Billionaire philanthropist sibling duo Charles and David Koch recently announced that the previous iteration of their collection of nonprofit and support networks will move forward under a new name: Stand Together.

Formerly known as The Seminar Network, the groups were funded not only by the Koch brothers but by other conservative and libertarian investors with a vested interest in partisan politics and nonprofit efforts. Going forward, the Stand Together Foundation will be representative of a wider scope of efforts and will not be as closely associated with politics.

The former Seminar Network consisted of several prominent fixtures in the conservative politics space, including Freedom Partners, which used to be responsible for airing campaign ads.

The newly founded Stand Together Foundation has identified several priorities as it shifts its focus and moves forward:

  • Empower individuals to find gainful and fulfilling employment
  • Battle poverty and addiction
  • Provide education for every person
  • Build a stronger economy
  • Bridge divides and foster respect among communities

“We’re just getting started,” stated Charles Koch at an investor gathering. “Investors” will also receive a new term, now going by “partners”, ridding the network of the negative and finance-heavy connotation of the previous moniker.

This shift in priorities and messaging is intended to serve multiple purposes. Already during the 2018 midterm election, the group was more selective of the candidates it chose to back, having become heavily critical of President Donald Trump after the 2016 election cycle.

Now, the priority will shift to more genuine, productive engagement within the political sphere rather than one-sided support and blind partisan adherence. “What we’re committed to doing is offering people a different way to stay engaged in policy and in politics but to do it in a way that unites people to actually get things done,” said Koch chairman Brian Hook. Some of the Koch-supported groups have reached across party lines, in fact, in order to support initiatives such as helping the “Dreamers” and lobbying for the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan.

The shift has met with support from the partners, who agree that continuing the campaign to increase engagement with a widely pessimistic and disillusioned voter base will be the most valuable pursuit in the long run.

But the work doesn’t just involve political involvement. As stated in the outlined priorities, there is much work to be done from multiple angles. Some say that this shift can be taken as a distancing of the group from the Republican party and, by association, from the sitting President. This sentiment is echoed by Hooks, who said one lesson learned is that uniting coalitions is more effective than strictly adhering to partisan politics.

At a time in which parties are strongly divided and polarized, networks such as the Stand Together Foundation may be one of the keys to rebuilding a sense of unity. The newly adopted motto of the organization, “Greater Your Good”, stands to call supporters to work towards common goals instead of only sticking to party lines.

It is the hope of the Stand Together Foundation that with enough support, a unified approach, and the right calls to action, more voters and citizens across the ideological spectrum can be mobilized to work towards the betterment of the country. And in a time in which people are firmly ensconced on their respective sides, this unification effort might just be the key to getting more things done.


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Image Credit: Photo by Samuel Zeller on Unsplash