The World Food Prize Foundation

Dahl Trust pledges $500,000 to Hall of Laureates


World Food Prize receives $500,000 pledge from
Dahl Trust for Hall of Laureates


W.T. and Edna M. Dahl Trust will sponsor a water feature in the project’s public gardens


February 9, 2009 - - The Trustees of the W.T. and Edna M. Dahl Trust have announced a $500,000 pledge to support the World Food Prize Foundation’s restoration of the former downtown Des Moines Public Library into the Norman E. Borlaug Hall of Laureates. The contribution will help support the public garden on the west side of the Hall of Laureates and will designate the Dahl Trust as the sponsor of an elegant water feature on the garden’s western edge, according to Paul Tyler, a trustee of the W.T. and Edna M. Dahl Trust.

In announcing the donation, Jerry Jones, also a trustee of the Dahl Trust, said he was particularly pleased that the contribution will coincide with John Ruan Sr.’s 95th birthday on February 11. He pointed to the mutual respect and business relationship between W.T. Dahl and John Ruan, Sr., chairman emeritus of the World Food Prize Foundation.

“Both W.T. Dahl and John Ruan have made an enormous impact in the Des Moines community,” Jones said. “Through the Trust’s support of the Hall of Laureates, two men who helped shape Des Moines in the last century will continue to have an impact into the next century and beyond.”

John Ruan III, chairman of the World Food Prize Foundation, expressed gratitude on behalf of his father.

“My father had great admiration for W.T. Dahl and is touched by the generosity of the Dahl Trust,” said Ruan. “W.T. Dahl and my father have very similar backgrounds. Both self-made men, they turned modest investments into very successful businesses.”

W.T. Dahl founded Dahl’s Foods in 1931 with an investment of $600 and a 1,000 square foot facility. The following year, John Ruan sold one of the family cars and purchased a truck to begin hauling gravel around Iowa. Today, there are 12 Dahl’s supermarkets throughout central Iowa and Ruan Transportation Management Systems is one of the top ten privately-owned transportation service companies in the country.

The public gardens are an integral part of the World Food Prize Foundation’s plans for the Norman E. Borlaug Hall of Laureates. Designed by the award-winning Hoerr Schaudt Landscape Architects, it will turn the former library’s parking lot into beautifully landscaped green space and will transform the look of Second Avenue, one of downtown Des Moines’ busiest thoroughfares.

The Hall of Laureates is named in honor of Iowa native Norman Borlaug, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his role in saving the lives of upwards of one billion people as the “Father of the Green Revolution.” The Hall will honor Dr. Borlaug, along with the World Food Prize Laureates and Iowa’s agricultural and humanitarian pioneers, for their significant contributions to the global fight against hunger. Open to the public, it will serve as a museum to recognize great achievements in agriculture and as an educational facility featuring interactive displays on hunger and global food security. The Hall will host the annual Borlaug Dialogue international symposium, a new national Youth Institute program, and conference and community events for other local groups and organizations. High-resolution conceptual sketches of the building and public gardens, including the water feature, can be found HERE.

With the $500,000 commitment from the Dahl Trust, the World Food Prize has now secured $21.1 million of the total $29.8 million needed to complete the project. The Norman E. Borlaug Hall of Laureates is scheduled to be completed in early 2011.

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