The Koch Family Foundation is a private foundation created by Fred Koch and Mary Koch, the parents of Charles, David, William, and Frederick Koch. Fred Koch founded Winkler-Koch, an industrial firm that later became Koch Industries.
The foundation is run by Elizabeth Koch, wife of Charles Koch, and supports two national nonprofits, Young Entrepreneurs and the Bill of Rights Institute, as well as supporting nonprofits in Kansas.
Fred and Mary Koch
The Koch Family Foundation was formed in 1955 as the Fred and Mary Koch Foundation. Fred Koch founded Winkler-Koch, which was later renamed Koch Industries. He and Mary Koch were the parents of Charles, David, William, and Frederick Koch. Mary Koch was an active philanthropist during her lifetime, making contributions to Wichita State University, the Wichita Center for the Arts, the Metropolitan Ballet of Wichita, and the Wichita Symphony Society. 1
Elizabeth Koch, the wife of Charles Koch, 2 is the president of the Koch Family Foundation. In 2015, she told the CBS show “Sunday Morning” that Wichita “is a great place for raising children and running a business with values.” 3
Mary R. Koch Arts Center
In 2015, the Fred and Mary Koch Foundation donated $2 million and issued a challenge grant of $4 million for a new building for the Wichita Center for the Arts. The Charles Koch Foundation donated 17 acres of land valued at $4.5 million. 4
In 2016 the Wichita Center was renamed Mark Arts in honor of Mary Koch. “M.R.K., or Mark, is actually an acronym for Mary Robinson Koch, but it also stands for ‘make your mark, eave your mark, create your mark, so it has many, many meanings, and that’s why I think we all fell in love with it,” Elizabeth Koch said. 5
The Mary R. Koch Arts Center was opened in 2018. 6
Youth Entrepreneurs and Bill of Rights Institute.
The Koch Family Foundation supports Youth Entrepreneurs, begun in Kansas in 1991 and now a national organization designed to help young people launch their own businesses. The organization has received $20 million from Koch family charities since its creation in 1991. 7
Controversy over Endowed Chairs
The Fred and Mary Koch Foundation endowed two chairs at the University of Kansas that were targeted by activists. In 2015 Art Hall, director of the Center for Applied Economics at the University of Kansas had to sue to block disclosure of ten years’ worth of his email. Kimberley Strassel notes that Hall’s center received seed money from the Fred and Mary Koch Foundation “and he testified against green energy quotas at the state legislature” in 2014. 9
Koleman Strumpf, Koch Professor of Business Economics at the University of Kansas described how in 2014 he was faced with a records request from Students for a Sustainable Future, an affiliate of left-wing activist group UnKoch My Campus, for ten years’ worth of records. Strumpf’s chair was endowed by the Fred and Mary Koch Foundation. Strumpf said his research is available online, his research is on technical subjects such as “Endogenous Policy Decentralization” and “my views on the importance of property rights are in diametric opposition” to Koch family members. Strumpf said the month before he received the public records request, Students for a Sustainable Future received a donation from the American Association of University Professors with “Gift for Koch Bros” written on the check. 10
In 2019, the Koch Family Foundation made seven grants of over $100,000 to Botanica ($750,000), Wichita State University ($600,000), Youth Entrepreneurs of Kansas ($600,000), Bill of Rights Institute ($190,000), Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History ($140,000) and Koch Cultural Trust ($120,000). 11
- “Mary Koch,” Plaza of Heroines, Wichita State University, http://www.plazaofheroines.com/Tribute/1167 (accessed July 21, 2022)
- “Liz Koch,” Napa Institute, http://napa-institute.org/speakers/liz-koch/ (accessed July 21, 2022).
- “Charles Koch Is A Billionaire Many Times Over And a Much-Discussed Figure In The World of Business And Political Funding,” CBS News Sunday Morning, October 11, 2015.
- “Koch Foundations Donate $10.5M For New Wichita Arts Center,” Associated Press, September 16, 2015.
- “Wichita’s Multimillion-dollar Arts Center to Open in 2018,” Associated Press, June 26, 2016. The Koch Foundation challenge grant was met by this time.
- “Mark Arts—History,” https://markartsks.com/history/ (accessed July 21, 2022.)
-  James K. Glassman, “Market-Based Man,” Philanthropy, Fall 2011. Corie Brown, “Charles Koch’s Philanthropy Reflects Belief In “Individual Empowerment” and “Self-Actualization,” Los Angeles Times, July 1, 2020.
- James K Glassman, “Market-Based Man,” Philanthropy, Fall 2011.
-  Strassel, Kimberley A. “The Campus Climate Crusade.” The Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones & Company, March 26, 2015. https://www.wsj.com/articles/kimberley-strassel-the-campus-climate-crusade-1427411529?mod=hp_opinion.
-  Koleman Strumpf, “Unreasonable Searches: The Abuse of Open Records Laws,” Academic Questions, Spring 2016.
- 2019 Koch Family Foundation Form 990.