious manner, such as childhood obesity.

Dr. Zwick’s initial gift, five years ago, came at a most 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 due to the elimination of the federal Special Grant Program.

At the same time, Dr. 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 UConn, Dr. Zwick saw this as an opportunity as well and made an investment to establish the Zwick Center for Food and Resource Policy.

The Center is driven by excellence in quantitative and policy oriented economic research on problems confronting food and energy markets, the use of natural resources, and the environment.

The intent 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.

Key users include private firms, consumer and nonprofit organizations, scholars, public agencies, and policy makers.