About Our Giving: Frequently Asked Questions

What are your academic giving standards?

Our giving standards and principles are based on our core belief that academic independence and openness are a pre-condition for scientific progress.

  • Faculty call the shots. Each proposal we support is developed by a scholar with a vision. Their freedom to drive their research wherever it may take them is essential to the discovery that we hope results from our support.
  • Schools provide the academic environment. We’re excited to support hundreds of schools ranging from liberal arts, community, and hybrid colleges to R1 Universities. Each grant we make follows the school’s standard procedures when it comes to hiring, curriculum, peer review, and other policies.
  • Openness brings opportunities. To help make potential grantees aware of opportunities and to maximize public benefit, we share news of all our major gifts. This knowledge sharing improves collaboration, offering others the possibility to build on the work of the scholars we support.
  • Society benefits. The scholars we support are tackling some of the toughest challenges of our time and preparing students for success in a dynamic future. The goal of our philanthropy is to improve society. As scholars’ discoveries guide the path forward on criminal justice reform, free expression, foreign policy, technology and innovation, economic opportunity, and other pressing challenges, society progresses.

How do you evaluate requests?

We partner with scholars and social entrepreneurs who produce best-in-class research tackling some of the country’s most pressing challenges. We also support professors and other social entrepreneurs who are developing new educational alternatives that help each learner discover, develop, and apply their aptitudes. We evaluate proposals on a number of criteria including research rigor, contribution to the undergraduate and/or graduate student experience, the level of support from the sponsoring institution, the applicant’s excellence in the field of study and ability to accomplish the project, the potential impact of the work, and whether it falls within our giving guidelines of empowering the organization and its talent.

We also support innovative approaches to postsecondary education that help more learners unlock their potential. In those cases, we evaluate requests based on similar criteria, especially the need for and possible impact of the work.

Are your grant agreements public?

Yes. We want people to see what and who we support so they can decide whether we’re the right fit for their project. We were the first foundation in the U.S. to post our major, multi-year agreements with universities on our website, and we plan to continue this practice.

What is your giving cycle? When are proposals due?

The Charles Koch Foundation accepts proposals year-round, and unsolicited proposals are welcome.

Some funding programs have deadlines. Please read each Request for Proposal carefully.

Is there a budget range you expect?

Our support varies by partnership. We do not set a budget range.

Do you give multi-year support?

We do. Find out more about our multi-year partnerships.

Do you give general operating support?

We do. We aim to support our partners so they can succeed, which in some cases requires general operating support for additional resources.

The Foundation aims to empower our partners with our support. Our grants are designed to help a partner deliver on its mission or increase its impact on the margin.

Do you support faculty directly, or through their sponsoring institution?

Our funding adheres to the giving guidelines of the sponsoring institution and to our own giving standards regarding academic freedom.

What is Charles Koch’s involvement?

Charles Koch is the founder of the Charles Koch Foundation. Mr. Koch serves on the board of the Foundation, and our mission and vision is animated by his vision to unlock human potential and remove barriers to progress.

Do you support international projects?

In general, we do not. While we aim to be open and will consider an international project, the vast majority of our grants and partners are U.S.-based.

What is your relationship to Stand Together?

The Foundation is a member of the Stand Together philanthropic community. The Stand Together community is a group of independent organizations with a shared vision — to empower people dedicated to helping others improve their lives.

Do you lobby, engage in advocacy, or support political candidates or causes?

No.

Do I need to have a 501c3 designation to receive a grant?

Yes.

Do you fund endowments?

We want our funding to offer an immediate benefit for faculty and learners, so we don’t typically fund endowments. We are, however, open to requests for continued support for projects.