Young America's Foundation

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Young America's Foundation
Abbreviation YAF
Formation 1969
Type 501(c)(3)
Purpose Conservative Youth Organization
Headquarters 11480 Commerce Park Drive, Sixth Floor, Reston, VA 20191
Region served
United States of America
Ron Robinson
Affiliations Young Americans for Freedom (YAF), National Journalism Center, The Reagan Ranch
Revenue: $36,193,437
Expenses: $21,482,145
(FYE December 2015)[1]
Endowment Richard and Helen Devos.[2]
Slogan The Conservative Movement Starts Here

Young America's Foundation (YAF) is a conservative youth organization, founded in 1969, whose mission is to ensure that "increasing numbers of young Americans understand and are inspired by the ideas of individual freedom, a strong national defense, free enterprise, and traditional values."[3] Alumni members include Jeff Sessions, Stephen Miller and Tom Clancy.[2] Donors include Pat Sajak, the Koch brothers, and Amway billionaires Richard and Helen Devos.[2] A $16 million legacy gift from Robert Ruhe resulted in a doubled of YAF's programming which includes campus speeches.[2] By 2017, YAF had 250 high school and college affiliated known as Young Americans for Freedom, which was originally a separate organization.[2]


Young America's Foundation was founded in 1969 at Vanderbilt University[4] when students formed an organization called University Information Services (UIS). UIS was established to provide students with a familial atmosphere to express their conservative beliefs. When UIS became a national organization in the early 1970s, it changed its name to Young America’s Foundation. Young America's Foundation held the first National Conservative Student Conference in 1979.[5][6] It is a co-founder of the annual Conservative Political Action Conference and has been a prominent supporter of the event since then.[7]

In 1998, Young America's Foundation purchased Rancho del Cielo, the Santa Barbara, California ranch of Ronald Reagan.[4]


According to The New York Times, by 2005, there was a "renewed shift pronouncedly to the right on many defining issues".[8] Young Americans for Freedom, Young America's Foundation, the Leadership Institute, the Collegiate Network, and the Intercollegiate Studies Institute college organizations that were "fueled and often financed by an array of conservative interest groups".[8] By 2005, "51 percent of freshmen were for [casual sex] in 1987; [by 2005] 42 percent are. In 1989, 66 percent of freshmen believed abortion should be legal; [by 2005], only 54 percent do. In 1995, 66 percent of kids agreed that wealthy people should pay a larger share of taxes; [by 2005] it [was] down to 50 percent. Even on the issue of firearms, where students have traditionally favored stiffer controls, there [was] been a weakening in support for gun laws".[8]

These groups spend money in various ways to push a right-wing agenda on campuses: some make direct cash grants to student groups to start and run conservative campus newspapers; others provide free training in conservative leadership, often providing heavily subsidized travel to their publishing programs; others provide help with the hefty speaking fees for celebrity right-wing speakers. Through these coordinated activities, these groups have embarked in the last three years on a concerted campus recruitment drive to turn temperamentally conservative youngsters into organized right-wing activists.

According to an article in Time by John Cloud, by 2004, there were no left-wing youth organizations as powerful as The Young America's Foundation (YAF), The Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI) and The Leadership Institute.[9] The same author stated, a "majority of 2003 freshmen — 53% — wanted affirmative action abolished, compared with only 43% of all adults. Two-thirds of frosh favored abortion rights in 1992; only 55% did so in last year's survey. Support for gun control has slipped in recent years among the young, and last year 53% of students believed that "wealthy people should pay a larger share of taxes than they do now," compared with 72% 11 years earlier".[9]

Young Americans for Freedom (YAF)[edit]

On March 16, 2011, Young Americans for Freedom passed a National Board Resolution which resulted in the merger of two organizations into the Young America's Foundation on April 1, 2011.[10] Young Americans for Freedom (YAF),[11] was founded on September 11, 1960 at the family home of William F. Buckley in Sharon, Connecticut.[12] The charter for the Young Americans for Freedom, written by M. Stanton Evans, the Sharon Statement,[13]:21was described by K.E.Grubbs in 2010 as "the late 20th century's single most elegant distillation of conservative principles".[14] The Heritage Foundation described the Sharon Statement as "statement is a succinct summary of the central ideas of modern American conservatism".[15][16]

Organizational information[edit]

Young America’s Foundation is a tax-exempt educational foundation. The Foundation's programs include lectures on college and high school campuses, conferences throughout the United States, and campus activism initiatives. These programs are broadcast on C-SPAN. Young America's Foundation also preserves the Ronald Reagan Ranch, runs the National Journalism Center (NJC), and oversees Young Americans for Freedom.


Robert Ruhe (1929 - 2013), an orthodontist in California, was the single largest donor of the YAF with his legacy estate gift of $16 million.[17] During his lifetime he and his wife donated generously to YAF, particularly in terms of paying off the mortgage of the Reagan Ranch.[17]

Notable activities[edit]

Campus lecture program[edit]

Young America's Foundation sends conservative speakers to colleges and universities. Their website lists more than 140 speakers who are part of the campus lecture program, including Bay Buchanan, David French, Katie Pavlich, Ed Meese, Greg Gutfeld, Liz Cheney, Michael Reagan, Michelle Malkin, Newt Gingrich, Oliver North, Rick Santorum, S.E. Cupp, Stacey Dash, Steve Forbes,[18] Dinesh D'Souza,[19] Allen West,[20] and Ben Shapiro.[21] Because of the $16 million gift from Dr. Ruhe, the YAF doubled its programming to include "111 speakers on 77 campuses." According to the YAF website in April 2017, they dispatched 31 speakers to colleges.[2]

YAF campus speakers such as David Horowitz, Katie Pavlich and Ben Shapiro, one of YAF's most popular speakers, have been greeted by protesters. In 2017, Shapiro's lectures were "blocked by security at DePaul University, loudly protested at the University of Wisconsin and initially barred, then permitted, by California State University, Los Angeles".[2] Protesters drowned out Robert Spencer, at the University at Buffalo in May 2017.[2] In April 2017, Ann Coulter's speech at University of California, Berkeley was cancelled by the University because of alleged security concerns. The YAF sued the college.[2]

The Reagan Ranch[edit]

The Reagan Ranch, "Rancho del Cielo" (Spanish for "Ranch in the Sky") near Santa Barbara, California, which was first purchased by President Ronald Reagan and his wife in 1974, was purchased on April 21, 1998 by the YAF. A $10 million endowment from Amway billionaires Richard and Helen Devos helped with the purchase.[2][22] The Ruhes helped YAF "retire the Reagan Ranch note early".[17] The property includes a five-room, white washed adobe house, three small buildings, a trailer, and a helicopter pad. On the occasion of the purchase, YAF president Ron Robinson commented that YAF's goal was "preserving and protecting" both Reagan's legacy and the ranch itself and that it would maintain the facilities as they existed when the Reagan's lived there.[22]

The National Journalism Center[edit]

The National Journalism Center which was founded in 1977 by M. Stanton Evans,[23]:489–98 is currently a project of Young America's Foundation that places college students and recent graduates at media organizations in the Washington, D.C. area.[24] Notable alumni include Ann Coulter, Greg Gutfeld, Tim Carney, and Malcolm Gladwell.[25][citation needed][26]


Annually, Young America’s Foundation holds college and high school conferences to educate students from around the country on conservative principles. It also holds a number of regional conferences across the country.

See also[edit]

  • State Policy Network – a U.S. national network of free-market oriented think tanks of which Young America's is an associate member
  • Young Americans for Freedom – Young America's Foundation's chapter affiliate active on campuses nationwide

Further reading[edit]

  • Tower, Wells. 2006. "The Kids are Far Right." Harper's Magazine 313, no. 1878: 41-53. Academic Search Premier, EBSCOhost (accessed November 24, 2008).
  • Jacobson, J. (2006, January 6). "Conservative Group Cites Colleges of Like Mind". Chronicle of Higher Education, 52(18), A48-A48. Retrieved November 24, 2008, from Academic Search Premier database.


  1. ^ "IRS Form 990" (PDF). Young America's Foundation. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Saul, Stephanie (May 20, 2017). "The Conservative Force Behind Speeches Roiling College Campuses". The New York Times. Retrieved May 20, 2017. 
  3. ^ "Our Mission". Retrieved 17 November 2016. 
  4. ^ a b Young America's Foundation history at official website.
  5. ^ "Recruiting for the Right". The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved 12 October 2014. 
  6. ^ "Young America's Foundation - The Conservative Movement Starts Here". Retrieved 12 October 2014. 
  7. ^ CPAC 2008
  8. ^ a b c Colapinto, John (May 25, 2005). "Armies of the Right: the Young Hipublicans". The New York Times. Retrieved May 20, 2017. 
  9. ^ a b Cloud, John (August 22, 2004). "The Right's New Wing". Time. 
  10. ^ "YAF National Board Resolution". Retrieved March 21, 2011. 
  11. ^ "Young America's Foundation Unites With Young Americans for Freedom". Human Events. May 24, 2011. Retrieved 1 November 2016. 
  12. ^ "M. Stanton Evans profile". Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI). nd. Retrieved March 3, 2015. 
  13. ^ Klatch,, Rebecca E. (1999). A generation divided: the new left, the new right, and the 1960s. University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-21714-4. 
  14. ^ Grubbs, Jr., K.E. (September 9, 2010). "The Magnificent Legacy of the YAF". Investors Business Daily. The Sharon Statement would last as the late 20th century's single most elegant distillation of conservative principles 
  15. ^ "The Sharon Statement". The Heritage Foundation. September 11, 1960. Retrieved May 20, 2017. This statement of principles denies the basic premises of Progressivism and liberalism...the concerns for liberty remain the same over the centuries., 
  16. ^ Adam Clymer (March 4, 2015). "M. Stanton Evans, Who Helped Shape Conservative Movement, Is Dead at 80". The New York Times. Retrieved May 20, 2017. 
  17. ^ a b c Barbour, Jason (January 26, 2017). "Quiet Philanthropy Has Historic Impact: The Story of Dr. Robert Ruhe". Libertas. YAF. 
  18. ^ "Speakers Bureau". Young America's Foundation. Retrieved 13 December 2016. 
  19. ^ "'D'Souza Unchained' Lecture Tour Set to Rock Campuses in 2016 - Young America's Foundation". Young America's Foundation. Retrieved 13 December 2016. 
  20. ^ "YAF Deploys Allen West to take on Colleges Across the Nation to Defeat Progressive Socialism [Video]". Allen West Republic. 12 August 2016. Retrieved 13 December 2016. 
  21. ^ "YAF Announces 2016 Extension of Successful Wendy P. McCaw Freedom Lecture Series - Young America's Foundation". Young America's Foundation. Retrieved 13 December 2016. 
  22. ^ a b Lee, Jessica (April 21, 1998). "Reagan ranch sold to conservative foundation". USA Today. 
  23. ^ Thorburn, Wayne (2010). A Generation Awakes: Young Americans for Freedom and the Creation of the Conservative Movement. Jameson Books Inc. 
  24. ^ Barr, Jeremy (August 26, 2015). "Media's young conservatives in training". POLITICO. Retrieved 1 November 2016. 
  25. ^ Malcolm Gladwell 1982
  26. ^ Alumni

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 38°58′03″N 77°21′55″W / 38.9676°N 77.3652°W / 38.9676; -77.3652