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The Freedom and Faith of an Acton Emerging Leader

    A few months ago, I promised to give you more insight into our work by using the stories of our Emerging Leaders here at the Acton Institute. In my previous article, “5 Student Testimonials That Demonstrate Why Your Support Is Crucial!,” I focused on my first experience as the annual giving officer at the Acton Institute and my interactions with our 2022 Emerging Leaders class. I wish I had expanded a lot more on those leaders—their passions, their dreams, and their hopes—but I had to keep it short. 

    At the Acton Institute, we are proud of our programs, each of which is designed to educate society on the interdependence of faith and economics—objective morality and free markets—since both are necessary for human flourishing. One program in particular addresses these needs by forming future leaders: the Emerging Leaders Program

    We believe that a society needs value-driven leaders in order to flourish. For more than 32 years, the Institute has been dedicated to training leaders of tomorrow and equipping them with the right ideas and tools they’ll need to be good stewards of their mandate. Each year, we recruit students from top universities around the globe who have proved to be exemplary leaders on their campuses and in their personal lives to go through our year-long leadership-formation internship. 

    Thanks to our donors, we lived up to the same mandate in 2022 by recruiting 19 students from eight countries. The program started with an eight-week intensive summer program at Acton’s headquarters here in Grand Rapids. These students received world-class lessons in fundraising and research as well as educational programming that prepared them not only for success in their future careers but also to defend the free market, the importance of religion, and individual liberty. 

    One of these 19 students was Matheus Cosso Resende from Brazil. I highlight his story because it speaks volumes about the notions of freedom and entrepreneurship that most people tend to take for granted. Having worked his way through the Emerging Leaders Program, Matheus has seen his life and community transformed. 

    Matheus had this to say about his experience: 


    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 in us.

    Thanks to you, our donors and supporters, we have changed the life of a young man who will go on to change the lives of many in his country and, who knows, perhaps the world. 

    Thanks to your support, the Emerging Leaders Program: (1) gave Matheus the underlying philosophical underpinnings to pursue graduate work in economics; (2) connected him to a broader network of leaders in his home country and around the world; and (3) ensured that Matheus will be an influential individual in whatever career path he finally chooses. Acton proved a core part of his personal formation. 

    Here’s How You Can Help Train More Leaders

    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.

    However, as a nonprofit, we rely on your continued 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.

    >>> Donate Today to Ensure We Can Continue to Form Future Leaders