Faces of Philanthropy: David Moore Agricultural Fund
Jul 28, 2014

By Jeff Pickering


Editor's note: Bakersfield is brimming with generous individuals, many of whom choose to create a lasting legacy through the Kern Community Foundation. Since its establishment in 1999, the Foundation has awarded more than $10 million in grants to improve Kern County residents' quality of life.

In this monthly column, President and CEO of the Kern Community Foundation Jeff Pickering will introduce readers to the faces behind these generous gifts that improve our community.

Gifts made in memory of a local farmer are blossoming into bright futures for Kern County students. When farmer and agriculture leader David Moore died in 2001, Western Growers Association gathered contributions from friends, family members and business associates to establish a permanently endowed scholarship fund at the Kern Community Foundation in his memory. Through the years, the Fund's assets grew as a result of careful investing by the Foundation.

In May, under the leadership of David's grandson, John Moore III, the David Moore Agricultural Scholarship Fund awarded its first scholarships to two graduates of Kern County high schools pursuing careers in agriculture.

"My grandfather was my hero," Moore said when asked why a recent college graduate and busy young farmer like himself would get involved in overseeing the scholarship fund.

"There is a person in each family that binds everyone together, and my grandfather was that person for our family. This scholarship fund is a way for me to help carry on his legacy," Moore said.

Moore, 25, was born and raised in Bakersfield. He graduated from Garces Memorial High School and attended Texas Christian University. Today, he is farm manager at Moore Farms and White Wolf Potato Company. In addition to his involvement with the scholarship fund, John serves on the board of directors of the Kern County Farm Bureau.

"A lot of people think about agriculture and have an image of a farmer riding a tractor in a field moving five miles per hour. Based on my experience, that's not how production agriculture works," Moore said. "It is much more fast-paced and requires an ability to make informed decisions using technical knowledge of engineering, of crop and environmental science, as well as public policy."

The two young women who received the inaugural awards from the scholarship fund are exactly the type of students Moore imagined would benefit from gifts made in his grandfather's memory. A scholarship committee chaired by Moore selected their competitive applications.

Scholarship recipient Madison Zittel will enter her freshman year at Fresno State this fall and plans to major in plant science. Alexandra Ruettgers will enter her junior year at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo studying agricultural and environmental plant science with a concentration in fruit science. Both students are from Bakersfield and would like to return to their hometown to pursue careers in production agriculture.

John's advice to Zittel and Ruettgers about a career in agriculture is simple, and what one would expect from a young man who spent his teenage years moving sprinkler pipe and running a vegetable stand.

"Get your boots on the ground," he told them over a celebratory lunch at Wool Growers. "Get your hands dirty, study the science, learn how to grow a crop and pay attention to ag and environmental policy."

Moore's example to these students and the rest of us about what it means to be philanthropic is profound, and what we all hope to see from future generations. David Moore would be proud.

-- Jeff Pickering is president and CEO of Kern Community Foundation and of its subsidiary Kern Real Estate Foundation. To learn more about the foundation, visit kernfoundation.org or call 616-2617.


This story originally appeared on Bakersfield Life Magazine.

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