Young America’s Foundation has a long history of cooperating with others in the Conservative Movement to advance freedom and share America’s founding principles with the next generation.
Indeed, many of today’s conservative leaders got their start in our chapter affiliate, Young Americans for Freedom. YAF alumnus Morton Blackwell, now head of Leadership Institute, formed the Committee for Responsible Youth Politics out of the YAF offices, and early YAF leaders went on to form the Fund for American Studies and the American Conservative Union. YAF alumni can also be found in leadership positions at organizations including the Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute, the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, The Heritage Foundation, the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE), the Washington Times, and many others.
Young America’s Foundation is also proud to partner with FEE on our “Clichés of Progressivism” series and the subsequent book, Excuse Me Professor, which is available free to students. Young America’s Foundation frequently co-sponsors campus lectures with other national groups when they financially support the events on an equal footing. Groups we have partnered with include the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, The Fund for American Studies, the Federalist Society and the Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute.
Young America’s Foundation assists any student on any campus who wants to get involved in our programs, host a speaker at their school, or take part in our campus initiatives.
However, we believe the Conservative Movement is stronger when each organization within the Movement organizes their own programs and does not seek to claim the activities, or latch onto, existing programs that are already fully-funded and organized by Young America’s Foundation or any other group.
Many friends and supporters of our shared cause want youth groups to cooperate and work together on our various programs. We ask that those advocating this approach if they apply that same standard to non-youth based conservative groups such as The Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute. When the Heritage Foundation organizes a conference, they are not pressured to include other outside groups as co-sponsors or event partners just to show they “cooperate with others.”
Many conservative youth groups train their field representatives to underscore the importance of “cooperation” when talking with students. These representatives, have a history of appearing at Young America’s Foundation campus activities and quickly claiming the events as part of their organizational efforts. This approach is not cooperation; it’s deceptive, inaccurate, and it is divisive. Similarly, some national organizations take credit for already-established student groups’ successes simply because they send students groups some of their materials and literature. These acts are similar to buying a ticket to the latest Star Wars premiere and then claiming you helped Lucasfilm or the Disney Corporation produce the film. We hear regularly from our student activists saying they are constantly approached by representatives from outside groups who refuse to accept our activists’ polite declinations to collaborate and attempt to pressure them into compliance. It’s become a significant distraction with which we regret our students have to deal.
We believe all groups should organize and take pride in their own events.
There are thousands of students who need to learn more about conservative ideas. They need to be activated to fight for our freedom. The Conservative Movement will be better served, and stronger in the long run, if each conservative youth group seeks to organize their own programs and not claim the activities of the Foundation or our students.