Too many students graduate — whether from high schools, colleges, or universities — without the job skills needed to compete in our knowledge-based economy. Worse, many students lack basic information on the foundations of our free and civil society, the very concepts that allow our republican form of government to function and our nation to flourish.

The John William Pope Foundation believes that Americans have a duty to teach the next generation about the West’s rich tradition of liberty. We support educational institutions, academic centers, student groups, and national organizations that achieve those ends.

But ensuring that future generations are taught about the blessings of freedom isn’t enough. The Pope Foundation also believes in impacting education for the current generation — creating educational excellence for today. That’s why we support public policy organizations such as the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy, a nonprofit whose goal is to improve higher education in North Carolina and around the country. The Foundation also contributes regularly to the Institute for Humane Studies, a national organization that assists undergraduates, graduate students, and scholars worldwide in becoming advocates for freer societies.

Pictures of the John W. Pope Student-Athlete Academic Support Center at Kenan Stadium

A key way that the Foundation meets its goal of impacting current students, and future generations of learners, is through academic centers. These include the Philosophy, Politics, and Economics program at UNC-Chapel Hill; the Economic, Legal, and Political Foundations of Free Societies program at N.C. State University; the Center for the History of Political Economy at Duke University; and the Clemson Institute for the Study of Capitalism.

These centers provide a needed freedom-centric perspective that is often overlooked in the classrooms of higher learning.

Principles

  • The primary goal of educational institutions is to encourage critical thinking, scholarly inquiry, and responsible teaching, not to indoctrinate students in a particular worldview.
  • Schools, colleges, and universities should be strongholds of intellectual diversity, including the philosophies of economic freedom and prosperity.
  • Educational institutions have a duty to provide value to their customers, the students.
  • Philanthropists and alumni ought to be keenly interested in supporting our nation’s academic institutions.

Investments

The Foundation invests in over a dozen entities that foster the founding principles of freedom in the educational sphere. Gifts to these groups have totaled nearly $16 million during the last 25 years. Examples of other organizations that we support include:

The Pope Foundation also supports the capital needs of area universities. In 2011, the Foundation gave a $3 million gift to UNC-Chapel Hill to create the John W. Pope Student-Athlete Academic Support Center as part of the renovation of Kenan Stadium. In 2009, the Foundation completed the final installment of a $4.5 million grant to complete the John William Pope Jr. Convocation Center at Campbell University. The same year, the Foundation committed $1.2 million to complete the renovation of Campbell’s law-school building in downtown Raleigh.

How to Apply

Click here for information on the application process.

Check out our grantee Spotlights

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Asheville School

To appreciate the good that Western civilization has brought to the world, students must first understand it. And what better way to gain understanding than to read, and study, the classics of Western culture — works ranging from Homer to Locke.

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Baker Mitchell Devotes His Retirement to Educating Kids

A tale of two schools. That’s what prompted Baker Mitchell to embark on a journey to bring more education options to families in coastal North Carolina. The story began in the early 1990s.

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Born Under Communism, Simon Bilo Now Teaches Others About Free Economies

“For the first six years of my life, I was under a communist regime.”

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Center for the History of Political Economy at Duke University

Educating Future — and Current — Economists About Their Past Human beings are fascinated by stories of origins: How life began, how nations were founded, how civilizations rise and fall, and how concepts were developed. Jumping off that natural interest in beginnings, Dr. Bruce Caldwell has established a world-class academic center at Duke University — [...]

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Guillermo Peña Panting Brings Freedom to the Murder Capital of the World

What would convince a talented, promising young man to forsake a life of ease in the United States and Europe and return to his home country — a country that’s currently considered the murder capital of the world?

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Jim Anthony Puts Faith Into Practice Through Giving

For Jim Anthony, it all began in 1983. An MBA graduate from Duke University, Jim had spent the last four years working as a brokerage professional in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles when he decided to move his family.

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John Amanchukwu Strives to Offer a Vibrant Education Option

John Amanchukwu is the baby of his family — and also the biggest. At six feet, six inches tall and 280 pounds, he made a habit of sacking quarterbacks.

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Terry Stoops: A ‘You-Can’t-Scare-Me’ Education Reformer

The odds have always been against Terry Stoops. As an advocate for expanding parental choice in education, Terry has been a minority in a world dominated by education bureaucrats.

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The Economic, Legal, and Political Foundations of Free Societies at N.C. State

Expanding the diversity of ideas encountered by students and bringing more high-quality academics to campus.

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The Fund for American Studies

The time was the late 1960s. The United States was engulfed in a seismic cultural and political shift. Radicalism dominated college campuses. Confidence in the American system of government was on the decline.

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The Institute for Humane Studies

Training today’s brightest students and faculty to be the defenders of liberty tomorrow.

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Travis Fisher Seeks to ‘Be Rather Than to Seem’

Travis Fisher experienced a political epiphany as a junior in college: He wanted to become an advocate for free markets. Until then, Travis considered himself a confused, left-leaning moderate in his political philosophy.

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UNC-Duke Philosophy, Politics, and Economics Program

The intersection of politics, economics, and morality has never been more important than it is today. Yet many times, these three subject areas are treated as distinct, unrelated categories.

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