Foundation for Economic Education
|Founded||March 7, 1946|
|Founder||Leonard E. Read|
IRS 501(c)(3) tax exempt
|Method||literature, lecture, conferences, online courses, multimedia, academic scholarship|
|President Žilvinas Šilėnas (2019-) |
Executive Vice President Richard N. Lorenc, Vice President of Programs and Strategic Operations Jason Riddle
(FYE March 2018)
|Part of a series on|
|Libertarianism in the|
The Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) is a libertarian economic think-tank in the United States dedicated to the "economic, ethical and legal principles of a free society." FEE publishes books, daily articles, and hosts seminars and lectures.
Founded in 1946 by Leonard E. Read, Henry Hazlitt, David Goodrich, Donaldson Brown, Leo Wolman, Fred R. Fairchild, Claude E. Robinson, and Jasper Crane, the foundation is the oldest free-market think tank in the United States.
Read served as president from 1946 until his death in 1983. Perry E. Gresham was an interim president in 1983. The presidency of FEE from 1983 to 1984 was held by John Sparks Sr., from 1984 to 1985 by Bob Love, from 1985 to 1988 by a series of acting presidents, then from 1988 to 1992 by Bruce Evans. After retiring from Grove City College where he taught economics, Hans Sennholz served as president from 1992 to 1997. Donald J. Boudreaux served as president from 1997 to 2001, before moving on to chair the Department of Economics at George Mason University. Economist, investment analyst, professor and author Mark Skousen served as president from 2001 to 2002. Author and professor Richard Ebeling served as president from 2003 to 2008. From 2008 to 2019, the president was economist, author, and professor Lawrence W. Reed. The current president is Zilvinas Silvenas, the former president of the Lithuanian Free Market Institute.
FEE first occupied "two rooms in the Equitable Building at 737 Seventh Avenue in Manhattan" in 1946. Soon after, the organization moved to the mansion on the Hillside estate in Irvington, New York, which Read purchased from Gordon Harris, a son of the president of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. The Foundation would remain there for 68 years. In 2014, FEE sold its Irvington headquarters as a part of the transfer of operations to Atlanta, Georgia.
During his extended graduate studies at Columbia University, Murray Rothbard was influenced by FEE economist Baldy Harper. Rothbard credited FEE with creating a "crucial open center" for a libertarian movement. Friedrich Hayek saw FEE as part of the inspiration for the formation of the Mont Pelerin Society in 1947. Beyond inspiration, FEE provided a financial subsidy to the Mont Pelerin Society. Hayek encouraged Antony Fisher to found the Institute of Economic Affairs after visiting FEE in 1952.  Ludwig von Mises had a "long-term association with the Foundation for Economic Education."
FEE describes its mission as to "inspire, educate and connect future leaders with the economic, ethical and legal principles of a free society." FEE offers a variety of programs for high school students, undergraduates, and graduate students. Since 1946 FEE has sponsored public lectures by various thinkers, including Ludwig von Mises, F.A. Hayek, Henry Hazlitt, Milton Friedman, James M. Buchanan, Vernon Smith, Walter Williams, F.A. "Baldy" Harper, and William F. Buckley Jr.
The FEE Alumni Board (FAB) engages alumni leaders by enlisting their ideas and advice for the development of excellent programming for FEE alumni, and enlisting them as FEE's frontline alumni representatives.
Alumni Board :
- Zak Slayback
- Romina Boccia
- Lana Link
- Matt Farag
- Gonzalo Schwarz
- Caleb Brown
- Bob Ewing
- Robert Anthony Peters
- Stephen Macaskill
Leonard E. Read Distinguished Alumni Award
The Leonard E. Read Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes the unique professional and personal achievements of a FEE alumnus or alumna who has demonstrated exceptional dedication to the cause of liberty. This is the highest honor given to a FEE alumnus or alumna. The award recipient is selected by their peers serving on the FEE Alumni Board.
Award recipients for 2018 included Matt Kibbe, founder, president and chief community organizer of Free the People, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting libertarian ideals. Featured alumni includes:
- Clark Ruper, director of business and talent development at Conscious Capitalism
- Bob Ewing, director of communications training and strategy at the Mercatus Center
- Amanda Grimmett, community manager at the Convene Conference Centers
- Alex Chafuen, president of the Atlas Economic Research Foundation
- Ron Paul, author, physician and former Congressman
- Roger Ream, president of The Fund for American Studies
- Robert Sirico, founder of Acton Institute
- Edwin Feulner, founder and former president of the Heritage Foundation
- Dick Stephenson, founder and chairman of Cancer Treatment Centers of America
- Jack Kemp, former vice presidential candidate
- Charles Koch, chairman of Koch Industries
- Venkatesh Geriti, award-winning social entrepreneur
In 1945 du Pont executive Jasper Crane, along with Alfred Kohlberg, started a capital campaign for the organization. After contributions from J. Howard Pew, Inland Steel, Quaker Oats, and Sears enough funding was available for FEE to purchase and take up publishing The Freeman magazine in 1954.
In 2016 FEE ended publication of The Freeman.
FEE publishes books, articles, and pamphlets both on paper and digitally that the foundation considers classic works on liberty. These include the notable publications I, Pencil: My Family Tree by Read, The Law by Bastiat, Anything That's Peaceful by Read, Planned Chaos by Mises, Industry-Wide Bargaining by Wolman, Up from Poverty: Reflections on the Ills of Public Assistance by Sennholz, and The Virtue of Liberty by Machan.
As of 2018 the Foundation for Economic Education had assets of $8,186,066.
|Funding details as of 2018:
- Internal Revenue Service 2012.
- "Foundation for Economic Education" (PDF). Candid. Retrieved 13 January 2020.
- Horwitz 2013 " ..a thorough introduction to the economic, ethical, and legal principles of a free society."; Foundation for Economic Education 2016 "FEE is a non-political, non-profit, tax-exempt educational foundation and accepts no taxpayer money." and "FEE's mission is inspire, educate, and connect young adults with the economic, ethical, and legal principles of a free society."; Singleton 2001 "a small market-oriented group that works with students and academics"; Hayek 2014 "I believe that what the Foundation for Economic Education, with Leonard Read at its head, and all co-fighters and friends are committed to is nothing more nor less than the defense of our civilization against intellectual error."; Internal Revenue Service 2015 "Educational Organization"
- Phillips-Fein 2009, p. 115; Hamowy 2008, p. 217; Perelman 2007, p. 64; Schneider 2009, p. 47; Mirowski & Plehwe 2009, p. 285 "… going so far as to help Mises publish his Magnum Opus Human Action …"; Olson 2009; Lichtman 2008, p. 160; Shiflett & 2015-07-28, p. 176 sfnm error: no target: CITEREFShiflett2015-07-28 (help); McGann 2015 (think tank)
- Burns 2005, p. 84; Rothbard 2006, p. 451.
- Dochuk 2010, p. 116.
- Heller 2009, p. 197.
- Read was the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce executive director, from 1938 to 1945.
- of the New York Times
- of B. F. Goodrich
- of General Motors Corporation
- of Columbia University
- of Yale University
- of Opinion Research Corporation
- of duPont
- White 2012 "The oldest free-market American think tank is the foundation for Economic Education, founded in 1946..."; Skousen 2015 "In his eighties, he continued to lecture at the Foundation for Economic Education in IrvingtononHudson, New York (the oldest freemarket think tank, founded in 1946 by Leonard Read), and ..."; Hazlitt 2006 "The original officers were David M. Goodrich, chairman of the Board (he was then also chairman of the board of the B.F. Goodrich Company); Leonard Read, president; myself, vice-president; Fred R. Fairchild, professor of economics at Yale University, secretary; and Claude Robinson, president of the Opinion Research Institute, treasurer. [The] sixteen [original] trustees ... included H.W. Luhnow, president of William Volker & Company; A.C. Mattei, president of Honolulu Oil Corporation; William A. Paton of the University of Michigan; Charles White, president of the Republic Steel Corporation; Leo Wolman, professor of economics at Columbia; Donaldson Brown, former vice-president of General Motors; Jasper Crane, former vice-president of Du Pont; B.E. Hutchinson, chairman of the finance committee of Chrysler Corporation; Bill Matthews, publisher of the Arizona Star; W.C. Mullendore, president of the Southern California Edison Company."; Dochuk 2010, p. 114 "The job of economic education must be undertaken now while those who appreciate the value of liberty are still in a position to support it."; Schneider 2009, p. 47; Mirowski & Plehwe 2009, p. 387; Backhouse 2005; Backhouse 2009; Kashyap & Wilcox 1993, p. 384; Farrell 2011; Hülsmann 2007; Plehwe 2006, p. 31; Mirowski & Plehwe 2009, p. 243; Phillips-Fein 2009, p. 19; Hamowy 2008, p. 335; Perelman 2007, p. 64; Phillips-Fein 2009, p. 27; Mirowski & Plehwe 2009, p. 156; Boyack 2011.
- Sennholz 1993, p. 185.
- Reed 2012.
- Wilcox 2000, p. 151.
- Boudreaux 2011.
- Skousen 2010. sfn error: no target: CITEREFSkousen2010 (help)
- Ebeling 2009. sfn error: no target: CITEREFEbeling2009 (help)
- Farrell 2011.
- Dodsworth 1995, p. 2 "In those anxious moments, Thomas I. Parkinson, president of Equitable Life Assurance Company, came to the rescue. He provided Fee with two rooms in the Equitable Building at 737 Seventh Avenue in Manhattan. On the 30th floor, with a magnificent view over the city, Leonard Read set about conducting the affairs of his new organization."
- Spikes & Leone 2009, p. 26 " Hillside was sold in 1922 to Gordon Harris, a son of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad president. ... was purchased in 1946 by Leonard Read and remains the headquarters of Read's Foundation for Economic Education."; Dodsworth 1995; Phillips-Fein 2010 sfnm error: no target: CITEREFPhillips-Fein2010 (help).
- Farrell 2011 "In early May 2010, FEE opened a branch office in downtown Atlanta."; Olson 2014.
- Gordon 2010, p. 12-14 (Rothbard was influenced by Harper at Columbia University); Hazlitt 2006, p. 1 (Harper's title of economist)
- Gordon 2010, p. 14.
- Phillips-Fein 2009, p. 86; Mirowski & Plehwe 2009, pp. 15, 19, 21, 53, 156, 190, 196, 243, 281, 284, 293, 387, 397, 410; Plehwe 2006, p. 31.
- Hamowy 2008, p. 492; Mirowski & Plehwe 2009, p. 15.
- Mirowski & Plehwe 2009, p. 387. sfn error: no target: CITEREFMirowski_&_Plehwe2009 (help)
- Vaughn 1998 "long-term association with the Foundation for Economic Education..."
- Foundation for Economic Education 2016.
- Ashford 2011; Giannotta 2011; Foley 2010; Olson 2009.
- Phillips-Fein 2009, p. 116; Hamowy 2008, p. 335; Olson 2009.
- Phillips-Fein 2009, p. 52; Hamowy 2008, p. 217; Mirowski & Plehwe 2009, p. 285; Olson 2009.
- Phillips-Fein 2009, p. 43; Olson 2009.
- Hamowy 2008, p. 492; Mirowski & Plehwe 2009, p. 21.
- Mirowski & Plehwe 2009, p. 21.
- Smith 2006.
- Williams 2006.
- Hamowy 2008, p. 492.
- Phillips-Fein 2009, p. 40.
- "Alumni Network". Foundation for Economic Education. Retrieved 17 December 2019.
- "Congratulations to Matt Kibbe: 2018 Leonard E. Read Distinguished Alumni Award Winner". Foundation for Economic Education. 20 June 2018. Retrieved 17 December 2019.
- "Alumni Spotlight". Foundation for Economic Education. Retrieved 17 December 2019.
- Phillips-Fein 2009, p. ii; Hamowy 2008, p. 62; Schneider 2009, p. 47; Lichtman 2008, p. 160.
- ISSN 0016-0652; OCLC 1570149
- Phillips-Fein 2009, p. 115; Hamowy 2008, p. 62; Schneider 2009, p. 47; Lichtman 2008, p. 160.
- Olson 2016.
- Phillips-Fein 2009, p. 52; Hamowy 2008, p. 62; Olson 2009; Shiflett & 2015-07-28, p. 176 sfnm error: no target: CITEREFShiflett2015-07-28 (help).
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The original officers were David M. Goodrich, chairman of the Board (he was then also chairman of the board of the B.F. Goodrich Company); Leonard Read, president; myself, vice-president; Fred R. Fairchild, professor of economics at Yale University, secretary; and Claude Robinson, president of the Opinion Research Institute, treasurer. [The] sixteen [original] trustees ... included H.W. Luhnow, president of William Volker & Company; A.C. Mattei, president of Honolulu Oil Corporation; William A. Paton of the University of Michigan; Charles White, president of the Republic Steel Corporation; Leo Wolman, professor of economics at Columbia; Donaldson Brown, former vice-president of General Motors; Jasper Crane, former vice-president of Du Pont; B.E. Hutchinson, chairman of the finance committee of Chrysler Corporation; Bill Matthews, publisher of the Arizona Star; W.C. Mullendore, president of the Southern California Edison Company.
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