The National Review Institute presented its 2018 William F. Buckley Jr. Prize for Leadership in Political Thought to Edwin J. Feulner, the founder and former president of The Heritage Foundation, at the institute’s fifth annual dinner Thursday in Chicago.
The late William F. Buckley, an icon of the conservative movement, was the founder of National Review and the author of numerous books.
On the institute’s event page, NRI said it presented the award to Feulner to recognize a lifetime of “exceptional leadership” and referred to The Heritage Foundation as a “powerhouse of William F. Buckley Jr.’s ideas, and one of NRI’s most valued partners.”
“Ed Feulner is not just a leader of the conservative movement; he is a true visionary,” said Kay Cole James, who attended the event and currently serves as president of The Heritage Foundation. James added:
Deemed a titan in the conservative movement, Ed truly believes conservatives are a force that cannot be ignored or dismissed and our continued success will be measured by our ability to add and multiply, not divide and subtract.
Feulner was a founding trustee of Heritage in 1973 and served as the organization’s president from 1977 to 2013 and from 2017 to 2018.
After becoming Heritage’s fourth president in four years, Feulner led the organization from being a struggling policy institute to one of the most highly influential think tanks in Washington, D.C., for more than 30 years,
“He transformed the role of think tanks in Washington,” James said. “Ed proved they could actually drive the public debate by pairing research, data, and analysis with sound policy solutions and innovative ideas.”
Kathryn Lopez, an editor-at-large for National Review and a senior fellow at NRI, worked as a Heritage intern in government relations under Feulner in the 1990s and attended Thursday’s event.
“You can tell a lot about a person when you’re an intern who temporarily likes to blend into the crowd,” Lopez said in an email to The Daily Signal. “I was not invisible to Ed Feulner–because people aren’t to the best public policy leaders.”
— Kathryn Jean Lopez (@kathrynlopez) October 19, 2018
Lopez also said of Feulner’s character:
He was good to me way back then, because that’s who he is. He has made such crucial contributions to the nation–and world–with his founding and shepherding of The Heritage Foundation. And he’s demonstrated that leaders can be humble and kind while commanding authority and have influence.
Feulner has been widely recognized for his leadership in the U.S. and abroad.
In 2007 and 2010, The Daily Telegraph named Feulner as one of the 100 most influential conservatives in America, and in 2009, Republican political strategist Karl Rove named Feulner as the sixth most powerful conservative in Washington in a Forbes magazine article. That same year, the Intercollegiate Studies Institute presented Feulner with the Charles Hoeflich Lifetime Achievement Award.
Feulner accepted the Buckley Prize for Leadership in Political Thought alongside Ohio businesswoman and NRI trustee Karen Wright, who was awarded the Prize for Leadership in Supporting Liberty, which recognizes achievements in conservative philanthropy.
Past NRI prize winners include the DeVos family, billionaire Harold Simmons, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and author Charles Krauthammer, and former Secretary of State George Shultz, who served under President Ronald Reagan.