Thurgood Marshall College Fund, Koch Foundation Partner for $26 Million Research Initiative

Will be among the largest non-government HBCU research investments in American history.

Will be among the largest non-government HBCU research investments in American history.

Officials from the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and the Charles Koch Foundation today announced a partnership that will expand research capacity at historically black colleges and universities nationwide for the next five years, one of the largest private investments of its kind in history.

The five-year grant, which will total more than $25 million, will go towards the establishment of a national research center within TMCF’s Washington D.C. headquarters, and will expand to similar centers at public and private black colleges throughout the term of the partnership. The announcement comes just two years after the Foundation’s pledge of $25 million to the United Negro College Fund for student scholarships.

The new TMCF Center for Advancing Opportunity will lend technical and financial support to HBCU faculty members to address intractable issues like criminal justice and economic reform, education and entrepreneurship, and other persistent social issues disparately impacting black communities. In an interview with the Washington Post, TMCF President and CEO Johnny Taylor said that the research will be groundbreaking in that it will be produced by black researchers and black intellectuals stationed in black communities.

“You need to bring more of the community in and listen to them,” Taylor told Koch’s team, which led them to ask Taylor what more should be done.

The Koch Foundation has faced heavy criticism at college campuses nationwide for its perceived strategy of funding and controlling research with emphasis on conservative economic principles and policymaking.

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Taylor and Koch Foundation President Brian Hooks addressed those controversies, and the potential gains they project for the project, in an exclusive interview with the HBCU Digest.