Charles and David Koch have made a big $25 million donation to the United Negro College Fund (UNCF),the organization announced Friday.
The UNCF is the largest provider of scholarships to black college students in the U.S. and also supports historically black colleges and universities. The $25 million donation is the fifth-largest ever received by the group.
Democrats, in particular Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, have fought hard to vilify the brothers in the past several years due to their extensive support for libertarian and conservative political causes.
Reid’s official Senate website has an entire page dedicated to attacking them, accusing them of seeking to destroy Social Security and of wanting to dismantle public education for supporting vouchers. Reid has also called the brothers “un-American” and said they are “trying to buy America.”
The donation, which is being made by Koch Industries Inc. as well as the Charles Koch Foundation, will be split between $18.5 million that will support a new Koch Scholars Program of nearly 3,000 individual scholarships and $6.5 million that will provide general support to the UNCF and historically black colleges. The Koch Scholars Program will run for seven years.
Charles Koch said in a statement published by UNCF:
Increasing well-being by helping people improve their lives has long been our focus. 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.
Michael Lomax, president and CEO of UNCF, told the Associated Press that he’s happy to take the donation regardless of the ire it may raise from those who dislike the Kochs’ politics. Said Lomax:
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.
The philanthropic donation isn’t the first or the largest made by the Kochs. Charles Koch has given money to over 250 colleges and universities through his eponymous foundation, while David Koch has given over $200 million to support cancer research, including over $100 million to support a the cancer research center at MIT that is named for him.
Reid’s office did not respond to a request for comment.
This report, by Blake Neff, was cross-posted by arrangement with the Daily Caller News Foundation.