History demonstrates that people are capable of extraordinary things when they have the freedom and opportunity to learn, contribute, and succeed.
But too often, barriers of all kinds stand in the way of people realizing their potential. By supporting and inspiring social entrepreneurs, we aim to empower the people who break these barriers and move our society toward one that values equal rights, openness, self-actualization, and mutual benefit.
We support social entrepreneurs across society working in education, communities, business, and government. We do this by inspiring a new generation of leaders through our educational programs, supporting applied research that turns great ideas into practical solutions, and investing in projects that demonstrate new and better ways to address the major issues we face as a country.
We focus on bottom-up solutions that dynamically respond to the unique challenges individuals face, instead of one-size-fits-all, top-down strategies. We are driven by Frederick Douglass’ advice to “unite with anybody to do right and with nobody to do harm.” We strive to find common ground with anyone who shares our vision.
Our Guiding Values
Equal RightsA system of equal rights — articulated in the Declaration of Independence — requires respect for the dignity of all people and equality under the law.
Mutual BenefitWhen the values and laws of society respect the dignity of individuals and uphold their rights, people succeed by creating value for others, motivating them to assist rather than harm one another.
OpennessEqual rights and mutual benefit foster openness by allowing the free movement of ideas, resources, and people that generate knowledge, innovation, and opportunity, fueling progress throughout society.
Self-ActualizationFor such a society to exist, its key institutions — education, communities, business, government — remove rather than erect barriers to people realizing their potential and finding fulfillment. As more people have the opportunity to use their unique talents to succeed by helping others improve their lives, society flourishes.
Charles Koch is chairman and CEO of Koch Industries, one of the largest privately held American companies. An influential philanthropist for more than 50 years, he supports education, a community of organizations addressing persistent poverty, and public policy research focused on developing effective solutions to societal problems. He has founded numerous nonprofit organizations, including Stand Together. He holds two master’s degrees in nuclear and chemical engineering from MIT and lives in Wichita, Kansas, with his wife, Liz. A New York Times bestselling author, his most recent book is Believe in People: Bottom-up Solutions for a Top-down World.
The Charles Koch Institute is a member of the Stand Together community. Stand Together empowers people dedicated to helping others improve their lives. This philanthropic community tackles some of the biggest challenges of our time, including reforming the nation’s criminal justice system, strengthening K-12 education, helping neighbors beat poverty and addiction, empowering everyone to find fulfilling work, and more. We can all make a greater difference by uniting together than by acting on our own.