(NNPA)—When the Koch Foundation gave the United Negro College Fund $25 million, it set off a maelstrom of comments in cyberspace and real time. How dare the UNCF take money from the Koch brothers, some asked. They ought to send it back, said others. One woman told me she would never give to UNCF again because of the Koch donation. Another says the Koch donation changes her perception of UNCF.
The donation will provide $18.5 million in scholarships, money that is badly needed to get some of our young people out of school, especially with the cuts so many experienced because of reduced access to the Parent Plus loan. Another $4 million will go to the 37 UNCF schools for general support, again to make up some of the losses that came from reduced enrollment due to Parent Plus. The remainder goes to UNCF for their general support.
What’s wrong with this picture?
Koch scholarships will be awarded to students with good grades, financial needs, and an interest in studying how “entrepreneurship, economics and innovation contribute to well-being for individuals, communities, and society.” Sounds like conservative free markets to me. More than that, it sounds like granting scholarships to further the Koch government-reducing, free market focus. Koch protects its interest by having two seats on the five member scholarship committee, with the other three from the UNCF. While non-Koch interests are the majority, it will be interesting to see if a donor can sway a committee.