Koch Brothers Donate $25 Million to UNCF

James Wright | 6/7/2014, 2:52 p.m.
Charles G. Koch (Courtesy of charleskochfoundation.org)

The Koch brothers, known in political circles as generous supporters of conservative causes and opponents of President Obama, recently donated $25 million to the United Negro College Fund.

The contribution, which was announced Friday, entails $18.5 million in nearly 3,000 merit-based scholarships to black students and $6.5 million for the organization supporting black institutions and the UNCF.

Charles Koch, chairman and CEO of Koch Industries of Wichita, Kansas, said that educating young people is the main focus of the donation.

"We have tremendous respect for UNCF and we are hopeful this investment will further its effectiveness in helping students pursue their dreams," he said.

The organization — known for its motto, "A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste" — is a fundraising and philanthropic organization for historically black colleges and universities, giving direct gifts and scholarships to institutions, faculty, staff and students.

Michael Lomax, CEO and president, said that he is prepared for the backlash that may come from accepting money from individuals who do not support the agendas of many leaders in the African-American community.

"Criticism is a small price for helping young people get the chance to realize their dream of a college education, and if I've got to bear the brunt of someone else's criticism to ensure that we have the resources to help those students, then I can handle it and I can take the heat," Lomax said.