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Charles Koch’s philanthropy reflects belief in ‘individual empowerment’ and ‘self-actualization’

Charles Koch
Koch family foundations, led by Charles Koch, have given roughly $90 million to Kansas-based organizations.
(Wichita Eagle)

Charles Koch’s philanthropic giving reflects his belief in removing barriers to “self-actualization,” says David Dziok, the Kansas billionaire’s spokesman. Over the last two decades, Koch family foundations, Wichita-based Koch Industries and Stand Together (a philanthropic community founded by Koch) have given roughly $90 million to Kansas-based organizations.

In 2019, for example, Koch gave $5 million to Wichita and Kansas charities, including $1 million to build Koch Carousel Gardens at Wichita’s Botanica garden attraction.

Wichita State University has been a major recipient — $21 million in the last two decades — of Koch’s local philanthropy. Among the WSU donations were $3.75 million to the “makerspace” at the WSU Innovation Campus, $4.5 million to expand and renovate the Charles Koch Arena and $3.64 million to support the WSU Institute for the Study of Economic Growth.

Another significant beneficiary of Koch philanthropy has been the Mary R. Koch Arts Center (named for Koch’s mother), a Wichita institute that opened in 2017 and received $14.8 million. In addition, Koch has funded $2.3 million in scholarships for Kansas visual and performing artists.

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Youth Entrepreneurs, a national program based in Wichita that Koch and his wife designed to teach high school students about entrepreneurial thinking, has received $20 million over the past 20 years. Much of that money was spent on YE programming administered outside of Kansas.

Other Koch-associated philanthropic donations in the last 20 years include:

• $3 million for Kansas State University programming and scholarships

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• $2 million to support Wichita’s Salvation Army community center

• $1 million to the Nature Conservancy of Kansas to expand and enhance its preserves

• $1 million for University of Kansas programming and scholarships

• $360,500 to Rise Up for Youth, a program serving Wichita minority youths

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(Data provided by Koch Industries)

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