The United Negro College Fund announced Friday that Koch Industries Inc. and the Charles Koch Foundation have given a $25 million grant to the nation’s leading organization that supports HBCUs and provides scholarships to black college-bound students.
From the large donation, $18.5 million will go toward nearly 3,000 merit-based scholarships for African American students, and the other $6.5 million will go toward general support for HBCUs and UNCF.
“UNCF is proud to announce this new scholarship program that will help motivated and deserving students not just get to and through school, but to become our next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs,” UNCF President and CEO Dr. Michael Lomax said in a statement. “We are enormously grateful to Koch Industries and the Charles Koch Foundation for their long-standing support of UNCF and for helping to create new opportunities for earned success and a better future for our students.”
Usually known for supporting conservative political causes, Dr. Lomax says that he’s ready to handle any criticism that comes his way in regard to the Koch Brothers donation.
“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,â€ Dr. Lomax says.
The goal of the new UNCF/Koch Scholars Program is to help African American students better understand how entrepreneurship, economics and innovation contribute to the well-being of individuals, the community and society. Students must attend one of UNCF’s 37-member HBCU schools or one of the 250 colleges and universities where the Charles Koch foundation has an existing program.