Acton Institute Wins First Annual Templeton Freedom Prize


Grand Rapids, Mich. (March 8, 2004) - The Acton Institute for the Study of Religion & Liberty was awarded one of the first annual Templeton Freedom Prizes for Excellence in Promoting Liberty. The Institute, founded in 1990, won first place in the Ethics and Values category for what the Templeton judges described as “its extensive body of work on the moral defense of the free market.”

Rev. Robert Sirico, Acton’s president and co-founder, said the Templeton Freedom Prize was an important recognition of the effectiveness of the institute’s two-fold mission. First, Acton exhorts religious leaders to use sound economic analysis when addressing questions of poverty and wealth. Second, the Institute urges entrepreneurs and business leaders to integrate their faith more fully into their professional lives, and to strive for higher ethical standards.

“Through the Acton Institute, religious leaders are gaining a deeper appreciation of the market economy’s positive contribution to the moral character of society,” Rev. Sirico said. “And our work is reaching a wider audience in the developing world, where business, religious and political leaders understand the necessity of a moral framework for economic growth.”

Named after the pioneer of international investing, Sir John Templeton, the Templeton Freedom Prizes reward the innovative work of think tanks in countries throughout the world. Along with the Acton Institute, seven other think tanks from India, China, Canada, Mexico, Peru and the United States were recognized by Templeton in four categories: Ethics and Values, Social Entrepreneurship, Student Outreach and Free Market Solutions to Poverty. The winning institutes in the four categories receive a $10,000 prize and the runners-up in each category receive $5,000. The Atlas Economic Research Foundation launched the Templeton Freedom Awards in September 2003 with a four-year pledge from the John Templeton Foundation. The pledge enables Atlas to reward public policy institutes with more than $1.25 million in prizes and grants.

About the Acton Institute
With its commitment to pursue a society that is free and virtuous, the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty is a leading voice in the national environmental and social policy debate. The Acton Institute is uniquely positioned to comment on the sound economic and moral foundations necessary to sustain humane environmental and social policies.

The Acton Institute is a nonprofit, ecumenical think tank located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The Institute works internationally to "promote a free and virtuous society characterized by individual liberty and sustained by religious principles." For more on the Acton Institute, please visit www.acton.org.

Interviews with Institute staff may be arranged by contacting John Couretas at (616) 454-3080 or at jcouretas@acton.org.