Young America’s Foundation and Young Americans for Freedom announced recently that they will become one organization.
Young America’s Foundation preserves and protects Ronald Reagan’s ranch—Rancho del Cielo—in Santa Barbara, Calif., and introduces young people to conservative ideas through speakers on campus, conferences and activist initiatives. Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) was originally founded by William F. Buckley Jr. in Sharon, Conn., in 1960 and establishes a network of YAF chapters across the country to build a cadre of young conservative activists.
The leaders of both organizations see the unification as a way to bolster much-needed conservative activism on campuses nationwide. The mainstream media, college professors and the Obama administration all advocate using the federal government’s coercive powers to advance their agendas. Furthermore, according to a study released by Young America’s Foundation, Barack Obama speaks on a college or high school campus once every 12 days. The unification of Young America’s Foundation and Young Americans for Freedom will counter this assault on young people and will marshal forces among young conservatives to ensure their peers understand the importance of preserving freedom.
Commenting on the unification, Young America’s Foundation President Ron Robinson said, “During this time in our country, where freedom is on the precipice, we needed to take every step to ensure the next generation understands the importance of limited government and individual freedom. Young Americans for Freedom’s rich conservative legacy made it a natural partner. We look forward to strengthening our effectiveness.”
Young Americans for Freedom’s chairman, Michael Jones, said, “Not since the signing of the Sharon Statement has there been such a significant decision for Young Americans for Freedom. Merging with Young America’s Foundation represents what William F. Buckley Jr. and other leading conservatives have long believed and practiced—that when we proceed together in the spirit of unity, we not only ensure a promising future for the cause of conservatism, but secure and uphold the God-given principles that have served to make our nation the leading champion of freedom and liberty the world over.”
Young Americans for Freedom will become a project of Young America’s Foundation and operate with the guidance of the Foundation’s leadership team. Young America’s Foundation will continue to work with any student or existing conservative student organization that wants to host one of its conservative speakers, attend a foundation conference, or get involved with an activism project. When conservative students want to start a conservative club, the foundation will encourage them to start a YAF chapter.
Existing YAF chapters will be brought under the foundation’s auspices. Both existing and new clubs will receive materials, training, support and encouragement based on decades of activism experience.
Both alumni of Young Americans for Freedom and students are excited about the unification of these two organizations.
Dr. Lee Edwards was one of the nearly 100 young conservatives who founded Young Americans for Freedom at the home of William F. Buckley Jr. in September 1960. He is also founder of YAF’s official publication, The New Guard. Commenting on the merger, Edwards said, “The Conservative Movement is always strongest when it is united and focused on the enemies of freedom, which is why I applaud enthusiastically the merger of Young Americans for Freedom and Young America’s Foundation. The Left is hereby put on notice.”
Dr. Wayne Thorburn, author of A Generation Awakes: Young Americans for Freedom and the Creation of the Conservative Movement and longtime foundation director, noted, “Young Americans for Freedom has a proud history of producing leaders for the Conservative Movement. This merger will strengthen the effort to bring the conservative message to more campuses and remind young Americans of Ronald Reagan’s dedication to individual liberty and economic freedom.”
Current activists also applaud the merger. Jiesi Zhao, a recent graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, said, “When I was a student activist at Berkeley, I wanted to work directly with Young America’s Foundation in order to bring in speakers and host other on-campus events. With the unification, student activists on campuses nationwide can now form Young Americans for Freedom chapters at their universities and organize campus events as an entity of Young America’s Foundation without having to go through other campus organizations and various other channels of bureaucracy.
Students interested in starting a YAF chapter should visit the Young America’s Foundation’s website, YAF.org, for more information.