The gift follows a founding gift of $4 million that the Resnick Family Foundation made in 2013 to create an endowment to launch the food law program, as well as generous operational funding during the program’s first years. The center is already one of the country’s preeminent food law programs, and the new donation will secure its prominence as a think tank and educational program focused on the legal and policy dimensions of creating transparency, equity and sustainability in the food supply chain.
“Families must have accurate and honest information about their food so that they can prepare healthy meals,” Stewart Resnick said. “UCLA and the Resnick Center are undertaking groundbreaking work to improve the incredibly complex modern food system, and Lynda and I want to see that effort grow in impact for decades to come.”
Resnick Center educational programs include the Introduction to Food Law and Policy class, in which students identify misleading food labels and recommend changes to labeling regulations that would benefit consumers; and the Food Law Clinic, launched in 2017, in which students help local food producers who are committed to healthy and sustainable practices to gain food service contracts, deliver food to Southern Californians in need, and work toward developing a more diverse and sustainable food economy. The center also offers classes in UCLA’s interdisciplinary food studies graduate certificate program, which is available to professional degree students across the university.
The Resnick Center, renamed from Resnick Program in concert with the announcement of the new gift, cosponsors the annual UCLA–Harvard Food Law and Policy Conference, hosts other conferences and workshops — including a series on the intersections between plant-based startups and food law — and produces scholarly publications as well as a food law blog.
Michael Roberts, the founding executive director of the Resnick Center, said the Resnicks’ generosity will allow scholars to take a longer-term approach to work in food law and will enhance opportunities for students.
“Food supply chains are local, national and global, and we at the Resnick Center must work at those levels in order to improve and even save the lives of consumers,” said Roberts, author of “Food Law in the United States” (Cambridge University Press, 2016). “This gift will allow us to expand our research and clinical efforts, attract additional funding, and produce more graduates and fellows who are prepared and committed to improving the way we regulate food.”
Lynda and Stewart Resnick are among the most prominent and active supporters of UCLA. Their philanthropy — including gifts totaling nearly $90 million to UCLA — supports numerous endeavors in nutrition, health care research, cultural opportunities and more.
In 2002, the Resnicks received the UCLA Medal, the campus’s highest honor. Stewart Resnick received UCLA School of Law’s Alumnus of the Year Award in 2005.
“We are so grateful for Lynda and Stewart Resnick’s commitment to UCLA Law and to advancing this important field of study,” said UCLA Law Dean Jennifer Mnookin. “These funds will help the Resnick Center train the next generation of leaders in food law and will increase the school’s global impact on behalf of consumers and entities at every step of the food chain.”
The gift is part of the UCLA Centennial Campaign, which is scheduled to conclude in December 2019, during UCLA’s 100th anniversary year.