Listed #29 on Forbes.com for The World’s Most Powerful People is Charles Koch. The American businessman co-owns Koch Industries as its Chairman and CEO alongside his brother David Koch, who serves as the company’s Executive Vice President. The business was passed down to the brothers through their father, Fred Koch, allowing them to expand the company’s ventures further than oil refining. Today, Charles Koch maintains a net worth of $43.6 billion and resides in Wichita, KS with his wife.
The billionaire CEO recently donated $90 million via the Charles Koch Foundation in an effort to better Western Carolina University. The school’s trustees are due to meet on December 4th to discuss the direction of the Center for the Study of Free Enterprise, a center that will take off with $2 million of Charles Koch’s donation over the next five years.
The Center for the Study of Free Enterprise has been a part of a campaign by Koch that hopes to influence higher education in the South. Between 2005 and 2014, the Charles Koch Foundation (and three other groups run by Koch) donated approximately $108 million to colleges and universities all across the Southern United States. A majority of the donated money was received by a public school in FairFax, Virginia, George Mason University. The donation helped build the school’s Mercatus Center and Institute for Human Studies, putting an emphasis on free-market economics.
Other institutions that have received Koch donations are West Virginia University, Troy University of Alabama, and Florida State University, among others. Charles Koch plans to continue his contributions via his four non-profits in order to continue educational development in Southern universities.