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  • Foundation for Economic Education

    The Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) is an American libertarian economic think tank. Founded in 1946 in New York City, FEE is now headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. It is a member of the State Policy Network.

    FEE offers publications, lectures and student workshops promoting free market principles.


    FEE states that its mission is to promote principles of "individual liberty, free-market economics, entrepreneurship, private property, high moral character, and limited government"1. F. A. Hayek described FEE's goal as "nothing more nor less than the defense of our civilization against intellectual error"2.


    FEE, founded in 1946, is considered the oldest free-market think tank in the United States3. An early aim was to roll back policies of the New Deal. FEE opposed the Marshall Plan, Social Security, and minimum wages, among other American social and economic policies4.

    FEE was founded by Leonard E. Read. The original officers were David M. Goodrich from B. F. Goodrich, as chairman, Read as president, Henry Hazlitt as vice president, Fred R. Fairchild from Yale University as secretary, and Claude E. Robinson from the Opinion Research Institute as treasurer5. The original trustees included former VP of General Motors Donaldson Brown, Columbia University economics professor Leo Wolman, and former VP of DuPont Jasper Crane5.

    Read served as president from 1946 until his death in 1983. Perry E. Gresham was an interim president in 1983. The presidency of FEE from 1983 to 1984 was held by John Sparks Sr., from 1984 to 1985 by Bob Love, from 1985 to 1988 by a series of acting presidents, then from 1988 to 1992 by Bruce Evans. After retiring from Grove City College where he taught economics, Hans Sennholz served as president from 1992 to 1997. Donald J. Boudreaux served as president from 1997 to 2001, before moving on to chair the Department of Economics at George Mason University. Economist Mark Skousen served as president from 2001 to 2002. Author and professor Richard Ebeling served as president from 2003 to 2008. From 2008 to 2019, FEE's president was economist, author and professor Lawrence W. Reed. From 2019 to 2023, the president was Zilvinas Silenas6, one of the "most quoted opinion leader[s]" in Lithuania7.


    FEE first occupied two rooms in New York City's Equitable Building in 1946. Soon after, the organization moved to a residential property in Irvington, New York, purchased in 1946 and which served as its headquarters for the next 68 years. The Foundation sold the Irvington headquarters after the transfer of its operations to Atlanta, Georgia.


    Murray Rothbard credited FEE with creating a "crucial open center for a libertarian movement"8. Ludwig von Mises had a "long-term association with the Foundation for Economic Education"9.

    According to the 2020 Global Go To Think Tank Index Report, FEE is number 55 in the "Top Think Tanks in the United States"10.


    Diogo Costa became the 12th president of FEE in 202411. Lawrence W. Reed has served as FEE's President Emeritus since his retirement in 201912. He is the author of Was Jesus a Socialist?. Jon Miltimore is FEE's Managing Editor13. Kerry McDonald, an education policy writer, is FEE's Senior Education Fellow.


    FEE offers a variety of programs for high school, undergraduate and graduate students. It is known for free summer seminars.14

    Since 1946, FEE has sponsored public lectures by economists and other guests, including Ludwig von Mises15, F.A. Hayek, Henry Hazlitt, Milton Friedman, James M. Buchanan, Vernon Smith, Walter Williams, F.A. Harper and William F. Buckley Jr.

    The Leonard E. Read Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes FEE alumni whom the alumni board considers to have demonstrated "an exceptional dedication to liberty"16. Notable recipients have included:

    • Edwin Feulner (2019), founder and former president of The Heritage Foundation17
    • Matt Kibbe (2018), founder of Free the People, a non-profit organization promoting libertarian ideals18
    • Tyler Cowen (2017), professor of economics at George Mason University19

    Other notable alumni include:

    • Alejandro Chafuen, former president of the Atlas Network
    • Venkatesh Geriti, social entrepreneur
    • Jack Kemp, former Congressman and vice presidential candidate
    • Charles Koch, chairman of Koch Industries
    • Ron Paul, author, physician, and former Congressman
    • Roger Ream, president of The Fund for American Studies
    • Robert Sirico, founder of the Acton Institute

    1. "About FEE",, accessed 28 June 2024. ↩︎

    2. Friedrich von Hayek, What's Past Is Prologue: A Commemorative Evening to the Foundation for Economic Education on Occasion of Leonard Read's Seventieth Birthday (Irvington-on-Hudson, New York: The Foundation for Economic Education, Inc., 4 October 1968), 37. Reprinted as F. A. Hayek, "The Defense of Our Civilization Against Intellectual Error", accessed 28 June 2024. ↩︎

    3. Lawrence H. White, The Clash of Economic Ideas: The Great Policy Debates and Experiments of the Last Hundred Years (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012), 204. ↩︎

    4. Allan J. Lichtman, White Protestant Nation: The Rise of the American Conservative Movement (New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 2008), 160. ↩︎

    5. Henry Hazlitt, "The Early History of FEE", The Freeman 34, no. 3 (March 1984): 143-144. ↩︎

    6. Foundation for Economic Education, "Zilvinas Silenas" (, accessed 9 Juyly 2024. ↩︎

    7. Foundation for Economic Education, "Zilvinas Silenas Named 11th President of the Foundation for Economic Education (, 4 March 2019), accessed 9 July 2024. ↩︎

    8. Murray N. Rothbard, "What Is to Be Done?", to F. A. Harper, George Resch, July 1961, in Strictly Confidential: The Private Volker Fund Memos of Murray N. Rothbard, ed. David Gordon (Auburn, Alabama: Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2010), 14. ↩︎

    9. Karen I. Vaughn, Austrian economics in America: The migration of a tradition (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), 66. ↩︎

    10. James G. McGann, 2020 Global Go To Think Tank Index Report (Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program, The Lauder Institute, University of Pennsylvania, 28 January 2021), 90-96, accessed 4 July 2024. ↩︎

    11. Wayne Olson, "Diogo Costa Named 12th President of the Foundation for Economic Education" (, 21 Febrary 2024), accessed 8 July 2024. ↩︎

    12. Lawrence W. Reed, "Lawrence Reed: My Final Week as FEE's President" (, 30 April 2019), accessed 8 July 2024. ↩︎

    13. Foundation for Economic Education, "Seasoned Journalist Jon Miltimore Joins FEE as Managing Editor" (, 14 August 2018), accessed 8 July 2024. ↩︎

    14. Libertarian Pary, "FEE (Foundation for Economic Education) to offer free summer seminars" (, 19 March 2011), accessed 9 July 2024. ↩︎

    15. Leland Yeager, "Mises, Ludwig von (1881–1972)", in The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism, ed. Ronald Hamowy (Los Angeles: SAGE, 2008), 335. ↩︎

    16. Lawrence W. Reed, "Announcing the 2017 Leonard E. Read Distinguished Alumni Award", (, 7 October 2015), accessed 11 July 2024. ↩︎

    17. Foundation for Economic Education, "Dr. Edwin J. Feulner Wins the 2019 Leonard E. Read Distinguished Alumni Award, (, 19 June 2019), accessed 11 July 2024. ↩︎

    18. Foundation for Economic Education, "Congratulations to Matt Kibbe: 2018 Leonard E. Read Distinguished Alumni Award Winner, (, 20 June 2018), accessed 11 July 2024. ↩︎

    19. Foundation for Economic Education, "Congratulations to Tyler Cowen, Winner of the 2017 Leonard E. Read Alumni Award, (, 21 July 2017), accessed 11 July 2024. ↩︎

    This article is derived from the English Wikipedia article "Foundation for Economic Education" as of 13 Mar 2024, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.