Why does giving $45 million for a new agriculture-school building at N.C. State University help rural North Carolina, where growth has lagged the metro areas?
Because maintaining N.C. State as a world-class research center on projects that feed and clothe the world is critical to the health of Down East counties and other parts of the state, says Dan Gerlach, president of the Golden Leaf Foundation.
The Rocky Mount-based foundation is pledging $45 million over the next four or five years for a plant-sciences initiative at N.C. State. It will help support a $160 million Plant Sciences Research Center that is expected to be a magnet for top scientists globally.
It’s one of the largest donations ever recorded by N.C. State and among the largest commitments by the foundation, which has more than $800 million in assets stemming from tobacco-litigation settlements. It typically provides grants of $40 million to $50 annually, mostly in rural areas.
The N.C. agriculture community is 100% supportive of the project and understands the benefits stemming from the Raleigh project, Gerlach says. “I’ve never seen a community so united,” he says.
Here’s a statement from N.C. State about the project.