In 2015, the Charles Koch Foundation’s charitable giving reached more than $44 million, according to the organization’s Annual Giving Report published today. This figure includes support for research, speaker series, conferences, educational programs, and related initiatives at more than 300 colleges, universities, and non-profit organizations across the country.
In 1981, the newly formed Charles Koch Foundation contributed less than $200,000 toward its goal of supporting students and scholars. Since then, Charles Koch’s commitment has grown to keep pace with the demand for grants, and more recently, that demand has soared. In fact, over the past few years the Foundation’s giving to higher education has more than doubled.
Driving the growth is an increasing number of scholars learning about the Foundation’s work and proposing new ideas to better understand and ultimately solve the most pressing questions Americans face. The 2015 grants supported compelling research, programs, and events in fields spanning from criminal justice reform to foreign policy to entrepreneurship.
“At a time when there is much attention on what divides people, the scholarship imagined and put forward by our grantees reflects the desire to come together to solve the core challenges in American life,” writes Brian Hooks, president of the Charles Koch Foundation, in his introduction to the report. “We are optimistic for the future, in part, because of the diversity and number of grant applications we receive that illustrate this.”
One of the programs supported by the Charles Koch Foundation is the UNCF/Koch Scholars Program. 2015 saw the inaugural summit for this program, which, in partnership with UNCF, the leading supporter of minorities pursuing higher education, provides scholarships to motivated and successful young students. The summit was an opportunity for these students to get to know each other and network with mentors from the business and academic communities.
At a time when there is much attention on what divides people, the scholarship imagined and put forward by our grantees reflects the desire to come together to solve the core challenges in American life. We are optimistic for the future, in part, because of the diversity and number of grant applications we receive that illustrate this. —Brian Hooks
Another initiative supported by the Charles Koch Foundation was a groundbreaking criminal justice summit in New Orleans. The event brought together more than 500 scholars, policy experts, non-profit leaders, and community leaders to discuss the current state of the U.S. criminal justice system, exchange ideas, and develop proposals for how to improve the system to the benefit of all.
Other grants went toward faculty developing university centers, such as the International Security Center at the University of Notre Dame, and scholars undertaking research, such as the work being done on well-being economics by scholar Carol Graham at the Brookings Institution.
As the desire to understand what enables people to improve their lives continues to grow, the Charles Koch Foundation looks forward to expanding its support of the incredible work of students and scholars in the years to come.