Wisconsin Democracy Campaign

Kochs Big Donors to Colleges

Giving more than $1 million to state's public, private colleges.

By - May 18th, 2017 10:49 am
Koch Brothers

Koch Brothers

A recent $425,000 grant to the University of Wisconsin-Stout by the Charles Koch Foundation is the largest single, annual gift ever given to a Wisconsin college or university by the rightwing grantor, but not the first. The tally to all Wisconsin colleges and universities tops $1 million.

UW-Stout, located in Menomonie, announced in early May that it will receive the grant from the conservative foundation to use in 2017-18. The grant is renewable annually for up to three more years, for a potential $1.7 million in total funding from the foundation.

In addition to the UW-Stout grant, a Wisconsin Democracy Campaign review of annual financial reports filed by the foundation with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service found just over $621,000 in grants to nine Wisconsin public and private colleges and universities between 2007 and 2015. (A foundation report for 2016 is not yet available.) Here are the Wisconsin schools and the total amount each has received since 2007 from the Charles Koch Foundation:

UW-Stout $425,000

UW-Madison $311,058

Beloit College $191,500

UW-La Crosse $32,500

Carthage College, Kenosha $30,000

Lakeland College, Plymouth $25,000

UW-Green Bay $9,500

Wisconsin Lutheran College, Milwaukee $7,500

UW-Eau Claire $7,082

Concordia University, Mequon $7,000

Charles and David Koch are the billionaire owners of Koch Industries. The brothers have been among the top funders of rightwing organizations and causes for decades. The Kochs founded Americans for Prosperity, a secretive rightwing electioneering group. They have also been generous backers of the American Enterprise Institute, American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)Cato Institute, Federalist Society, Heartland Institute, Heritage Foundation, and the State Policy Network, among others.

Categories: Education, Politics

6 thoughts on “Kochs Big Donors to Colleges”

  1. Michael Schwister says:

    What did they get for their contributions? They don’t give money away. They exchange money to name the professors capable of teaching their free market ideas as a rule. Does anyone know what
    strings were attached to this”gift”?

  2. AG says:

    Those greedy jerks!

  3. Vincent Hanna says:

    When it comes to the Kochs donating to universities, in the past there have been strings attached (so of course this isn’t merely altruistic).


  4. Vincent Hanna says:

    It should be noted that this is hardly new and it isn’t limited to conservatives like the Koch Brothers. As David Callahan writes in The Givers, “In higher education, a torrent of new private money has flooded onto campus during the same period that has seen many states cut spending for public universities, even as academic researchers faced declining federal support.” He also shares several examples of wealthy donors giving big money to public universities with strings attached. One couple in Michigan gave $40 million to Wayne State and was allowed to oversee curriculum development and shape the business school’s strategic plan. Western Carolina University got a $1 million donation that required Atlas Shrugged be required reading for all College of Business students. The Kochs got caught up in a controversy at Florida St. when they initially attached strings to a large donation. And there are many more examples of this, and it’s increasingly common.

  5. daniel golden says:

    Florida State University’s business school took millions from the Kochs. One little hiccup:The Kochs insisted on veto power on new faculty appointments through a panel they controlled. After the faculty and students raised holy hell, the Kochs agreed to a change. Their panel now does not have veto power over new faculty, but now will decide whether Koch’s money will be used to pay new faculty or not. Get the picture? If you want to get paid, teach trickle down economics, or else.

  6. Source for this information, please?

    I suspect it has to be one of these two databases of Koch funding to universities, both sourced from Koch foundation 990s.

    (I made the first one.)



    Connor Gibson
    Greenpeace Investigations
    co-founder, UnKoch My Campus

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