Heritage Foundation Counts Its Blessings

Article excerpt

Money. It's something the Heritage Foundation has in abundance these days. It has so much, in fact, that the conservative think tank's president, Edwin Feulner, could not resist carrying the amount - written on the back of a business card - tucked in his pocket Wednesday night at its 25th Anniversary Leadership for America Finale Dinner, so named to mark the end of a two-year fund-raising campaign.

"Did you get that?" he asked a passing reporter at the JW Marriott hotel, pulling out the card and displaying it next to a gigantic grin. One hundred million, nine hundred and fifty seven thousand, three hundred and seventy two dollars, it read.

Yes, that's $100,957,372 - the result of a campaign during which organizers hoped to raise a mere $85 million. It was kicked off two years ago with a massive dinner at the Renaissance Mayflower Hotel in Northwest featuring former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher of Great Britain as the guest speaker.

At that dinner, it fell to soft-spoken Heritage Foundation Chairman David Brown to bring up the sticky topic of soliciting funding for the organization. He recalled the occasion Wednesday night.

"Two years ago, I had the distinct pleasure of talking about money, and tonight Ed Meese gets to talk about money when it's all a big success," Mr. Brown said with a sardonic smile, referring to the evening's master of ceremonies. "What have I done wrong, Ed?"

Apparently nothing, Mr. Brown. After the subject was broached, the funds began to pour in. Nineteen foundations or individuals gave at least $1 million, including the Sarah Scaife Foundation (represented Wednesday by Jay Gartland); the John M. Olin Foundation; B. Kenneth Simon of Pittsburgh, Pa. …