The Koch family is giving $25 million to the United Negro College Fund, one of the largest gifts the UNCF has ever received, Time reports.
It is the fifth-largest grant to the UNCF and adds to more than $1.5 million in contributions from the conservative and controversial Koch family and its businesses over nearly four decades, the report says. The gift was announced Friday.
“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,” Dr. Michael Lomax, the president and CEO of UNCF, said in a news release
The grant will be applied toward nearly 3,000 merit-based awards to African-American undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral students seeking scholarships, according to the release. It will also help the 37 UNCF-member HBCUs by offsetting funding shortfalls that set in during the economic downturn.
“Increasing well-being by helping people improve their lives has long been our focus,” Charles Koch, chairman and CEO of Koch Industries, said in the statement. “Our partnership with UNCF will provide promising students with new educational opportunities that will help them reach their full potential. We have tremendous respect for UNCF, and we are hopeful this investment will further its effectiveness in helping students pursue their dreams.”
Some Democrats have criticized the Kochs for their support of conservative and libertarian organizations at election time, the news magazine points out. And the grant comes as conservatives are working hard to attract minority voters ahead of the 2016 presidential election.