By Raynard Jackson
A few weeks ago, the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) made a stunning announcement that caused a lot of consternation in the Black community. UNCF had accepted a $ 25 million contribution from Koch Industries and the Charles Koch Foundation.
Under normal circumstances, David and Charles Koch – the brothers who control the two entities – would be applauded for their generosity. But some Blacks have labeled the Koch brothers as racist simply because they are White, conservative, and libertarians who believe in smaller government, lower taxes and ballot integrity.
However, when the critics are asked to specify what has the Koch family done that is racist, they draw blanks. They equate philosophical disagreements with being a racist. Even if that were the case, why reject money that will actually benefit Black students? The gift is one of largest in the history of UNCF.
The UNCF is the primary fund-raising organization for students at private, historically Black colleges. UNCF President Michael Lomax had no problem accepting the check, saying, “… We believe that our cause is a cause that all Americans can and should support regardless of their views on other matters.”
The money will be allocated as follows: $18.5 million will be used to create the UNCF/Koch Scholars Program, which will provide funds to “exemplary students with demonstrated financial need and an interest in the study of how entrepreneurship, economics, and innovation contribute to well-being for individuals, communities, and society;” $6.5 million will provide general support to the UNCF and historically black colleges of which $4 million of those funds will be reserved to help the 37 UNCF member institutions help students who have been hurt by the denial of PLUS loans (a parent loan program).
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