Leadership Institute President Morton Blackwell Receives Heritage’s Titan of Conservatism Award

Leadership Institute President Morton Blackwell Receives Heritage’s Titan of Conservatism Award

Dec 9, 2020 3 min read

WASHINGTON — Leadership Institute President Morton Blackwell received The Heritage Foundation’s Titan of Conservatism Award at the organization’s annual President’s Club Meeting. Blackwell and his organization have trained more than 225,000 conservative activists, leaders, and students since the Leadership Institute’s founding in 1979.

Heritage Foundation President Kay C. James, who calls Blackwell a personal mentor, thanked him for his numerous contributions:

“Morton Blackwell is a living legend of the conservative movement, and he’s also a longtime friend of The Heritage Foundation who I am proud to honor with our inaugural Titan of Conservatism Award. As the president and founder of the Leadership Institute, Morton has been responsible for training and equipping hundreds of thousands of young conservatives throughout the country to advance the cause of freedom through conservative policy solutions.


“Thanks to Morton’s leadership, future generations will continue to benefit from training in campaigning, fundraising, grassroots organizing, and communications—critical skills needed to further grow the conservative movement and elect leaders committed to this nation’s founding principles. His foresight so many years ago is a critical reason behind the growth of the conservative movement and the thousands of vibrant young people who work tirelessly to advance it—from college campuses to Capitol Hill.


“The conservative movement—and all those who cherish freedom, liberty, and self-determination—owe a great deal to a man who has selflessly devoted his life’s work to ensuring that the principles that made America a truly great nation are not lost on future generations.”

Blackwell thanked Heritage for the Titan of Conservatism Award and expressed his gratitude for the strong partnership to advance conservative principles.

“I deeply appreciate the great honor of receiving this award from The Heritage Foundation. All of my adult life I have worked to build a movement, not an empire. And helping to spark the idea of The Heritage Foundation is surely one of the most important things I have ever done.


“The Heritage Foundation, several years older and much larger than my institute, is by far the largest conservative think tank anywhere in the world. It focuses primarily on ideas and policy, linking conservative principles to an ever-increasing audience of people in the public policy process. Routinely, ideas generated by, or routinely communicated by, Heritage have profoundly changed public policy for the better in our country and around the world.


“Working with Heritage leaders and their staff has always been cordial and productive for me and my Leadership Institute staff. In fact, our two organizations have a long record of mutual cooperation on projects large and small. Several former LI staff now work at Heritage, and vice versa.


“For decades my late wife Helen and I worked for conservative principles in Virginia with Kay Coles James. I was thrilled to see Kay elected as Heritage president. She’s one of the finest people I have ever known and it’s a great pleasure for me to work more closely than ever with her now.”

Thanks to Blackwell’s leadership, conservatives across America are equipped with training in fundraising, grassroots organizing, campaigning, communications, and other important skills. Today, the Leadership Institute’s graduates serve as leaders in politics, government, and the media. And future generations will continue to benefit from Blackwell’s leadership—learning critical skills needed to further grow the conservative movement and elect leaders committed to conservative principles.

Blackwell’s efforts on college campuses have helped combat the leftward lurch in higher ed. His campus network has grown to more than 1,700 groups and newspapers. He’s also created Campus Reform to serve as a watchdog.

At a young age, Blackwell recognized the importance of training conservatives—and chose to do something about it. Early in his career, he worked as executive director of the College Republican National Committee and then served on the Louisiana Republican state central committee. He was Barry Goldwater’s youngest elected delegate to the 1964 Republican National Convention in San Francisco.

Blackwell was a national convention alternate delegate for Ronald Reagan in 1968 and 1976, and a Reagan delegate at the 1980 national convention. He organized and oversaw the national youth effort for Ronald Reagan, before serving as special assistant on President Reagan’s White House staff from 1981 to 1984.

Beyond his work at the Leadership Institute, Blackwell has served as Virginia’s Republican national committeeman since 1988, representing the interests of conservatives from across the country at the RNC.

As the nation’s largest, most broadly supported conservative research and educational institution, The Heritage Foundation has been leading the American conservative movement since our founding in 1973. More than 500,000 dues-paying members support our vision to build an America where freedom, prosperity, opportunity, and civil society flourish.

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