Charles G. Koch is an American philanthropist and businessman who was born in Wichita, Kansas on November 1, 1935. He currently serves as the co-owner, chief executive officer and chairman of the board of Koch Industries, which is the second-largest privately held company in the United States. Koch himself is currently listed in the top 10 richest people in the world with a net work of $41 billion.
His father Fred Koch, made his fortune as a result of his invention of a revolutionary new technique of thermal cracking. The technique was used to convert petroleum into lighter oils such as gasoline. Upon the death of Fred Koch in 1967, his Rock Island Oil and Refining Company was subsequently inherited by his four sons: David, Frederick, William and Charles. It was during this time that Charles became the chief executive officer and chairman of the company as to which they renamed, Koch Industries, Inc. in 1968.
In 1983 Charles and his brother David, purchased Fredrick’s and William’s stock in Koch Industries for a total of $1.1 billion. Through Charles’ leadership Koch Industries extended it’s interest into various areas that surpassed the petroleum industry which lead to an increase it is annual revenue which as of 2009 is usually around $100 billion per year give or take.
Charles Koch is well known for his philanthropic efforts as well. In fact, in 2008 Businessweek listed him as being one of the top 50 American givers. Reports also indicated that in between 2004 – 2008 he donated $246 million to libertarian causes such as social welfare. He was also awarded with an Honorary Doctorate in recognition of his financial support and research grants.
Besides that, he has also given donations to the Youth Entrepreneurs Kansas organization as well as the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature organization. In 2011, he received the William E. Simmon Prize for Philanthropic Leadership. This award recognizes the principles and ideals which lead to William E. Simon’s charitable causes which include resourcefulness, volunteerism and individual freedom.
By July 2015, he was praised by President Obama for his efforts to reform America’s criminal justice system. This was due to the fact that for several years he was advocating for several forms of reform within the judicial system such as easing the employment restrictions which are placed on felons as well as the reduction of prison sentences for recidivist criminals.
He has also aligned with groups such as the Coalition for Public Safety, ACLU and the Center for American Progress. He proclaimed he aligned with those groups because he firmly believes that today’s criminal system unfairly targets minority communities and low-income individuals which leads to the wasting of government resources.