February 26, 2010
It was just a matter of time, close observers of the national scene might say, before The Heritage Foundation asked the Schultzes and other business and civic leaders in North Carolina to form the premier Washington think tank's newest community committee.
That time has come: Edwin J. Feulner, president of the conservative policy research institute, and Matthew Spalding, a top constitutional scholar there, will visit Chapel Hill on Wednesday, March 3, to headline an event inaugurating the North Carolina Committee for Heritage.
The committee, chaired by the Schultzes, becomes the 13th such Heritage-affiliated group to form across the nation in the past few years-- and only the second with statewide ambitions. Honorary chairmen are Art Pope, president of Henderson-based Variety Wholesalers Inc. and founder of the John Locke Foundation, and Bernard Lomas of Grand Rapids, Mich., retired president of Michigan's Albion College.
"We set out to make conservative ideas not just respectable but mainstream," Feulner said of Heritage, the think tank he helped start up 36 years ago as a young congressional aide. "Each new community committee brings unique regional interests to the table, and that's sure to be true of the North Carolina committee. But all share our commitment to help build an America where freedom, opportunity, prosperity and civil society flourish."
Feulner will deliver the keynote speech during a luncheon set for noon at the Carolina Club in the George Watts Hill Alumni Center, on Stadium Drive at Ridge Road.
At 10:30 a.m., Spalding, director of Heritage's B. Kenneth Simon Center for American Studies, will talk about his influential book "We Still Hold These Truths: Rediscovering Our Principles, Reclaiming Our Future." Spalding will sign copies during a reception at 11:30.
The Heritage Foundation is the nation's most broadly supported public policy research institute, with more than 589,000 individual, foundation and corporate donors.
Founded in 1973, the think tank on Capitol Hill has a staff of 244 and an annual expense budget of more than $70 million.
"Through our support of The Heritage Foundation," Howard Schultz said, "residents and voters in North Carolina can avail ourselves of cutting-edge research on free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values and a strong national defense."
The mission of the North Carolina Committee for Heritage is to spread awareness of the think tank's policy solutions. Activities will include issue-based events open to the public as well as membership, fundraising and outreach programs.
John Fogarty, Heritage vice president for development, said his team knew the think tank already had a strong base of donors in North Carolina. It also had no shortage of willing local leaders such as the Schultzes, founders of the Learning Consortium, a provider of organizational development services.
Other committee members are Phillip Beane, of Durham; Patrick Gavaghan, of Raleigh, and daughters Debbie and Julie Gavaghan, both of Cary; Conrad Hock Jr., of Greensboro; Clyde L. Hunt Jr., of Greensboro; David Riggs, of Raleigh; and Emmett Stobbs Jr., of Durham.
The group's inaugural luncheon will be held two weeks after Feulner and dozens of other conservative leaders gathered Feb. 17 in Alexandria, Va., to introduce and become initial signers of the Mount Vernon Statement, a new distillation of conservative beliefs, values and principles.
"It is the culmination of a thoughtful deliberation," Feulner blogged the next day, urging readers to sign the document online. "I was proud to participate in that discussion, and to chair the committee that drafted the statement."
In "We Still Hold These Truths," Spalding details America's 10 core principles -- independence, self-government, liberty, equality, natural rights, consent of the governed, private property, religious freedom, limited government, and the rule of law. After describing how these founding principles have come under assault by progressive-liberalism since the early 20th century, Spalding lays out a strategy to recover them.
Tickets for the Chapel Hill event are $30 for Heritage members, $60 for non-members and $20 for students. Registration, which is required and nonrefundable, entitles guests to a one-year membership.
Committee leaders expect to hold other events in Research Triangle and across the state. The group already plans a July 21 event featuring former presidential candidate Steve Forbes, chairman and chief executive officer of Forbes Media. He is a Heritage trustee.
In the South, members of the North Carolina Committee for Heritage follow civic leaders in Atlanta, Dallas-Fort Worth and Naples, Fla., in accepting Feulner's invitation to plant a flag for Heritage.
Other than the Colorado group, the rest of the committees also are associated with a city (Chicago, Omaha, Neb., and Tucson, Ariz.) or metropolitan region (Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York area, Southeast Michigan, San Francisco Bay and Southern California).
To register for the inaugural event, North Carolina residents who aren't Heritage members should visit www.MyHeritage.org/ChapelHill. For more information, call Emily Kayrish at (202) 608-1524 or e-mail email@example.com.