About Us

About Us

Charles Koch Foundation

Who We Are

Everyone has the ability to learn, contribute, and succeed if they have the freedom and opportunity to do so. That’s why, more than 50 years ago, Charles G. Koch began supporting education. The Charles Koch Foundation, founded in 1980, continues this work by funding research and education that helps people expand their horizons, develop their skills, and help others.

Since 2011, the Charles Koch Foundation has provided grants to enable thousands of individuals to gain valuable hands-on experience at 501(c)(3) organizations, complementing the Charles Koch Institute’s classroom instruction.

We believe that the most pressing issues facing society today are too big for any one group to solve, and that’s why we’re proud to be a part of the Stand Together Philanthropic Community. Stand Together helps people improve their lives by connecting them with passionate partners and the resources necessary to make a greater difference. Learn more about the Community, and how it is supporting social entrepreneurs, here.

Over the years, the work we’ve supported has evolved, but the kind of grant proposals that attract our attention have remained consistent. We support scholarly work that contributes to an understanding of how best to achieve a society of equal rights and mutual benefit, where people succeed by helping others. We focus on programs that fill a need, have a real-world impact, and foster what I call a three-dimensional education. By that I mean programs that enable students to identify their innate abilities, turn them into valued skills, and apply them in ways that contribute in society.

Charles Koch
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What We Do

Foundation grants allow students and scholars to explore a diverse array of ideas and perspectives at more than 300 colleges and universities nationwide. Our grantees include top-ranked institutions such as Harvard, UCLA, and Notre Dame, as well as smaller universities and liberal arts colleges across the country.  We seek to identify programs and scholars working to understand how to move toward a society of equal rights and mutual benefit, where people succeed by helping others improve their lives.

We also partner with non-profit organizations that help people improve their lives and communities. Our main areas of funding include criminal justice and policing reform, free expression, foreign policy, economic opportunity, and technology and innovation.

Our Philosophy

Our grant-making is designed to advance an understanding of what it takes to move toward a society of equal rights and mutual benefit, where people succeed by helping others improve their lives. We support a diversity of viewpoints and perspectives that foster respect for all people and protect human dignity, developing creative solutions that will help make the world better for all people. We reject racism, sexism, and any discrimination that impedes equal rights.

Our Giving Standards and Principles

Our giving standards and principles guide our long-standing commitment to academic independence and openness.

Faculty call the shots.

Behind each of our grants is 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 small liberal arts colleges to state research universities to Ivy League schools. 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, 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.

The Charles Koch Foundation At a Glance

  • 1980

    Founding Year

  • 300+

    Organizations sponsored

  • $77 M

    Grants awarded, 2016

Our Guiding Principles

Our Guiding Principles guide the way we interact with people and articulate our shared values and beliefs. Each member of our team is expected to internalize these core values and exemplify them in all we do.

Learn more about Market-Based Management®


Have the courage to always act with integrity and in harmony with our vision.

Stewardship and Compliance

Act with proper regard for the rights of others. Honor donor intent in a manner that advances our vision. Comply with all laws and regulations. Stop, think, and ask.

Principled Entrepreneurship™

Practice a philosophy of mutual benefit. Demonstrate to people of all backgrounds and perspectives that this philosophy will improve people’s lives. Attract, motivate, and empower as many people as possible to become social-change entrepreneurs dedicated to advancing a society of mutual benefit.


Transform yourself, your organization, and our efforts. Seek, develop, and utilize the vision, strategies, and methods that will enable us to demonstrate a better way to help people improve their lives and encourage rapid adoption across society.


Acquire the best knowledge from any and all sources that will enable you to improve your performance. Share your knowledge proactively. Provide and solicit challenge consistently and respectfully.


Be humble, intellectually honest, and deal with reality constructively. Develop an accurate sense of self-worth based on your strengths, limitations, and contributions. Hold yourself and others accountable to these standards.


Treat everyone with honesty, dignity, respect, and sensitivity. Embrace different perspectives, experiences, aptitudes, knowledge, and skills in order to leverage the power of diversity.


Be a lifelong learner, develop your aptitudes into skills that create value and help you realize your potential which is essential for fulfillment. As you become increasingly self-actualized, you will better deal with reality, face the unknown, creatively solve problems, and help others succeed.

The Philosophies Behind Our Giving

overhead view of a neighborhood

Our Vision

We work to empower students, scholars, and social entrepreneurs. In doing so, we are guided by a vision to help all people realize their potential.

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Market-Based Management®

Market-Based Management (MBM®) enables organizations to succeed in the long term by applying the principles that allow free societies to prosper.

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The Charles Koch Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and is a private foundation within the meaning of Section 509(a) of the Internal Revenue Code. Grants from the Charles Koch Foundation are generally made only to charitable organizations as defined in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

Form 990:  2016 | 2017| 2018

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