The story of Bob’s Red Mill cannot be told without first talking about Bob and what makes Bob so special. When Bob and his wife, Charlee, first thought to open what was once a small company, it was with the inspiration to provide wholesome, whole grain flour to a community that lacked the resource. What started with a mission to feed their three boys nutritious foods turned into a lifelong drive to feed the world high quality, whole grain foods. Bob and Charlee poured their hearts into Bob’s Red Mill which started slowly, but began to grow quickly and continues to grow to this day.
A walk around the mill with Bob reveals how much he values his employees. He knows the name of each of his 200+ employees and he probably knows what their spouse does, how old each of their children are and how long that employee has worked for him. He’s that kind of boss. He’s the kind of boss that keeps employees for 25+ years because he gives them challenges and pushes them to grow, and rewards them well for making the grade. He’s the kind of boss that you don’t ever want to leave. And Charlee? Meeting her once is enough to love her forever.
When Bob and Charlee announced that Bob’s Red Mill was to become employee-owned in February of 2010, surprise was the public reaction, but for the employees this was just another sign of his huge heart and unrelenting generosity. This is what Bob does. He’s not like other CEOs. He doesn’t want to sell the company in a get-rich-quick scheme. He wants to ensure that his employees have jobs and that we will keep Bob’s Red Mill running and continue to providing healthy foods to the world.
Today an announcement was made that will forever shape our community—whether you live here in Portland or across the world, Bob and Charlee have taken steps to ensure that their lifelong mission will be fulfilled. Today’s announcement is the third in a series of incredibly generous investments that Bob and Charlee are making in the health of our nation.
It started small, if you can say that, last January with a donation of $1.3 million to NCNM, the National College of Natural Medicine here in Portland, Oregon, one of the most prestigious natural medicine colleges in the country. A few weeks later, a gift of $5 million was given to Oregon State University to establish the Moore Family Center for Whole Grain Foods, Nutrition and Preventive Health. Today, it was announced at a press conference that Bob and Charlee have pledged $25 million to OHSU, Oregon Health and Science University.
The pledge will establish the Bob and Charlee Moore Institute for Nutrition and Wellness at OHSU. Its ambitious aim: to confront the rampant health problems caused by unhealthy eating and inadequate nutrition through cutting-edge research and community outreach. With these three commitments to Oregon’s top nutrition science institutes, Bob and Charlee are ensuring that their mission to improve the health of our nation will continue to thrive.
This is all good and well, but it’s not what makes this story special to us at Bob’s Red Mill. What makes this story extra special is where this money came from. When our company went employee-owned last year, the company had to essentially buy itself from Bob’s business partners. Instead of doing what so many people would do, like buying vacation homes, exotic cars and luxury vacations, Bob and Charlee committed to give their money to these educational institutions to make our world a better place. To help the institutes build a connection between health and nutrition in the minds of Americans; to fix the diabetes epidemic and keep our children healthy; to create a hopeful future for our nation. Bob is that kind of boss.