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IHS to Host Programs on 500 Campuses

New Funding Will Help Reach 40,000 Students in Three Years

Sadly, most of our country’s 21 million college students never encounter a compelling case for individual liberty and free enterprise in their classrooms. Yet polls show that many are dissatisfied with the political status quo and ripe to consider new ideas.

IHS is seizing this opportunity with an expanded lineup of programs to reach and educate students about the ideas of freedom. And thanks to a new commitment of $3.2 million in funding from the John Templeton Foundation, this now includes a planned 500 educational programs on campuses across the country over the coming three years.

“Eye-Opening” Programs

IHS partners with freedom-friendly professors to co-host debates, guest lectures, weekend seminars, and semester-long reading groups. Recent participants describe the programs as “profound,” “engaging,” and “eye-opening.”

Katie Ross, a freshman at Stonehill College, attended a “Weekend Exploring Liberty Seminar” co-hosted by IHS on her campus in February. She wrote afterward, “It was an enjoyable and educational experience I won’t forget!”

IHS grew such on-campus programs from 38 participants in 2009 to nearly 2,000 last year. The new John Templeton Foundation grant puts us on track to include 40,000 students over three years.

“We think very highly of IHS and everything it’s done to bring sound ideas to college campuses,” says Daniel Green, director of Templeton’s Individual Freedom & Free Markets initiatives. He adds that the foundation is “thrilled” to help expand the on-campus program.

The grant contributes to a three-year budget of nearly $4 million for on-campus programs, with IHS expected to raise the difference from other supporters who understand the importance of reaching our country’s young citizens and future leaders with the ideas of liberty.

With many of the anticipated 40,000 students new to IHS and to the ideas of a free society, this rapid growth will enable IHS to identify many more students who can become champions of liberty and help turn our country around.

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IHS Helps Policy Allies and Scholars Increase Their Impact Videos

Unique “Find Scholars” Service Connects Professors to Think Tanks

Ideas matter, driving public opinion and ultimately determining the direction of public policy. That’s why IHS is working to help freedom-friendly scholars get sound policy ideas out of the ivory tower and into today’s critical debates.

For example, IHS connected University of Nebraska economist John Anderson to that state’s free-market think tank, the Platte Institute, to conduct a study of property taxes in Nebraska and neighboring states. Now, Professor Anderson is working with the Mercatus Center to do a broader study.

IHS is in a unique position to connect scholars and policy allies. Through decades of work with professors, IHS has built a comprehensive knowledge base of more than 11,000 scholars around the world. Today, this asset is being put to work with the IHS Find Scholars service that acts as a connector between talent and opportunities to advance market-oriented solutions.  

Helping the Network of Think Tanks

Dozens of times a month, Find Scholars recommends professors to allied organizations for conducting policy research, testifying before state legislatures, writing op-eds, serving on advisory boards, and more. Last year saw more than 320 such connections to 84 allied organizations.

Members of the State Policy Network (SPN)—the association of market-oriented think tanks around the country—are key users of the IHS Find Scholars service. Our team reaches out to SPN members to learn where scholarly research or commentary can make a difference, then works to identify specific scholars from the IHS knowledge base to meet the need. Recent examples include:

  • Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Foundation engaging a scholar to do a study on public-sector pension reform. The study recommended changes that would save the state’s taxpayers $52 billion over 30 years.
  • The Property and Environment Research Center (PERC) lining up scholars to review its study on state and federal land management, prompting PERC to “rethink and rewrite . . . a crucial component” of the analysis.
  • Michigan’s Mackinac Center working with two professors to produce a video on the minimum wage, weighing in on the current debate in that state.

Getting Sound Ideas into the Media

Another avenue of impact for professors is speaking to the media and writing op-eds in their areas of expertise. Find Scholars connects scholarly talent to such opportunities. That’s how Jason Fodeman, a University of Arizona professor of medicine, published op-eds on the impact of Obamacare with the Clarion Ledger, the Knoxville News Sentinel, and the website Real Clear Policy.

In all these ways, IHS is deploying its unique knowledge base of freedom-friendly professors, recognizing that university scholars have great credibility with lawmakers, the media, and other opinion leaders. For decades, academic research has supported ever more government as the solution to every problem. IHS is countering this trend by boosting the policy impact of sound research grounded in the principles of a free society.

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Online Video Hit Milestone

Growing Impact among Students

YouTube, the popular video-sharing website, recently contacted IHS with good news: our Learn Liberty channel on YouTube reached a milestone of 100,000 subscribers. YouTube values high-traffic channels, and to mark this accomplishment they sent a plaque (pictured below) and awarded IHS free access to their studios, enabling us to produce higher-quality videos cost-effectively.

Since launching with a handful of videos four years ago, Learn Liberty now includes more than 340 short, lively videos featuring freedom-friendly professors. Hosted on YouTube and Facebook, where students regularly consume video content, Learn Liberty has attracted more than 16 million views from our college-age target audience.

Through various online channels, the video series now has nearly 400,000 subscribers. This enables IHS to share new videos with the most-interested viewers and to encourage students to “learn more, do more” by getting involved with IHS, with groups like Students for Liberty, and with other allies who have opportunities for students.

Brandon Sato is just the kind of student Learn Liberty can inspire. A political science major, he started paying attention to ideas during the 2008 election but became “disillusioned” with the options. After stumbling on Learn Liberty videos, he became “hooked onto the liberty train.” He enrolled in IHS online seminars to dig deeper and then hopped a plane to Pennsylvania to attend a week-long IHS summer seminar.

For supporters who are interested in staying updated, IHS now offers a monthly email of Learn Liberty news, including links to new and popular videos. Please see the return envelope enclosed with this newsletter.

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IHS Alum Book Feature

Government against Itself: Public Union Power and Its Consequences

Daniel DiSalvo
Oxford University Press, 2015

“It is rare that an academic book attracts attention and stokes real controversy,” observed the website New Books in Political Science—anticipating that Daniel DiSalvo’s would do just that. Why? Because it drives a wedge between unions in the private and public sectors.

DiSalvo, a political science professor at the City University of New York and a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, participated in IHS programs as a graduate student. And he’s long been a student of the problems created by public-sector unions.

A third-generation union member, he has no beef with unions per se. But while public-sector unions paint the image of their private-employee counterparts—workers banding together to secure fair wages and safe working conditions—they also actively engage in electioneering and politics by donating hundreds of millions of dollars to political candidates every year. That means they effectively sit on both sides of the negotiating table.

And because the public sector rarely goes out of business if squeezed too hard, the unions have no incentive to settle for less. Thus, DiSalvo notes, they drive up the cost of government with money spent on pensions and salaries and crowd out goods desired by the average taxpayer, such as roads, schools, and libraries.

Government employees are not the enemy, he is careful to say. But he concludes it will be impossible to make government more responsive and accountable unless the power of public-sector unions is challenged.

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People and Ideas Make a Difference for Liberty

Kudos to IHS Alumni and Associates

Tom W. Bell is the winner of this year’s Charles G. Koch Outstanding IHS Alum Award. A professor in the Fowler School of Law at Chapman University, Tom set out nearly 25 years ago to “learn how law can best protect individual freedom” and has carried that passion into his teaching, his scholarship, and his work on policy issues.

Tom got started with IHS at a summer seminar in 1988—where he not only delved into the ideas of freedom but met his future spouse, Donna Matias. After earning an MA in philosophy, he went on to study law at the University of Chicago with the help of IHS fellowships, career programs, and mentoring. He has paid it forward in spades.

Since becoming a professor, he has taught at IHS seminars summer after summer. He was an early and enthusiastic faculty partner in creating our online Learn Liberty videos. And this past year, working with IHS, he took his expertise online in a new way with a course on intellectual property and entrepreneurship hosted on the platform Udemy.

Tom has published widely on high-tech legal issues in scholarly journals and popular venues. His recent book, Intellectual Privilege: Copyright, Common Law, and the Common Good, earned a spot on the Wall Street Journal’s 2014 “Books of the Year” list.

The annual alum award is named in honor of Wichita businessman and IHS Chairman Charles G. Koch, in recognition of his longstanding dedication to cultivating promising talent to advance the principles and practice of freedom. Each year, IHS awards a special plaque and $5,000 to an alum who is contributing significantly toward that end.

Past Outstanding Alum Award winner John Hood has been appointed president of the John William Pope Foundation. Founded in 1986, the foundation has granted over $100 million to public policy groups, educational institutions, humanitarian efforts, and the arts, primarily in North Carolina, to protect and strengthen the free enterprise system and civic association. John was previously president of the John Locke Foundation, North Carolina’s free-market think tank, which he helped found in 1989 with the support of the Pope Foundation. He writes and comments frequently for national media outlets.

IHS alum Kevin Houser won a 2014 Sanders Graduate Student Prize—one of three awarded in the inaugural year of the prize, which recognizes excellence in research and writing in philosophy. Kevin is nearing completion of his PhD at Indiana University Bloomington. His prize-winning paper, “Empathy Re-Moralized,” argues that empathy provides a stable backdrop for ethical decision making.

Alum professor Paul Niehaus, University of California, San Diego, and his coauthor Sandip Sukhtankar, Dartmouth, won the 2014 Best Paper Award from the American Economic Journal: Economic Policy for their study on deterring corruption in developing countries. Dr. Niehaus’s interest in economic development is more than academic. He is cofounder and president of Give Directly, a nonprofit that makes cash transfers directly to the extreme poor, measures the results, and aims to “reshape international giving, making direct giving the benchmark against which old, top-down models are evaluated.”

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IHS Supporters Enjoy Special Events" Retreat

Annual Donor Retreat Draws Friends from Around the Country

Nearly 250 supporters and other friends of freedom gathered for our 16th Annual Retreat in March, enjoying a weekend of interesting speakers and stimulating conversation in sunny Scottsdale, Arizona. The annual Advancing Liberty, Creating Change retreat is co-hosted by the Institute for Humane Studies and the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, giving attendees the benefit of a program put together by two of the premier freedom-advancing organizations in our country.

Keynote speakers included political satirist and journalist P.J. O’Rourke, New York Times columnist and best-selling author John Tierney, Congressman Justin Amash, and top economics blogger Tyler Cowen.

Next year’s Advancing Liberty, Creating Change retreat will be March 17-20, 2016, at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort in Naples, Florida. Mark your calendars now and plan to join us!

Meanwhile, IHS is coming to cities around the country throughout the year. If you would like to host an IHS reception, luncheon, or small dinner in your area, bringing together supporters and IHS alumni, please contact Krysti Lloyd at (703) 993-8746 or klloyd@ihs.gmu.edu.

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Manufacturing Executive Looks to Improve America

Karen Wright Supports IHS Strategy for “Far-Reaching Effect”

"Most of Karen Wright’s neighbors in Mount Vernon, Ohio, are unaware of the millions she contributes locally and nationally to improve her community and her country. That’s the way this “quiet philanthropist” wants it, investing in what she believes in without expecting recognition.

Karen views her philanthropy as “paying it forward,” which she can do because of the success she has achieved at Ariel Corporation, her family’s business. Her father, Jim Buchwald, started the company in 1966 and built the prototype natural gas compressor, which became Serial #1, in the basement of their home in Mount Vernon.

That design was an industry changer, and today Ariel is the world’s largest manufacturer of reciprocating gas compressors, used in producing, transporting, and storing natural gas. The company likes to point out that if you use natural gas in your home, or it powers your electrical plant, it has almost certainly passed through an Ariel compressor on its way to you.

Coming into Leadership

Karen went away to St. Olaf College in Minnesota, eager to leave her small town behind. But Mount Vernon’s charm lured her back eight years later. Intending to open a bookstore, she quickly realized that her real interest lay in the family business. She embarked on a three-year managerial training program at Ariel, then worked part-time while raising a family, until returning to the company full-time in 1997.

Four years later, Karen took on the role of president and CEO. She is something of an oddity in the world of capital goods manufacturing and the oil and gas industry, where few women serve as company executives, but she says “it has been of no consequence.” Applying skills acquired mostly while raising her four sons and working part-time—“a challenge significantly more difficult than running a company”—she has grown the business nearly five-fold.

In 2009, Karen formed the Ariel Foundation, a private family foundation devoted to the quality of life in the company’s hometown of Mount Vernon. The foundation, along with significant contributions from the company and Karen personally, focuses on restoring and repurposing the downtown, as well as on parks and recreation, education (partnering with three local colleges and the public schools), and the arts.

Keeping America Free

In addition, Karen has broad philanthropic interests ranging from wounded veterans to cancer research to advancing freedom, including IHS programs. Among those efforts, Karen says she is particularly fond of the original Mount Vernon, George Washington’s home, and has contributed to the building of a presidential library there to expand understanding of the father of our nation and appreciation of America’s founding ideals.

“When I was in grade school, we all knew and revered George Washington and the other Founders,” she recalls. “Today, we are in danger of losing the freedoms we enjoy, and the unique character of America, because students are no longer taught how special this nation truly is.”

That’s where IHS fits in. Karen made her first contribution in 2000 and over the last several years has increased her support significantly as she’s seen IHS grow in impact.

She recognizes that IHS is today “seeding the whole university system” with the ideas of freedom by working with thousands of professors across the country and helping millions of college students understand the foundations of freedom and the value of free enterprise. And this, she believes, “will have a far-reaching and essential effect on the continuation of America as the land of the free and the home of the brave.”

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