OVERVIEW: Bankrolled by New York's richest resident, the David H. Koch Charitable Foundation is particularly active in supporting cancer research and art institutions in the city.
FUNDING AREAS: Health (cancer research), art and education
IP TAKE: The money coming out of Koch's outfit isn't always clear, but in recent years, shows a preference for art. Koch does make quite a few individual gifts, however, where other longstanding interests in health and education have received funding as well.
PROFILE: David H. Koch is the younger half of the billionaire Koch brothers. Each brother is worth more than $40 billion and Koch is considered to be New York City's richest resident. The Koch family has several philanthropic outfits and the younger Koch does much of his giving through the David H. Koch Charitable Foundation, which at the end of a recent year held more than $40 million in assets and gave away more than $10 million that year. Assets are down from previous years in the recent past.
Koch and his foundation have pledged or contributed more than $1.2 billion to cancer research, medical centers, educational institutions, arts and cultural institutions, and to assist public policy organizations.
Most of Koch's giving is split between New York and Boston, where Koch's alma mater, MIT, has received major funding over the years, particularly toward cancer research. Koch's interest in cancer research is personal and stems from a prostate cancer diagnosis decades ago. He said of his condition: “Once you get that disease... you become a crusader to try to cure the disease not only for yourself but for other people.” Over the years, Koch's health philanthropy has deepened beyond just an interest in cancer.
In New York, Koch sits on the board of trustees at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, which has received at least $66.7 million over the years. Koch has also been involved with the massive $2 billion capital campaign at New York-Presbyterian where he pledged $100 million to support the construction of a new ambulatory care center at the hospital's Upper East Side location. Outside of New York, millions of dollars have gone to MD Anderson Cancer Center in Texas and MIT.
Koch has also given $26.2 million to the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York where he sits on the board of trustees. He also pledged $10 million to the Jaffe Food Allergy Institute at the Mount Sinai Medical Center to create the David H. and Julia Koch Research Program in Food Allergy Therapeutics. Koch's son, David Jr., has severe allergies to nuts and shellfish, among other things. Koch has been a speaker at the annual Food Allergy Ball.
Koch is also interested in the arts. He's been associated with the American Ballet Theatre for at least 25 years and is currently a vice chair at the theater, which has received at least $6 million over the years. Koch made a $100 million pledge in 2008 to help rebuild the New York State Theater at Lincoln Center, a dance venue now named after Koch. Koch has also given $500,000 to the New York City Opera and gave the Ballet Theater Foundation $2.5 million to help fund the Nutcracker.
The David H. Koch Plaza opened to the public at the Metropolitan Museum of Art following a major two-year reconstruction effort which added new landscaping and fountains. Koch gave $65 million towards this effort.
Koch fell in love with the American Museum of Natural History as a kid. Koch gave $20 million to establish the David H. Koch Dinosaur Hall at the museum, where he's a member of the board of directors. Koch also pledged $35 million to Smithsonian's Natural History Museum, where he sits on the board of trustees, to renovate another dinosaur hall that will also be named after him.
Education is also high on Koch's list of interests, though as of now, Boston has been the main beneficiary of these gifts, not New York. In the future, look for education that promotes STEM (Koch has a chemical engineering background) or Koch's libertarian free society principles to be favored by the foundation.
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