The United Negro College Fund announced a $25 million grant Friday from Koch Industries Inc. and the Charles Koch Foundation — a large donation from the conservative powerhouse Koch name that Democrats have sought to vilify heading into the 2014 midterm elections.

The UNCF, known for its iconic motto, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste,” supports historically black colleges and universities and provides scholarships.

From the donation, $18.5 million will go toward nearly 3,000 merit-based scholarships to African-American students, and $6.5 million will go toward general support for historically black colleges and universities and the UNCF.

Charles Koch is a billionaire in his 70s who, along with his brother, David, built the hugely profitable and privately held Koch conglomerate focused on chemicals, textiles, paper and other products from an oil company they inherited from their father.

Longtime patrons of libertarian and conservative causes, the brothers have built an elaborate network of political and social groups that have funneled tens of millions of dollars to groups such as Americans for Prosperity. The network is among the most potent outside forces driving Republican politics and candidates.