The Thurgood Marshall College Fund has announced gifts totaling $25.6 million from the Charles Koch Foundation and Koch Industries to launch a center committed to expanding educational, social, and economic opportunities in disadvantaged communities across the country.
The Center for Advancing Opportunity will provide undergraduate scholarships, graduate fellowships, and grants to faculty working to establish university-based research centers focused on issues in education, criminal justice, entrepreneurship, and other areas at historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). In addition, the center will partner with Gallup to survey and engage those living in vulnerable communities and will convene HBCU researchers, faculty, and national thought leaders annually to examine research findings and develop solutions to the challenges faced by those communities.
"TMCF is giving students and scholars the chance to discover new ways to overcome barriers holding too many people back," said Charles G. Koch, chairman of the board and CEO of Koch Industries. "As they succeed, so does our society."
"This is a momentous partnership," said TMCF president and CEO Johnny C. Taylor, Jr. "[HBCUs] are uniquely positioned to lead the field in this research. There are thousands of fragile communities across the United States where there are tremendous barriers to opportunity. And it's important to recognize that lasting change to strengthen these communities must begin at the local level. We are proud to come together with the Charles Koch Foundation and Koch Industries to help members of these communities identify and study the challenges most significant to them."