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About us

Improving Societal Well-Being and Opportunity

Headquartered in Washington, DC, the Center for Advancing Opportunity is a research and education initiative born out of a partnership with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, the Charles Koch Foundation, and Koch Industries. The Center supports students and faculty at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) as well as other majority colleges and universities to develop research-based solutions to the most pressing issues in fragile communities.

“Fragile communities are communities where residents – no matter their race or ethnicity – face significant barriers to opportunity. These communities are characterized by high crime, lack of quality educational options, and severely limited economic and social upward mobility opportunities.” – Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., President & CEO, Thurgood Marshall College Fund

The Center is working to advance opportunity through the following activities:

  • Original Research: Supporting faculty at HBCUs working to develop research centers studying critical issues.
    • These campus research centers will help bring together multiple faculty members interested in education, criminal justice, and entrepreneurship.
    • Support for the campus research centers will include funding for research initiatives and undergraduate students studying these topics.
  • Scholarships: Awarding scholarships to HBCU students pursuing careers in education, sociology, economics, and criminal justice research and awarding fellowships that will allow graduate researchers to study and research issues related to barriers to opportunity.
  • On-Campus Programming: Supporting HBCU faculty working to bring speakers such as entrepreneurs, educators and economists to campus to facilitate conversations for students about removing barriers and advancing opportunity.
  • Research and Polling: Partnering with Gallup to create Gallup’s TMCF/Koch Opportunity Index that will capture real sentiments of individuals living in fragile communities and foster public dialogue.
  • The State of Opportunity in America Forum: Convening annually HBCU researchers and other national thought leaders to examine research findings and develop solutions.
Our Priorities

The Center provides grants to researchers exploring how to expand opportunities.
In addition to inviting new ideas on the following topics, we welcome general proposals for how to better understand and advance opportunity.

Education

The center believes more quality research and data will help inform efforts to ensure all students have access to quality education.

Criminal Justice

The Center supports researchers working to better understand and solve current challenges to our social and criminal justice system.

Entrepreneurship

The Center supports exploration of institutions and ideas that allow for the most growth and progress in all communities.

Our Impact

Our impact is focused on advancing opportunity.
The Center believes the best way to do that includes listening to individuals in fragile communities and supporting the researchers best positioned to explore communities’ most pressing issues and use their findings to inform solutions to those problems.

Contact Us

Contact our press team at press@advancingopportunity.org.
For general inquiries, please contact info@advancingopportunity.org.

You may download additional press-related materials here.

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Formed in 1987 and named for the U.S. Supreme Court’s first African American Justice, the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) represents all Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and its member-schools include the 47 publicly-supported HBCUs. TMCF helps students acquire a high-quality college education at an affordable cost, develops leaders of tomorrow and connects high-performing students with top tier employment opportunities.

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The Charles Koch Foundation has been working to help people improve their lives by advancing an understanding of the benefits of free societies since its founding in 1980. The Foundation was created to continue this support through academic grants and educational initiatives. The Foundation supports education and research that facilitates dialogue and sparks innovation, creating opportunities for people to thrive.

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Koch Industries owns a diverse group of companies integral to creating life’s basic necessities: food, shelter, clothing and transportation. With 100,000 employees in more than 60 countries worldwide, including 60,000 in the U.S., Koch strives to make life better through innovative solutions that set industry best practices for quality and responsibility. Koch Industries is also an unapologetic advocate for the principles of a free and open society, which are applied across Koch companies every single day and contribute to its overall success.