In a time when most university’s scramble for funding, Virginia’s George Mason University (GMU) is flush with cash, thanks to Charles Koch’s largess. The billionaire unconditionally donated $48 million to the university from 2011 to 2014. GMU President Angel Cabrear praises Koch for his generosity and willingness to donate his time to serve as a member of the Mercatus board, a free-market think tank, and as chairman of the Institute for Humane Studies board. Considering Koch is also CEO and Chairman of the Board of Koch Industries, an author, a husband and a father of two, it’s amazing that Charles Koch finds the time to take a personal interest in the universities that he helps fund.
Founded in 1980, the Charles Koch Foundation has always supported higher education, maintaining that institutions have academic freedom to do research as they see fit, without restrictions. Koch donates primarily to institutions that focus on discovering new market-based solutions to society’s problems. The Mercatus Center at George Mason University supports Koch’s business philosophy, hence the generous donations. Koch believes in supporting programs that he knows will benefit society as a whole using approaches that have proven successful in the past.
Charles Koch surprises many people these days by getting out in public and talking about issues that are important to him. The public knew him as a political donor; however, Koch realized that he could drum up support for causes that meant something to him, such as criminal justice reform, by giving interviews and making public appearances.