The University of Missouri today received a $25 million gift from the Kinder Foundation to increase educational opportunities within the Kinder Institute on Constitutional Democracy, a world-leading center devoted to the study of the American founding.
The new gift — which brings the total philanthropy to the institute by Rich and Nancy Kinder and the foundation to $60 million — will expand the faculty and popular program offerings, such as the Washington D.C. internship and study abroad at Oxford University in England.
“In less than a decade, the Kinder Institute on Constitutional Democracy has grown from an idea to an institute with study offerings in Oxford and Washington D.C., and now we are adding an honors study program,” said Rich Kinder, chair of Kinder Foundation.
“Jay Sexton, the director, and his team are doing a very good job growing the institute, which we believe is doing an excellent job of educating its students on the founding of our nation and the constitutional democracy which resulted.”
The donation will allow the institute to double the number of students it can support during the summer internship in the nation’s capital, growing the program from 20 to 40 students.
Similarly, the undergraduate study abroad program will grow from a one-week pilot over spring break to a summer term offering that will enable a large cohort of MU students to spend extended time studying at Oxford University.
“The Kinder Institute is a story of transformational success at the University of Missouri,” said Mun Choi, University of Missouri president.
“We’re so grateful for the continued generous support of Rich and Nancy Kinder and the Kinder Foundation. Through their generosity the Kinder Institute has become an international leader in a new era of public discourse — one that inculcates a range of perspectives, free thinking and responsible dialogue across our society.”
The gift will also expand educational opportunities at MU through a new partnership with the Honors College that will allow the institute to offer a core sequence in constitutional democracy, as well as a one-month study-abroad option.
“This amazing gift will have a direct and lasting impact on the lives of our students at Mizzou,” said Darryl Chatman, chair of the University of Missouri Board of Curators. “We are so thankful for donors like Rich and Nancy Kinder because the gift impacts are seen not only on campus, but across Missouri, and in the case of the Kinder Institute, literally around the world.”
In addition to increased student learning, the gift will support hiring six new, world-class research faculty, directly supporting the broader MizzouForward initiative.
“We’re so thankful to the Kinders and the Kinder Foundation for their continued belief in Mizzou,” said Jackie Lewis, vice chancellor for Advancement.
“Their passion became a vision, and their support gave us the tools we needed to create a renowned institute for the study of constitutional democracy. This latest gift will allow us to grow that vision even further.”
The gift to the institute will continue the education and learning at a time when constitutional democracy is being debated around the world.
“In these troubled times, we need to empower intellectually independent students who are prepared to double down on the American experiment of democratic self-government,” Sexton said. “Thanks to the remarkable generosity of Rich and Nancy Kinder, the future is bright for Mizzou students, who will be tasked with bolstering our constitutional democracy.”
The Kinder Foundation, a family foundation established in 1997 by Rich and Nancy Kinder of Houston, Texas, provides transformational gifts that impact urban green space, education and quality of life.
In 2015, a $25 million gift from the Foundation endowed the Kinder Institute on Constitutional Democracy and in 2019, a $10 million gift allowed the institute to offer two new degrees at MU — a Bachelor of Arts in constitutional democracy and a Master of Arts in Atlantic history and politics.