Darcy Olsen

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Darcy Olsen
Darcy Olsen.jpg
Residence Phoenix, Arizona
Education Georgetown University
New York University
Employer Goldwater Institute
Home town St. George, Utah
Title Former Chief Executive Officer
Board member of Arizona School Choice Trust
Website Goldwater Institute

Darcy Olsen is the former chief executive officer of the Goldwater Institute.[1][2]

Early years[edit]

Darcy Ann Olsen was born in Bennington, Vermont. Until she was 10 years old, she and her family resided in Hoosick Falls, New York. Her family then moved to Richfield, Utah. Olsen attended high school in St. George, Utah, where she was active in student groups.[3]


In 1989, Olsen received a scholarship to attend the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. While attending classes, Olsen also worked as a drug counselor and transition house manager for the Coalition for the Homeless in Washington, D.C.[4][5]

In 1993, Olsen earned a bachelor of science degree from Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service. Then she enrolled in graduate school at New York University. She earned a master's degree in international education[6] in 1995 after studying foreign educational systems with an emphasis in developing countries of North Africa.

Professional career[edit]

After her graduation from NYU, Olsen moved back to Utah and worked as a copywriter and editor for Weber State University. A year later, she returned to Washington, D.C. in a similar role for the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank.

Cato Institute[edit]

Olsen's first report for Cato[7] focused on an anticipated proposal from President Bill Clinton’s administration to significantly expand the federal government’s role in providing child care for American families.[8]

Two years later, Olsen wrote a new report[9] about proposals in a variety of states to provide universal preschool because of claims that at-risk children need a stable instructional environment at earlier ages to be successful in school as they get older.[10] In her review of the available scientific research, Olsen claimed that government-sponsored early childhood education provides no lasting improvement in the average student’s learning skills or chances for success later.[11]

Goldwater Institute[edit]

Olsen came to Phoenix in 2001 to lead the Goldwater Institute, established in 1988 with the blessing of the late U.S. Senator Barry Goldwater.[12] Designated as a 501(c3) non-profit,[13] the Goldwater Institute reported a budget of $3.5 million in 2010.

In 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011, the Arizona Capitol Times and its readers selected Goldwater as the “Best Capitol Watchdog” in Arizona,[1] in 2009 as “Leader of the Year” in Policy Development, and in 2011 as hosting the "Best Political Fundraiser" for its 2010 Gala Dinner featuring New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.[14] Washington Post and Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist George Will described the Institute as "America's most potent advocate of limited government."[15]

She has written columns for national newspapers including the Wall Street Journal and USA Today and appeared on public affairs television programs across the country including The O'Reilly Factor, The Dennis Miller Show and Inside Politics. Glenn Beck included Olsen's thoughts[16] in his 2009-10 American Revival Tour.[17]

Honors and awards[edit]

She was named one of Arizona’s top Women in Public Policy[18] and one of the Phoenix Business Journal’s Power Players in 2006,[19] and one of Phoenix’s Forty Under 40 in 2009.[20] She also received the Roe Award, offered by the State Policy Network for outstanding achievements in advancing free-market philosophies.[21] In 2014, she received the Bradley Prize, awarded each year by the Bradley Foundation.[22]

Charities and other activities[edit]

She serves on the board of directors for Arizona School Choice Trust,[23] a tuition scholarship organization for low-income children.[24] She also served on the board of directors for Independent Newspapers/newszap.com.[25]


  1. ^ a b 2010 Best of the Capitol awards recipients: Capitol Watchdog Group, Arizona Capitol Times
  2. ^ "Spring 2010 Arizona FOI Award Winners", Society of Professional Journalists
  3. ^ "People, Power, Politics and Leadership in the State of Arizona" Archived June 7, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ "The Coalition for the Homeless"[specify]
  5. ^ "Ms. Darcy A. Olsen, Entitlements Policy Analyst", Calvert Experts Sourcebook, Calvert Institute for Policy Research
  6. ^ "International Education Program Information"[specify]
  7. ^ "The Advancing Nanny State: Why the Government Should Stay Out of Child Care", Cato Institute
  8. ^ "Hillary Rodham Clinton: Address to the White House Conference on Child Care", Britannica.com Inc.[unreliable source?]
  9. ^ "Universal Preschool Is No Golden Ticket: Why Government Should Not Enter the Preschool Business", Cato Institute
  10. ^ Chen, Grace. "Pros and Cons of Public Preschool: The Debate", Public School Review, 21 October 2008.
  11. ^ Guthrie, Julian. "Plan for universal preschool: State schools chief calls bill 'moral imperative'", San Francisco Chronicle, 20 April 1999
  12. ^ "The Institute". Goldwater Institute. Retrieved 31 August 2012. 
  13. ^ Image of Goldwater Institute's 2008 Income Tax Return (Form 990), Foundation Center
  14. ^ King, James. "Goldwater Institute Named "Leader of the Year" in Policy Development; Too Bad it Can't Run For Office", Phoenix New Times, 31 August 2009
  15. ^ Will, George F. "Unlawful health reform?", The Washington Post, 19 November 2009
  16. ^ "The Importance of Limited Government Power (Special for Glenn Beck's American Revival), Goldwater Institute
  17. ^ "Glenn Beck's American Revival", glennbeck.com
  18. ^ "Women in Public Policy", Goldwater Institute
  19. ^ "The Business Journal Power Players: Darcy A. Olsen", Goldwater Institute, 5 December 2006
  20. ^ "Forty Under 40, Class of 2009", Phoenix Business Journal
  21. ^ "The Roe Awards", State Policy Network
  22. ^ [1]
  23. ^ "Board of Directors", Arizona School Choice Trust
  24. ^ "About Arizona School Choice Trust", Arizona School Choice Trust
  25. ^ "About Independent Newspapers, Inc.", newszap.com

External links[edit]