The Heritage Foundation Membership

The Real Heroes of Heritage: Our Members

When Congress passes legislation infused with ideas developed at The Heritage Foundation, there is much rejoicing in our offices. But we are also conscious of other things in those offices: the computers, the desks, the phones, the bookshelves. These are the commonplace tools—along with the meeting rooms and auditoriums, and the radio and TV studios—that allow Heritage experts to do their jobs so well.

May 16 marked the official opening of the E.W. Richardson Building, owned by Massachusetts Avenue Properties, LLC, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony, dedication program, open house, and rooftop celebration honoring the late World War II veteran E.W. Richardson. The project was made possible by the incredible generosity of the Richardson family and thousands more Heritage members. Pictured here from left: Jenna and Tyler Richardson (President’s Club), Barbara Richardson (Founder), Kay Coles James, Dr. Patrice Richardson (Founder, Heritage Legacy Society), Ali Richardson (Founder), and Terry Richardson (Executive Associate).

Of course, these things don’t just grow on trees. They all cost money, as do our educational programs for interns and those working on Capitol Hill, our outreach activities, our research trips, and our lecture and media tours.

And what makes all of this possible is the commitment and generosity of our members. Heritage could accomplish nothing were it not for our army of supporters around the country—now more than a half-million strong.

They support Heritage because they are worried about the future of our county and they want to change things for the better. They see Heritage as the way to do that, and they are willing to put their money where their heart is.

At Heritage, we give our members credit for everything we do. Our members are our heroes.

So, for example, when the economy surges as a result of Heritage-inspired tax reform, we think: “Look at what our members have accomplished!” It’s not that we undervalue the great work of our policy analysts. But everyone at Heritage knows who makes it all possible.

In 2018, The Heritage Foundation’s growing family of supporters contributed nearly $144 million in gifts, pledges, and estate commitments to Heritage and Heritage Action. They brought us across the finish line of our six-year, $750 million Reclaim America campaign, our most ambitious fundraising effort ever, which concluded on Dec. 31.

You will be meeting some of our members in the pages that follow. The American people may not know the debt of gratitude they owe to our members. But at Heritage, we do. That’s why we are so very grateful to each and every one.  

The Gift of Freedom, Courtesy of Peter Pan

Two weeks before his graduation from Pace University, Ralph Morera was nervous. He was about to have dinner with two very important people: his parents.

Associate member Ralph Morera

Ralph hadn’t seen them in 12 years. At age 14, he had left his native Cuba and come to America without them.

His parents had wanted him to have a good life, and something called “Operation Peter Pan” offered him a chance.

Ralph was one of 14,202 Cuban children “Operation Peter Pan” helped to escape Fidel Castro’s ruthless communist regime and find shelter in American foster homes. All of these children have their own stories to tell.

Ralph wound up in New York City, working during the day and going to high school at night.

That impressed his foster family. They saw this young man pursuing the American dream, and they wanted to help. They paid for him to finish high school and college.

But they had one more gift in store for Ralph.

While he was in college, Ralph’s parents had managed to leave Cuba. They lived in Spain for two years, trying to get a visa to enter the United States. Ralph’s foster family arranged for the Moreras to come to America, paying all their expenses so they could arrive two weeks before Ralph’s graduation.

The Morera family reunion was as tearful as it was joyous. “I almost lost my face,” Ralph recalls, “with my mother pinching my cheeks and exclaiming ‘I can’t believe it’s you!’”

Since that unforgettable dinner, Ralph’s parents have passed, and Ralph has gone on to great things.

In addition to his career as an accountant, Ralph has served as chairman of the American Red Cross of Greater Miami. He has been a board member of the Miami-Dade Beacon Council, the economic development organization for Miami-Dade County. He has also served on the Board of Goodwill Industries of South Florida and as president of the Cuban-American CPA Association.

As much as all Heritage Foundation members appreciate America’s freedoms, few can savor them more than Ralph Morera and his fellow Peter-Panners. His profound love for America has been passed on to his two children and four grandchildren who, thankfully, have no need for the services of “Operation Peter Pan.”  

Around the Nation

Heritage is committed to letting our members know what’s going on in Washington. But we also want to know what’s on their minds. That’s why we hold member meetings across the country. In 2018, we convened 51 local member meetings in 22 cities. Eager to meet with as many members as possible, Kay Coles James attended an impressive 16 of these sessions.

Local Member Meetings
Cities Around the USA
Sessions with Kay Coles James

Remembering Willis B. Skillman

Willis B. Skillman died on Dec. 4, 2018. Here are some words of remembrance from Lindsey Burke, Ph.D., Heritage’s Will Skillman fellow in education since 2012.

Heritage’s Will Skillman Fellow in Education Lindsey Burke, Ph.D.

Will Skillman was a kind-hearted man. I cherish the great conversations we had over the years on topics ranging from current affairs and education policy to political jokes and his beloved cat, Mordecai.

He was also a generous man. Will’s support of The Heritage Foundation during his lifetime helped launch our Center for Education Policy in 2017, and his support of the Heritage Legacy Society ensures that our work to improve America’s education system will continue in the future.

One cause in which he believed deeply was school choice. He generously supported our work to advance education choice in the states, so that parents can have a say in where, how, and what their children learn. Today, 29 states and the District of Columbia have some form of school choice. Six states have adopted Education Savings Accounts, or ESAs, and many more are considering them.

With Will’s help, our team has made the case for limiting federal intervention in education at all levels, pushing decisions closer to those people who work directly with the students they affect: local leaders and families.

Will cared about improving education, in part, because he believed that education should prepare Americans to inherit the blessings and liberties of a free society. We share that belief, just as we share his belief that freedom, not centralization, is the path to educational excellence.

We will never forget Will Skillman’s generosity and commitment to the conservative cause. His support as a Heritage Legacy Society member will have a lasting impact on education choice for decades to come.  

Heritage Legacy Society

Safeguarding Freedom for Future Generations

The preservation of the sacred fire of liberty, and the destiny of the republican model of government, are justly considered deeply, perhaps as finally, staked on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people.

George Washington, 1789

The Heritage Foundation Wall of Freedom

Our Heritage Legacy Society—those Heritage members who have remembered Heritage in their estate plans or other planned gifts—are helping ensure the sacred fire of liberty set alight by America’s founding fathers will continue to burn brightly for generations to come. In 2018, 203 members joined the Heritage Legacy Society, representing more than $51.7 million in current and future commitments.  

Heroic Giving in 2018

At Heritage, we appreciate every donation, no matter how big or how small. But here we’d like to acknowledge a couple of truly magnificent gifts received in 2018, and how they’ve helped advance our work:

  • A $5 million grant from The Grover Hermann Foundation allowed us to establish the Grover M. Hermann Center for the Federal Budget.
  • Our forward-looking work on school safety was made possible by a $1 million commitment from the Diana Davis Spencer Foundation and a $200,000 commitment from Heritage Trustee Ryan Haggerty.

Honoring Donor Intent

When giving to any nonprofit, you should be able to rely on the organization to do three things:

  • use your gift to advance its mission;
  • honor any restrictions you place on the gift;
  • treat you with respect.

Unfortunately, many philanthropic organizations have broken faith with their donors.

At The Heritage Foundation, we regard your support as a trust. We hold ourselves strictly accountable to you, and we pledge always to respect your philanthropic intent. Indeed, our Articles of Incorporation demand it.

Should any major donor desire a written contract clearly stating the purpose and intent of the donation and how it shall be spent, we will gladly sign it. Moreover, we make the president of Heritage personally responsible for answering donor questions and reporting expenditures of donor funds.

This is our solemn pledge to you: When you contribute to The Heritage Foundation, your intent as a donor is always honored, never forgotten.

Membership Levels

Heritage welcomed 92,000 new members in 2018. Our range of membership levels and benefits can accommodate everyone.

Membership Levels Starting at
  • Basic $25
  • Patriots Club $100
  • Young President’s Club $250
  • President’s Club $1,000
  • Executive Committee $2,500
  • Premier President’s Club $5,000
  • Associate $10,000
  • Executive Associate $25,000
  • Premier Associate $50,000
  • Founder $100,000
  • Trustees’ Circle $500,000
  • Chairman’s Circle $1,000,000

For details on the benefits attached to each level, please call (800) 546-2843 or visit MyHeritage.org.

2018 Financial Statements

Operating Revenues


82 %

Program Revenue & Other Income

18 %

Operating Expenses


22 %

Management & General

2 %


76 %

Preliminary results for The Heritage Foundation only. Heritage Action reports its financials separately. Final audited financial statements will be available on or after July 31, 2019.