February 9, 2017

AFF Community

AFF Executive Director: 2017 Plan

By: Roger Custer

A new year.  A new president.  A lot has changed.

Or has it?

The long battle for liberty is still as important as ever.  Recent college graduates are hungry to learn ideas and meet like-minded friends.

Regardless of who has political power, we must continue changing hearts and minds in favor of limited government, free markets, and personal responsibility for the long term.

With your help, AFF will do that more often, in more cities, and with better quality than ever before.

AFF supporters made 2016 a record year.  They made it possible to hold 200 events in 22 cities for more than 8,000 attendees.  Their 56 writing fellows alumni published more than 500 pieces nationwide.  They grew AFF’s team and budget to record levels, which positioned the organization for success in 2017.

Here is how AFF will inspire the Millennial generation this year:

1.  Build on existing strengths: AFF is active in 25 cities around the country, including five new cities launched in 2016.  Hannah Cox is the chapter leader in newly-launched AFF Nashville.  In her full-time job, she is Outreach Coordinator at Tennessee’s free market think tank, the Beacon Center.  There, she uses the art of storytelling to make the moral case for freedom.  The chapter has a partnership with the Beacon Center’s young professionals group, the New Wataugans.  Hannah reports, “we are thrilled to partner with America’s Future Foundation as we continue to expand our Young Professionals Society and provide a vitally important networking opportunity for Nashville’s rising thought-leaders. This partnership will provide connections that reach outside of our state and better empower our members as they seek to advance liberty in their own fields.”

2.  Develop young leaders’ skills and engage: Once leaders are identified and involved, AFF invests in their professional development.  For example, the Writing Fellows program will host 15 in-person and digital attendees starting next week for the 6-week training session.  Jason Russell is a graduate of the program and now the coordinator.  He notes, “I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for AFF’s Writing Fellows Program. Thanks to a connection I made while networking in the program, I was hired as a commentary writer at the Washington Examiner. Within two years, I was promoted to an editor’s role. AFF’s Writing Fellows Program helped me develop the skills and confidence necessary to write better, more persuasive pieces, and it’s continued to help me form invaluable connections.”

3.  Deepen partnerships to build the movement:  AFF’s comparative advantage is inspiring young professionals.  Many AFF programs involve partnerships with colleague organizations with a different comparative advantage such as research, marketing, state policy, or teaching students.  One such partnership involves the Center for the Study of Liberty, a new offshoot of Liberty Fund.  Their executive director Jennifer Thompson said, “The Center for the Study of Liberty is excited to work with America’s Future Foundation during 2017. We know that young professionals across the country want to engage with the ideas of liberty, and we look forward to learning more about AFF’s members and their interests. The Center connects the best speakers, research, and resources in the liberty movement to the business community, and we are thrilled to be in partnership with AFF in order to do that.”

4.  Recruit graduating leaders from student organizations:  Every year, millions of students are introduced to the ideas of liberty by more than 10 campus organizations.  AFF will recruit graduating leaders and invite them to be involved in chapters around the country.  In 2016, AFF named 11 Emerging Leaders, including Megan Cook, a graduate of Salem College in North Carolina.  After her internship with us, she said AFF, “allowed for me to grow my network and find incredible mentors. When looking for future opportunities after college, I know that I want to continue my life working with liberty-leaning nonprofits.”  Your investment in Megan, and so many of her peers, will provide a solid pipeline of talent advancing liberty.

Thanks for your interest in America’s Future Foundation.  My colleagues and I look forward to speaking with you soon to explore how your investment in this important mission will inspire the Millennial generation for liberty.  In the meantime, please contact me with any questions at roger@americasfuture.org or 202-331-2261.


Roger Custer

Executive Director