Why We Fund Higher Education

I’ve recently had the opportunity to discuss the Charles Koch Foundation’s higher education giving with leaders from a wide range of businesses and philanthropic organizations, including many who support our nation’s colleges and universities. Together we share a common conviction that it is essential to fund the visions and interests of schools across the country so they can expand access for students and citizens to exciting education programs and ideas.

Private philanthropy is a key element that enables American colleges and universities to succeed. Thankfully, this is a country where many individuals and foundations are more than generous with their resources to support higher education.  In fact, last year, institutions of higher learning raised a record-breaking $37 billion in private support. We are privileged to provide even a small portion of that funding.

The Charles Koch Foundation has been supporting research and education programs focused on advancing an understanding of the institutions that enable individual and societal well-being for decades.  We recently released requests for proposals to study criminal justice and policing reform, toleration, technology and innovation, cronyism, and foreign policy. Higher education is a core institution that advances an understanding of the institutions that enable well-being. It is where ideas are discovered, refined, and shared. That scholarly process requires that academics and students be free to pursue their interests, their research, and their conclusions. It requires universities and colleges to offer a diversity of ideas. That is why we support professors who add to the variety of ideas available on college campuses. Our approach to support for universities is set out in our Guiding Principles.

The Charles Koch Foundation is committed to supporting a diversity of ideas in higher education, and in so doing advancing understanding of how to improve well-being throughout society. That is why I’m so excited about our current projects and future growth, and the opportunity to participate in this recent seminar. If you have a proposal for us, or know someone who does, I would encourage you to please submit it. We look forward to hearing from you.

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