A Letter From Our Founder Charles Koch & CEO Brian Hooks

We live in a period of unprecedented progress – economic, social, technological. But today, not everyone shares in that progress. While many people are getting ahead, many others are being left behind.

Unfortunately, in response, people are being drawn to destructive ideas like socialism and nationalism. Far from offering solutions for those being left behind, these ideas double down on the failures of the past which will make things much worse.

There has to be a better way.

There is. It starts with what has set this country apart and enabled people to thrive since our founding: the ideals articulated in the Declaration of Independence. Though far from fully implemented, those ideals have driven amazing progress when our society has embraced them as its North Star.

Throughout our history, the gap between those ideals and the reality of peoples’ everyday life has led to social movements that united diverse groups to remove barriers holding people back.

These movements helped give more people greater access to the building blocks of a successful life: a better education, participation in the workforce, a shared sense of community, and public policies that opened opportunities for people to rise.

Education. Business. Communities. Government. Every time these institutions were transformed to empower more people to realize their American Dream, barriers have fallen and we’ve made progress together.

But today, the gap between our country’s ideals and the reality of everyday life is growing. And those institutions are failing to help many people adapt and thrive in a fast-changing world.

Education focuses more on teaching to the test rather than personalized learning. Business is dominated by special interests that rig the system in their favor rather than create value for society. In communities, the War on Poverty makes poverty easier to endure but harder to escape. In government, extreme partisanship means common-sense reforms don’t get passed.

As a result, people are being left behind and the associated social unrest is pitting people against each other.

Together, we can offer a compelling path forward for the tens of millions of Americans who are searching for a better way.

This requires that we take our efforts to a new level. We’ve started by increasing our investments in hundreds of effective organizations that are empowering people from the bottom up.

As they show more people that there is a better way in education, business, communities, and government, we can help unleash modern-day movements – uniting and mobilizing people from all walks of life to transform these institutions to enable everyone to share in America’s progress.

This is how we go far beyond engaging people directly – from helping millions of people overcome the barriers they face individually, to creating the conditions so every person can rise.

The groundwork for this next step has already been laid. The stories you’ll find here offer inspiring examples of progress – and how uniting together means we can all make a greater difference than we can on our own.

The future is far from certain. But if we all do our part, we can bring out the best in this country even in these difficult times. We invite anyone who shares our vision and determination to join us as we Stand Together to Help Every Person Rise.

Charles Koch

Brian Hooks
Chairman & CEO