- Two foundations led by Charles and Fred C. Koch gave more than $23 million to U.S. colleges and universities in 2014, according to recently filed tax records — up from $12.7 million given in 2012.
- The Center for Public Integrity reports private foundations led by George Soros, the left-leaning philanthropist often considered a foil to the Koch brothers’ giving patterns, donated slightly more than the Kochs in 2014 to fewer colleges and universities, with most of the Soros money going to programs or initiatives abroad.
- The Koch brothers gave $16.8 million to George Mason University alone, and 13 other schools received six-figure donations in 2014, including Florida State and Indiana University.
Students have rallied together to get Koch funding off their campuses, taking issue with the Koch brothers’ conservative ideals and the strings attached to some of their donations. The Center for Public Integrity released a detailed investigation of Koch spending at the end of October, finding, among other things, that Koch donations sometimes come with requests for access to student contact information. UnKoch My Campus counts a recent victory at Suffolk University, which announced at the beginning of December that it would sever ties with the Beacon Hill Institute. Suffolk and the Charles Koch Foundation were two funders of the institute.
Grants almost always come with strings attached, whether they are from individuals, foundations, or government entities. Colleges and universities must consider whether those strings are at odds with the ideals of their institutions, especially as more and more such data is being uncovered by students and other activists.