NFL Hall of Famer Deion Sanders announced plans Saturday to join forces with the conservative Koch brothers to launch a new $21 million venture to work on anti-poverty programs in Dallas.
The project, called Prime 5, will expand the Kochs’ work with two existing Dallas programs focused on building young entrepreneurs and reducing gang violence. Organizers plan to expand their support to other groups working in the city.
“Football and baseball is what I played, but this is what I am,” said Sanders, now a network sports commentator, of his focus on community work and the new venture with the billionaire industrialists.
Sanders and Evan Feinberg, who runs a Koch-funded group Stand Together, made the announcement on the opening day of a three-day retreat attended by Charles Koch and the hundreds of donors who help fund projects that advance Koch’s free-market, small-government agenda.
Sanders, who attended his first Koch gathering earlier this year in Indian Wells, Calif., said Koch and his brother have been “targeted unfairly.” He described the Kochs as a family with the “desire to make this country a better place.”
“I am thankful to be partnering with them,” he said.
The Kochs’ donor network is among the most influential in Republican politics, rivaling the national party in staff and budget. One sign of their influence: Vice President Pence on Friday night had a 50-minute face-to-face meeting with Charles Koch to talk about efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, taxes and other policy matters.
The Kochs have committed millions to help advance the Trump administration’s tax cuts through the GOP-controlled Congress and are putting their muscle behind several of President Trump’s pick for the federal bench.
The Kochs’ three-day retreat at the luxury Broadmoor Resort in the Rocky Mountains will help the network craft its strategy ahead of the 2018 midterm elections as well as gain support for new community efforts to spread donors’ free-market message.
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SOURCE: USA Today – Fredreka Schouten