One of the most fulfilling aspects of my job as the Acton Institute’s Annual Giving Officer is taking the time to communicate with you, our donors. Because of the number of donors and constituents we have, there is never a shortage of feedback, phone calls, and emails to keep me on my toes.
When I joined the Acton Institute, it only took me a day or two to realize how special this organization is. I spent the first week going over some of our past appeals and prospective mail, as well as some of the responses we received from our donors and constituents. I was eager to learn more about their experiences and how they were responding to our work. They certainly didn’t disappoint. I will share a few of my favorite comments later. But first I want to tell you a few stories from this summer’s Emerging Leaders Program.
It was my first week on the job, and I was introduced to some of the student leaders in the office. At that time, I didn’t know a lot about the program; nothing in my previous experience had prepared me for what I was about to learn. The Emerging Leaders Program is nothing like any other program I have participated in or read about—an eight-week leadership-development internship designed to bring a cohort of student leaders from across the nation and around the globe together for a transformative experience. For eight weeks students gain professional experience, grow their network, and delve deeper into the ideas necessary for a free and virtuous society. This program is vital to our strategic goal of equipping the next generation of leaders with the first principles they need to guide our nation in the right direction.
As I began to interact with some of the Emerging Leaders, my mind was flooded with questions, but one in particular kept coming up: How do we share the stories of these future leaders with the world? You see, the Acton Institute has been doing great work promoting free markets, fighting poverty, and impressing upon an increasingly secular West the importance of religion, yet it took me a while to discover the Institute’s work. I only wish our paths had crossed when I was still in college.
I cannot wait to see what the future has in store for Acton’s Emerging Leaders. Their stories spoke volumes about the state of the nation and how important it was for Acton to share them with our donors and constituents.
Their Stories Matter to Us
Our work here at Acton is focused on educating the current and next generation of leaders. Our answer to relentless threats against freedom and humanity has been simple but effective: Free markets, human initiative, and self-government prevail over central planning and political ideology. As one Acton University participant commented: “I came to the realization that we must repair our understanding of human beings, or we will fundamentally devastate our societies and economies.”
We continue to translate the right ideas into practical support for program participants to implement in their lives and work. Without our donors, we would never be able to continue putting the individual human person at the center of economic thinking, thus transforming the way people view wealth and poverty.
In the summer of 2022, we formed 20 college students in our Emerging Leaders Program. Some of our Emerging Leaders had this to say about their experiences here:
Matheus Cosso Resende, 2022
As a Brazilian who recently graduated with a degree in economics, I must say that the best choice of my life so far was to apply for this program; nothing has impacted my life so positively. From the first to the last day of this program, we learned from the best. We learned academically during our intense days of lectures and seminars the ways to build a free and virtuous society, and we learned for our personal lives the importance of being free individuals sustained by religious principles. Learning and applying what we were taught in the program makes us leaders in our communities, which will impact many societies. This positive impact on so many lives would not be possible without donors’ support. So, I thank you on behalf of all Emerging Leaders for making this program possible. We will be forever grateful for your trust on us.
Marshelle Paulino, 2022
Coming into this program, I did not know what to expect, but I was excited to see what Acton had in store for me and the other interns. During my time interning here, I participated in several seminars on how to write an op-ed on such topics as economics, morality, politics, and leadership. These seminars helped me articulate my thoughts and ideas of the politics and economics of my day. I attended the Latin American Breakfast and was able to speak in Spanish while learning more about the economics and politics of the different Latin American countries. Venezuela and Columbia are the two countries I got to learn the most about: how their countries got to where they are politically and how those politics affect their citizens.
Lauren McCoy, 2022
During my time as an Emerging Leader here at the Acton Institute, I learned about philosophy, economics, and theology all within two months, and it has been the most impactful two months of my educational career. The opportunity to investigate, interpret, and discuss a collection of great works has shaped our understanding of Acton’s principles and our role as future leaders. I got the privilege of working alongside great minds and an effective team that researches what contributes to American poverty—and how Acton will change America through its vision. As I embark on a career in public policy, I will work to help create policies that promote what I have learned at Acton, policies that uphold individual liberty, moral values, and the exercise of free markets. I want to express my deep appreciation for your donation. It is generosity like yours that fuels Acton’s work building a more free and virtuous society.
Kate Kavanaugh, 2022
The Emerging Leaders Program has been an intellectually enriching experience that has greatly expanded my knowledge and skills as a young professional. There were many times this summer I stopped and thought of how blessed I was to be part of a program such as this one. I was able to attend 25+ seminars and participate in Acton University. I read a plethora of articles and books that opened my eyes to new truths and perspectives. I want to thank our donors for their contributions to the Emerging Leaders Program, which has deepened my knowledge of what it means to “promote a free and virtuous society.”
Rebecca Petrucelli, 2022
These past eight weeks have truly shaped my political and spiritual perspectives. The Emerging Leaders Program reinforced the foundations of my thinking on politics, human dignity, and limited government. It also reinforced my beliefs about our triune God, that He is both fully sovereign and loving. The program gave me the chance to engage with other Christians, whether Protestant or Catholic, about topics we agreed or disagreed on. This process of challenging and being challenged was fruitful in more ways than one. Spiritual growth is an unpurchaseable gift. I had little to no experience previously with the development sector of nonprofit organizations. Over this summer, however, I grew to admire the department that ensures the organization it works for has the profits to persist.
Here’s How You Can Help
These leaders would not be who they are today without our donors. Through their stories and our robust multimedia resources, including our growing podcasts Acton Line and Acton Unwind, we continue to reach millions of people. Meanwhile, Poverty, Inc., our award-winning documentary, continues to be shown in classrooms throughout the world.
As a nonprofit, we rely on your financial support. We’re committed to investing in more young leaders like these, but we need your help.
At a time when our education system and the principles of the free market are under attack, we need your help to continue to equip future Emerging Leaders with the intellectual tools they need to change for the better their institutions and, ultimately, our greater society.