News Release

Ecolab Foundation commits $5 million to support sustainability research and education at the University of Minnesota

Driven campaign

Ecolab Chairman and CEO Douglas M. Baker, Jr., and University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler today announced a $5 million gift from the Ecolab Foundation to the University-wide Driven campaign, in support of environmental sustainability research and education. A cornerstone of the Ecolab Foundation gift is $2 million to establish an endowed chair for the Institute on the Environment.

“Our gift is designed to support sustainability thought leadership for years to come,” said Baker. “Ecolab operates at the nexus of business and sustainability, and this investment from the Ecolab Foundation will encourage collaboration between the University and the business community to ensure a secure, sustainable future for everyone.” 

“For decades, University of Minnesota researchers and students have focused on finding scientific and social solutions to tackle the most important challenges facing our state, nation and world,” said Kaler. “Through public-private partnerships, like this one with the Ecolab Foundation, we are able to accelerate research into practices that ensure safe water, clean, renewable energy, healthy landscapes and sustainable food.”

The contribution will count toward Driven: The University of Minnesota Campaign, a comprehensive fundraising effort that has raised more than $3 billion toward its $4 billion goal.

The Ecolab Foundation will also invest more than $1 million in undergraduate scholarships in science, engineering and related environmental and sustainability-focused majors and minors, providing renewable awards of $7,500 for diverse and talented students beginning in their sophomore year. Through the Institute on the Environment, the gift also will support immersive student experiences with global and local partners focused on energy, water quality and supply, sustainable development and public health. 

Recognizing that future business leaders will be called on to catalyze sustainability efforts across communities and industries, the Ecolab Foundation’s donation will also support undergraduates in the University’s Carlson School of Management by funding scholarships and international learning experiences that equip students to address the real and growing risks to our environment. Another portion of the Ecolab Foundation gift will underwrite a major conference series to engage top industry and academic experts in collaboratively driving forward progress on major environmental challenges.

“Public-private partnerships are essential to making real progress on sustainability and addressing the impacts of climate change,” said Jessica Hellmann, Ph.D., director of the Institute on the Environment, who will become the first Ecolab Chair for Environmental Leadership. “The global economic impact of climate change and other stressors make this work truly imperative, for Minnesota and around the globe.”

About the University of Minnesota Institute on the Environment
Founded in 2007, the Institute on the Environment (IonE) strives to make an impact on our world's most pressing environmental challenges, through supporting innovative research across the disciplines, developing global sustainability leaders, and fostering critical collaboration and partnerships. IonE's current focal areas include a carbon-neutral energy transition, clean, safe drinking water, and sustainable land use. Through work in these areas and across the IonE network, the Institute seeks to lead the way to a future in which people and planet prosper together.

About Ecolab
A trusted partner at nearly three million customer locations, Ecolab (ECL) is the global leader in water, hygiene and energy technologies and services that protect people and vital resources. With annual sales of $14 billion and 48,000 associates, Ecolab delivers comprehensive solutions, data-driven insights and on-site service to promote safe food, maintain clean environments, optimize water and energy use, and improve operational efficiencies for customers in the food, healthcare, energy, hospitality and industrial markets in more than 170 countries around the world. Follow us on Twitter @ecolab, Facebook at, LinkedIn at Ecolab or Instagram at Ecolab Inc

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