Strong communities depend on strong individuals and institutions working toward mutual benefit to solve society’s most complex problems.

Countless charities, non-profits, and NGOs stand as a powerful proof of concept of the independent sector’s past successes in increasing social mobility, building safer communities, and helping the least fortunate realize their potential. Yet just as society’s challenges have evolved, the conditions under which Americans volunteer their time, talents, and resources have changed, leaving questions about how best to support the independent sector as one of the most important assets in the drive to eliminate inequality and injustice.

Colleges and universities are uniquely positioned to help identify, study, and disseminate best practices, and the Charles Koch Foundation is interested in supporting scholarly projects that offer real-world impact by contributing to the body of knowledge on which policies and practices best position the independent sector to contribute to strong communities.

Grant Description

We are particularly interested in supporting research and initiatives that:

  • Provide voluntary associations with the tools necessary to solve community problems using a combination of local knowledge and evidence-driven strategies.
  • Advance understanding of where and how civil society produces the greatest value for individuals and communities.
  • Define and measure the health of communities, with a particular interest in projects that improve insight into the process of personal transformation.
  • Clarify and assess the overlap between private, public, and independent sector solutions to problems such as poverty, addiction, or education, with a particular interest in projects that help identify the cost of unintended consequences.
  • Shed light on the historical, intellectual, and political development of voluntary associations in America, with a particular interest in case studies that offer insight into contemporary challenges.

Grant Criteria

  • A one-to-two-page abstract of the project on behalf of your university, college, think tank, or other 501(c)(3) organization. The abstract should provide sufficient detail for reviewers to assess the nature and feasibility of the idea.*
  • A CV or résumé.*
  • A brief, itemized budget.*
  • Final projects should be original and meet the highest standards of their field and must not have been previously published.

*Items are required in application.

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.

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