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A Gift of Freedom: How the John M. Olin Foundation Changed America

Recorded on November 9, 2005

Location: The Heritage Foundation's Lehrman Auditorium

In the 1970s, John M. Olin, one of the country's leading industrialists, decided to devote his fortune to saving American free enterprise. Over the next three decades, the John M. Olin Foundation funded the conservative movement as it emerged from the intellectual ghetto and occupied the halls of power.

Using exclusive access to the John M. Olin Foundation's leading personalities as well as its extensive archives, John J. Miller tells the story of an intriguing man and his unique philanthropic vision. He gives fascinating insights into the foundation's role in helping the CIA fund anti-Communist organizations during the Cold War and its extensive help to Irving Kristol and others as they moved from left to right to found the neoconservative movement. He tells of the foundation's early and critical role in building institutions such as the Federalist Society and The Heritage Foundation, which served to transform conservative ideas into national policies. A Gift of Freedom shows how John M. Olin's "venture capital fund for the conservative movement" helped develop one of the leading forces in American politics and culture.

John J. Miller is National Review's National Political Reporter, a contributing editor of Philanthropy, and co-author of the book, Our Oldest Enemy: A History of America's Disastrous Relationship with France. His writings also appear frequently in a number of major newspapers and journals. Before joining National Review in 1998, he was Vice President of the Center for Equal Opportunity and served as a Bradley Fellow at The Heritage Foundation. Previous to that, he was a reporter and researcher at The New Republic.