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W.K. Kellogg Foundation Gives $40 Million to Costa Rica University

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation awarded a $40 million grant to EARTH University, a four-year college located in Costa Rica. Established in 1986, EARTH University offers undergraduate programs in agricultural sciences and natural resources management. The University was created in response to Costa Rica’s growing environmental concerns. According to Rainforest Concern, over the past 20 years alone, the majority of Costa Rica forests have been destroyed due to beef cattle ranching. This unsustainable practice is eroding the soil, endangering species, and disrupting natural ecosystems. EARTH University is using education as a tool for fixing the problem, by providing students with alternative solutions in farming.

423 students are currently enrolled at EARTH University, with approximately 83% coming from rural communities. Generous donations from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Costa Rica Government, and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) have allowed 60% of students to receive full scholarships.

In the past, EARTH University has worked alongside prestigious institutions, including the University of Florida, NASA, and the National Biodiversity of Costa Rica. EARTH University is currently working on numerous projects including finding a cure for Chagas disease, searching for agricultural uses for the by-products of ethanol production, and developing guidelines for onsite water quality testing.

W.K. Kellogg Foundation President and CEO La June Montgomery Tabron stated that he strongly supports the University’s mission, and is truly honored to present the gift.

“EARTH educates students from over forty countries. Their vision stands strong, and we are honored to provide this recent gift, which has a matching component, to the university. EARTH provides a unique model for educating tomorrow’s leaders and deserves support—from WKKF and others—for the next twenty-five years.”

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation has been actively supporting EARTH University since 1990. The Foundation’s vision is to “assure that all children have an equitable and promising future—a nation in which all children thrive.” This will be the largest donation they’ve made to the University thus far.

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KKR Global Institute Helps Companies Grow Sustainably

KKR Global Institute Helps Companies Grow Sustainably
IMG: via Shutterstock

One of the world’s leading investment firms, KKR recently established the KKR Global Institute, led by General David Petraeus, in order to invest funds in emerging markets in the smartest and most productive ways possible.  In recent years, KKR has recognized the importance of growing businesses sustainably, and this will be the cornerstone of the newly founded investing arm of a company that could be a major part of building the global economy.

KKR manages over $78 billion in assets, and can therefore make a huge dent in global economic development.  The firm recognizes its responsibility to ensure that future generations benefit from the decisions it makes today.  Knowing that millions of people depend on returns on investments that KKR manages for retirement or education or even employment, KKR focuses on building long term, sustainable investments that all stakeholders can benefit from.

This is a rare practice in today’s “get rich quick” mentality of Wall Street.  The company participates in the United Nations’ Principles for Responsible Investment, a voluntary framework that lays out how investing should be managed for the greater good.  Members of the firm also helped create the Guidelines on Responsible Investment for the Private Equity Growth Capital Council.

In 2008, KKR introduced a Green Portfolio Program, which has 25 participants managing green portfolios, which measure financial impact toward an environmental cause and measures reduction in carbon emissions.  Last year participating companies collectively reported $644 million in sustainable investments and large emission reductions, landfill aversions and less water use.  The company has a strong set of core values and remains one of the most highly respected investment firms in business.