In 2003, a group of successful business leaders and philanthropists, including Charles Koch, met to discuss the direction of our country. They each shared the same concern: opportunity to pursue the American Dream was slipping away. Out of that meeting grew biannual “Seminars,” and the supporters, organizations, capabilities, and initiatives we now call the Seminar Network.
The Seminar Network includes hundreds of partners from all 50 states whose experience spans a diversity of businesses, including manufacturing, construction, finance, energy, real estate, food service, and more. Combined, these business leaders employ more than two million people annually. They have lived the American Dream and are committed to breaking the barriers standing in the way of more Americans sharing in that experience.
To that end, each of our investments are designed to remove the barriers in education, business, communities, and government that are holding people back.
The Key Institutions
Higher education best prepares students for successful, fulfilling lives when it maintains a culture of toleration and challenge and engages a wide diversity of ideas. Today, our partners support programs at more than 300 colleges and universities that are preparing students to become critical thinkers, educating the next generation of professors, and enabling scholars to pursue research to address the most pressing issues in our society.
America’s K-12 system must also equip students with the values and skills to succeed. Our partners are leading efforts to ensure more students enjoy the very best education. This includes efforts to expand educational freedom for students and teachers through public policy reform, supplement classroom curriculum to help improve public and private schools, and innovative new school models.
Strong communities are essential to free and open societies. They produce constructive environments in which individuals can realize their potential. In cities across the country, our partners are finding, replicating, and scaling community-based organizations that help people overcome the barriers of joblessness, addiction, family breakdown, and other drivers of persistent poverty.
Firms that succeed through principled entrepreneurship not only create value for their customers, but also for society as a whole. By supporting efforts to promote principled entrepreneurship—which includes opposing corporate welfare and cronyism—we are fostering a culture in which businesses thrive by creating value for others.
Government has an essential role to play in helping to remove the barriers holding people back. We support a government that is accountable, impartial, and limited, and that defends equal rights and opportunity for all.
Our partners have built a permanent policy and political infrastructure in 36 states and at the federal level to unite citizens in support of principled public policies that help people improve their lives. Our policy priorities include K-12 and criminal justice reform, eliminating corporate welfare and removing economic barriers in tax and regulatory policy, free trade and immigration policy, sensible labor policy and affordable health care, responsible fiscal policy, and helping to confirm effective judges, among others.