As 2013 draws to a close, we thank you for your continued involvement in and support of America’s Future Foundation (AFF). Thanks to supporters, members, and friends like you, AFF had its busiest and most successful year since the founding in 1995!
Here are just some of this year’s highlights:
102 events in 14 cities for 8,000 attendees;
New AFF chapters in 3 cities;
160 feature articles published so far in Doublethink and a 44% increase in web visits;
Exclusive lectures for young professionals from Ted Cruz, Samuel Alito, Larry Reed, Heather Higgins, John Allison, Steve Moore, Jim DeMint, Kennedy, and many others.
AFF is one of the most unique and effective organizations working with young professionals in the liberty movement. Your generous gift will advance individual rights, limited government, and free markets nationwide.
Please consider a special tax-deductible gift today! With your support, AFF will continue to identify and develop our movement’s most talented young people.
AFF often partners with the fine policy organizations you support to make sure the ideas are shared with young professionals.
And because AFF’s mission is to develop young liberty-minded professionals, it provides opportunities to speak on roundtables, organize events, and serve on planning committees. No other organization gives you this many opportunities to become excellent liberty advocates.
Act now to support AFF’s work in the coming year: Make your tax-deductible gift today.
Again, thank you for supporting AFF’s work.
AFF Executive Director
One of AFF’s many successful young professional members, Chaz Cirame founded Cc: External Affairs just over a year ago. This new venture works with non-profits, trade associations and corporations to forge relationships in the public policy arena through coalition building, third party engagement and fundraising. Before starting Cc: External Affairs, Chaz worked at the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) as the Senior Director of Membership.
Chaz first learned about America’s Future Foundation when a co-worker gave him tickets to see the late Tony Blankley speak at an AFF Leadership Dinner. Chaz was inspired by the spokesman of freedom and appreciated the professional advice he received at the event. Chaz also credits the fun atmosphere of happy hours and the opportunity to meet new people as one of the reasons for joining AFF: “I have met some of my best friends at AFF happy hours and roundtables since moving to DC eight years ago.”
When asked how he became interested in politics, Chaz said: “I have always wanted to change the world. I get that trait from my dad who is a devout leftist. I get my politics from my sense of rebellion, and from my Mom and stepfather who were certainly more conservative than my dad. I guess I would say I have always been a free market conservative, but growing up in Maine, ‘conservative’ wasn’t part of the vernacular. It wasn’t until I moved to DC that I realized people segmented themselves into Conservative or Libertarian camps. I think we would be all better off to focus on solutions and actions and less on these descriptors.”
In 2002, Chaz began his political career during the Maine Governor’s race, a career move which first introduced him fundraising. Reflecting, he observed: “So-called ‘Campaign Finance Reform’ had dropped the maximum contribution for the Governor’s race from $5,000 to $500. As a result, the campaign spent all its time fundraising– sometimes we would do two or three fundraising events a day! Everyone involved had to spend much of their time fundraising. Thus a fundraiser was born.”
Chaz’s credits his success as a fundraiser to an approach to membership and fundraising that he sharpened while at ALEC. “In 2011, I set four BHAGs (Big Hairy Audacious Goals) for my time at ALEC. One was to recruit 500 new state legislative members. This was a daunting task that required state legislators to write membership checks—the reverse process to what most politicians are accustom to! Another was to host legislative recruitment events in all 50 states. The third was to recruit 50 new corporate and non-profit members. The fourth was to raise eight million dollars. I was advised not to set my goals so high because I would be held accountable for missing even lofty goals. After a lot of convincing, however, I managed to get organizational buy-in for these BHAGs. I put together a good plan and had assembled a top-notch team. In the end we recruited something like 530 legislators, held a recruitment event in all 50 states, recruited 72 new corporate and non-profit members members, and raised $9 million dollars, significantly shattering all previous organizational records. ”
Chaz’s advice for young professionals pursuing a career in development is advice that can apply to every field: “Find good mentors. I don’t think a mentorship needs to be a formal thing where you lunch with someone every few months and ask for career advice. Your best mentors are going to be folks you work with. Learn from them every day and let them challenge you.”
The key to finding a good mentor is to grow your network of professional contacts. AFF’s networking events create unique opportunities to engage your peers as well as established policy, communications and development folks. Chaz notes: “Many of the key people I work with on a near daily basis, from donors to policy experts to activist leaders, I have met within the AFF community. As a side note on that, DC is amazing city where today’s interns quickly becomes tomorrow’s White House staffers, campaign managers, non-profit leaders and elected officials. Invest in people based on who they are, not what’s on their business card today–because it will change in an instant.”
Jordan Pic is a former intern with America’s Future Foundation. To learn more about other leaders in the liberty-movement, please visit AFF’s Profiles in Liberty.
Following the September 11th, 2001, terrorist attacks Congress passed the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act. TRIA, which provides a backstop for the government and the economy in the event that national security fails and terrorism risk materializes, has faced criticism despite these positive functions. Some think of TRIA as corporate welfare while others see government involvement in the insurance industry as inappropriate and unwelcome. As TRIA’s 2014 sunset date approaches, lawmakers must put these criticisms aside and recall what is different about this piece of legislation. It works.
The scope of TRIA is vast and it extends beyond skyscrapers in major cities. Hospitals, universities, schools, theme parks, stadiums and museums all benefit from the partnership between the federal government and the insurance industry. TRIA makes property and casualty insurance available for the risk of terrorism and also creates an environment where the losses are shared when they exceed the $100 million trigger. The private sector is therefore able to create some capacity for the risk of terror allowing for better and faster recovery if the risk materializes.
Leigh Ann Pusey, President and CEO of the American Insurance Association, agrees that TRIA should be extended past 2014. She explained at a National Journal conference in November that in this case terrorism insurance is not about the insurer. It is about the economy. She also explains that basic terrorism risk knowledge is in the government, not the private sector. For this reason there is a necessary marriage between the insurance industry and the government.
Terrorism insurance is often thrown into the same stew as other insurance policies that protect policy holders in the event of concentrated losses. But unlike some insurance policies that are priced according to modeled risk, there is no science from which insurers can model terrorism risk. A flood can be predicted and prepared for but not prevented; terrorism can only be prepared for. (This assumes that if terrorism is predicted it is thusly prevented.) TRIA is crucial to this preparation.
Representative Michael Grimm (R-NY) supports extending TRIA saying, “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.” He explains that the patterns of unknown terrorists are unpredictable because most of their activity occurs underground. Grimm believes that terrorism has evolved but he also thinks that the United States has been admittedly lucky that terrorism has not, at least to our immediate knowledge, become any worse or graver.
This is not a situation where there old adage ‘what we don’t know can’t hurt us,’ applies.
Acts of terror are not meant to simply affect the American economy and cause wide-spread death; the intent of terror is to disrupt the American way of life. Terrorism targets our government by seeking to impose insurmountable change on the institutions of democracy, law and order. Those who think TRIA is corporate welfare or an unnecessary government overreach seem to have forgotten this. Terrorism does not target individual insurance companies. TRIA’s innate partnership between insurance companies and the government enables us to better guarantee that the intent of terrorism never fully manifests.
TRIA allows the government to work effectively with the insurance industry and the private sector to protect national security. Without TRIA our economy is at a greater risk in the event of terrorism but more importantly, so is our way of life. The Terrorism Risk Insurance Act works.
Daisy Letendre is an intern in Washington, DC, and a graduate of Trinity College in Connecticut.
Interested in contributing opinion pieces or other blog posts to Free the Future? Please contact Heather Curry (email@example.com) to learn more.
AFF Pittsburgh hosted the first annual Pittsburgh Liberty Ball and Celebrity Roast on November 22nd with special guest Dr. Antony Davies. Over 50 Pittsburghers gathered to honor Dr. Davies and enjoyed a delicious dinner and comedy roast.
Dr. Davies’ daughter Erika Davies, colleague Dr. Matt Ryan, and colleague James Harrigan all joined in on the roast, pointing out that Dr. Davies’ has no idea how old his children are, and that his favorite pastime is going to McDonald’s for coffee and an economics discussion. Dr. Davies response is worth repeating as he hit on the very reason AFF Pittsburgh exists:
I’m used to being vilified, it’s actually more comforting than being honored because I know what people will say; “why do you hate the poor, who will build the roads?” . . . When you fight with fists your goal is to vanquish him [your enemy]. When you fight with words and ideas, the other guy is an ally that you just haven’t recruited yet. To win the battle of ideas, don’t look to defeat the people you disagree with– help them to recognize that you and they want the same thing; lives that are less crappy.
AFF Pittsburgh’s Liberty Ball raised more than $500, funds which will be used to reach more Pittsburgh young professionals with the ideas of liberty in 2014! A video of the celebrity roast is now live on AFF’s Youtube channel.
Please visit AFF’s Local Chapter Highlights to learn about opportunities events in your area!
Kathryn Shelton is the Director of Chapter Advancement for America’s Future Foundation.
On December 4th, 2013, the Raleigh chapter of America’s Future Foundation hosted a wine tasting for young professionals at the Raleigh Wine Shop. Andy Ellen, President and General Counsel of the North Carolina Retail Merchants Association, described onerous regulations placed by the state on the wine and beer industry to an engaged audience.
During his talk, Ellen showed attendees a thick book of regulations imposed by the North Carolina ABC Commission. These, he said, created a complex web of arbitrary regulations that made it hard for producers, distributors, and vendors to compete in the market. As Ellen spoke, the proprietor of the Raleigh Wine Shop stood behind the bar, nodding as he listened. The proprietor shared some stories of his own: North Carolina wines, he explained, were often harder to sell than other wines, because they must be distributed through wholesalers. State regulations also make it hard for business owners to advertise or promote their goods, as there is no volume discounts for purchase and displaying advertisements in the shop windows are prohibited.
Overall, the event was a success and sparked interest among the 25 attendees.
Interested in learning about AFF opportunities or chapter events in your area? Check out our Local Chapter Highlights to learn more!
Kathryn Shelton is the Director of Chapter Advancement for America’s Future Foundation.
Social media is undeniably the most efficient and powerful tool for political engagement and activism. In 2012, the Obama campaign used a powerful social media strategy to define itself. Today, the Obama administration utilizes social media as a policy campaign tool, a strategy to project White House news and events to the public, and a way to maintain a relationship with hundreds of thousands of supporters nationwide.
The important role played by social media in every aspect of political life is apparent from issues campaigns to elections, the public sector to the nonprofit sector. As you might expect, the role social media sites will play in professional success will also continue to grow: how can you take advantage of this to drive your own career success? Read on to learn how you can realize the awesome potential of social media as a tool for professional networking and career advancement.
The first step in leveraging social media to your advantage is to create a “follow”-worthy or “likeable” presence. Here are a few quick tips for social media savvy young pros:
Engage. Pose questions. Respond.
Live tweet. Talk about what’s going on at the press briefing, new media lunch or policy seminar you’re attending.
Include a relevant hashtag. Hashtags categorize your tweets, including you in the larger conversation and increasing your sphere of influence. Without a relevant hashtag, you might as well be tweeting at yourself!
Tweet often. In order to engage and be noticed you must be present!
Check your privacy settings. Twitter is a “social” medium and works best as a public one. If you make your tweets public and allow everyone to follow you, your influence will grow!
Retweet. ”RT” loyal followers and individuals you admire to make your voice heard and noticed. It’s even better to add a comment when you RT.
Build lists on Twitter. Lists allow you to organize your followers and those who you follow into categories. You can also subscribe to lists created by others. Lists help you keep track of who is saying what on a certain topic or at a specific organization. Use lists to engage efficiently and effectively.
Less is more. Don’t over complicate your posts by wading into the weeds on an issue. You’ll increase the likelihood friends and followers will actually read and respond to your posts if you simply initiate a conversation.
Interact. Twitter is about interaction. Retweet, “favorite,” and respond to attention-grabbing tweets. Your friends and followers will return the favor. And remember to leave 10-20 characters free for those who retweet to comment. In other words, create potential for others to weigh-in.
Link. Think a tweet is just 140 characters? Think again. Link to external content to share entire articles, videos, and photos. By doing so you add value to your tweets, and a lot more information! You can also use links to promote your own work or comment on articles you like or dislike.
Young professionals can, and should, leverage social media platforms to advance their careers and build relationships across the liberty movement. But proceed with caution: maintenance of a polished and smart social media presence is of utmost importance in a world where your wall posts are your reputation.
Greta Pisarczyk is the Development Assistant at the Cato Institute.
Looking forward to advancing your career in 2014? The Charles Koch Institute has extended the application deadline for the Spring 2014 Koch Internship Program.
From the website:
The Koch Internship Program is an opportunity to not only work for a think tank or public policy organization in Washington, DC, but also receive valuable professional education and hands-on experience. Designed for individuals who are passionate about economic freedom, the program offers a chance to develop your knowledge and skills, while building a valuable professional network and understanding of non-profit career paths.
During the program, each intern works at a non-profit 501(c)(3) partner organization through a collaboration with the Charles Koch Foundation and spends every Tuesday at the Charles Koch Institute engaging in reading discussions, group projects, lectures, and Market-Based Management® workshops. Roles vary, and include policy research, communications, operations, donor relations, and more. Interns generally earn $10 an hour.
The Spring 2014 program will run from January 27, 2014 to May 2, 2014. The application is currently open.
The Summer 2014 program will run from June 2, 2014 to August 15, 2014. The application deadline will be March 1, 2014.
Please contact Lancée Kurcab with any questions about the Spring 2014 program. For more information about the Charles Koch Institute and its various educational programs, visit charleskochinstitute.org.
You’ve probably heard the expression “don’t sweat the small stuff.” While this may be an admonition to reduce stress and not worry too much, I think there is value in sweating the small stuff when it comes to details in your life. Details might make or break your chance for a new job. They might also affect your reputation when accumulated over a period of time. Here are a few points you should consider for why details matter.
1. Check your spelling and grammar. One of the biggest problems with job applicants and young employees is sloppy spelling and grammar. Sometimes spell check hurts more than it helps because it doesn’t pick up contextual errors such as there, their, and they’re or it is, its and it’s. If you need improvement in this area, don’t hesitate to ask for proofreading or become more familiar with grammatical rules. Another common mistake is misuse of a possessive apostrophe as in “want some hamburger’s?” or “patient care and what the driver’s are.”
2. Prepare for meetings. You should comprehensively prepare for any meeting you attend in order to best use your time. This applies to individual face-to-face meetings, staff meetings, and even parties, happy hours, and other gatherings. Learn who will be at the meeting and have some prepared questions or points about the content of the meeting. Consider making a goal in advance that could be a question you need answered, an agenda item to add, an amount to ask the donor, points to rehash from your last meeting, or some other relevant goal. Don’t be the person who lost a document or agenda that was emailed or distributed to you before. It is a real hassle for the meeting organizer to have to remind you the location and content of the meeting that was already sent out.
3. Don’t overpromise, and always follow up when you promise something. Be careful when you commit to anything, even as small as “I will get back to you” or “let me look in to that.” Recently, I invited someone to lunch and he said he would get back to me the following day. He didn’t and I asked again, only to be promised an answer the next day again. When he didn’t reply by his own deadline, I didn’t think he would reply at all, but he did the day after. Needless to say, he didn’t keep his word on what he promised himself. Think twice before you promise anything. When you do promise something, write yourself a note with a deadline so you remember.
4. Search your emails before you ask someone to re-send. I’ve had people ask me again for documents and messages that I sent them and others received. There may have been an issue with spam or a technical error, but the majority of messages arrive and all the recipient needs to do is search his own inbox before asking the sender again.
Small details like those mentioned above are very important when added together. Do you want to have the reputation as the person in your office who has it together and is on top of details, or do you want to be the person who is scatterbrained and has a reputation for missing details that cause inefficiencies for others? Consider reviewing how you organize yourself and how you deal with the details in your life. Some small changes can produce big results. Just sweat the small stuff.
Roger Custer is executive director of America’s Future Foundation.
Interested in reading other AFF posts on career development? Visit our Professional Development page for a full list of resources.
The Southeast Michigan Chapter of America’s Future Foundation had 25 young professionals gather from across metro Detroit to talk about health care on November 13. Dr. Thomas Jeitschko, an Economics and Finance professor from Michigan State University and Dr. Matt McCord with Docs4PatientCare spoke. Dr. Jeitschko focused on the economic arguments for health care and market reforms: specifically, what has and hasn’t worked in other markets and why reform is needed. Dr. McCord focused more on patient care and what the drivers for care are. He used many practical examples to showcase what isn’t working with health care and what reforms would work. He stressed how the decoupling of the payments has really hurt the system. Guests were enthusiastic about this topic and asked many questions. Young professionals stayed after to network and learn more from the guest speakers.
Interested in learning about AFF opportunities or events in your area? Check out our Local Chapter Highlights to learn more!
Kathryn Shelton is the Director of Chapter Advancement for America’s Future Foundation.
L. Brent Bozell III, Founder and President of the Media Research Center, is considered one of the most influential leaders in the conservative movement today. The MRC focuses its efforts as the nation’s premiere watchdog on the exposure and neutralization of “liberal media bias”. Under Bozell’s leadership since 1987, the MRC has expanded its initiatives to include the popular NewsBusters.org blog site; CNSNews.com; the Business and Media Institute; and the Culture and Media Institute. The MRC also includes over 500,000 members and the largest video archive in the world. Additionally, Mr. Bozell is a nationally syndicated columnist.
In this interview from November 11th, 2013, Mr. Bozell weighs in on the success of the MRC and explains why today’s conservative movement should make it a priority to confront liberal bias in the media.
1. You have had many roles in the conservative movement; what sparked you to become an advocate for conservatism?
It’s in the blood, I suppose, on both sides of the family. McCarthy and His Enemies was written by Brent Bozell and Bill Buckley– the one my father, the other my uncle. I grew up in a political household though the irony was that ultimately my father would reject the political in favor of the spiritual.
2. To what do you attribute your success as a leader in the conservative movement?
I should answer snarkily that given the lack of success of the conservative movement in recent years, I question how well I’ve led the movement or influenced anyone. I suspect people would recognize their patience and perseverance. I, however, am impatient by temperament. On the other hand I eschew the game of politics. My goals have always been transparent, as have my actions. I have been denounced for my beliefs but no one serious opponent has ever impugned my motives. Honor breeds respect; respect is a pre-condition for influence. Honor means everything to me.
3. What makes the MRC successful as a watchdog over left-of-center media bias?
Two things, I think. First, it’s the MRC’s middle name — research. Before the MRC there was no quantitative analysis of the media and therefore no scientific documentation about that which is undeniable. Documenting that bias allowed us to expose not just examples but provide empirical evidence of long-term agendas. The combination is deadly, and a continuation of denial by a liberal journalist renders that liberal a flat earther. Second, it’s the MRC’s dedication to marketing: There is nothing the MRC does that lacks a marketing component. If I can’t show impact, I won’t do it at all.
4. Is the liberal media actively changing public opinion or are they just pandering to their audience?
If the liberal media were pandering to their audience they wouldn’t be liberal. Or to put it another way, if the media were pandering to their audience they’d all be Fox News. The left in America has three natural power centers: Academia, the entertainment industry and the news media. All three are communication perches from which to advance the liberal ideology. Note that the word “reporter” has virtually disappeared. No one wants to be a “reporter” because a reporter… reports. No, everyone is now a “journalist,” which (in their mind) allows them to transcend simple reporting. It is why there is such advocacy in the “news” business, in a very real way a contradiction in terms.
5. Is television media becoming irrelevant in the age of Internet? If so, how does the right stay ahead of media bias online?
Increasingly so. The “Big Three” networks aren’t so big anymore: they’ve lost some 50% of their audiences in the past ten years, and their numbers continue to crater. On cable it’s even worse. Consider CNN’s ratings. Its average daily audience is now approximately 300 thousand. In a nation of 310 million. That tells you something about influence. Now, that said, the online footprint enjoyed by some old media outlets — like CNN — is enormous. While television continues to dominate from the standpoint of overall impact, it is becoming increasingly irrelevant. Indeed we are fast approaching that time when broadcast television and online television will become one and the same.
6. What is the biggest challenge the MRC encounters in attempting to hold the media accountable?
Perhaps it is that not enough conservatives see the importance of fighting the liberal media. As I will not tire saying, fighting the liberal media is our top priority but should be everyone else’s second highest priority, What difference does it make how sound our arguments for tax relief, or how noble our support of life, or how essential our defense of freedom — if everything we believe is chewed up and spat out to the American people by the liberal media? If everyone in the conservative movement were to commit to fighting the leftist press, even if just on their particular issue, the sheer level of opposition to the press would smother it.
7. How do you suggest young conservatives best advocate against media bias in our society?
The Internet has provided us with an opportunity to communicate directly with our audiences, without going through the filter of the liberal press. But we must be focused on two things here.
First, be honorable. At all times be truthful. Never lower yourself to the methods of your opponents, so many who relish the politics of character assassination. It gives them an advantage to do this, to be sure. Dostoevsky told us “without God all things are possible.” The same could be said about truth. Second, follow the rules. It is true that “reporters” constantly violate the rules of journalism in the old media, but in the new media there are those who insist there are no rules to violate. Not so. The “news media” rules apply to everyone, regardless of medium.
Jordan Pic is an intern with America’s Future Foundation. To learn more about other leaders in the liberty-movement, please visit AFF’s Profiles in Liberty.
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