Koch foundation continues Center for Free Enterprise support


    LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The University of Louisville College of Business announced today that the Charles Koch Foundation, an original funder of the Center for Free Enterprise, has renewed its support with a second gift of $737,000.

    This investment will be added to previously announced gifts from the family of John Menard, Jr. and the Joseph W. Craft III Foundation to expand the robust research and teaching capacity in the four-year-old center, which was founded to explore the role of enterprise in advancing the well-being of society. In partnership with the Forcht Center for Entrepreneurship, the center will also examine ideas related to free enterprise through the lens of principled entrepreneurship.

    “We are thrilled to join the Menard family and the Joseph W. Craft III Foundation to continue our support for the Center for Free Enterprise,” said Charles Koch Foundation Executive Director Ryan Stowers. “The center is a vibrant part of the campus. By partnering with scholars from other schools within the university—from Music to Arts and Sciences—and hosting discussions with a wide range of creators and innovators, the center is empowering students within the business school and beyond to discover how their unique talents can be used to enrich their lives and their community.” 

    The foundation has funded more than 400 programs at more than 300 U.S. colleges and universities. Its goal is to break barriers that stand in the way of people realizing their potential through grant funding to scholars, students and partners developing creative solutions that empower individuals to transform their lives and to improve society.

    Since the center began operations in 2016, it has hosted speakers on topics such as criminal justice reform, comparative economic systems and entrepreneurship as a means to address poverty. The center also hosts reading groups that attract students from across the university.

    The funds will help the center add two tenure-track professors in entrepreneurship and up to five doctoral fellows, plus staff for the center, which is directed by Stephan Gohmann.

    “We will continue to reach a breadth of students, alumni and the public with our speaker series,” said Gohmann, an economics professor. “Additionally, I’m excited the center is expanding into entrepreneurship, as many of our students are interested in starting businesses and innovating within their companies.”


    Betty Coffman
    Betty Coffman is a Communications Coordinator focused on research and innovation at UofL. A UofL alumna and Louisville native, she served as a writer and editor for local and national publications and as an account services coordinator and copywriter for marketing and design firms prior to joining UofL’s Office of Communications and Marketing.