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Additional options for grantmakers interested in helping refine or redefine conservatism moving forward.

The upheaval in conservatism caused, or perhaps merely signified, by the political ascendance of Donald Trump in 2016 continues and seems to be intensifying.

Many of those already-established, familiar, philanthropically supported institutions and publications that were caught somewhat flat-footed by that which gave rise to the Trump phenomenon have steadied themselves and are currently attempting to address it. They all have much to and will contribute, of course, to the refinement or redefinition—or, in some cases, what they would consider the restoration—of conservatism moving forward.

Other new organizations and projects have themselves arisen since ’16, too. These “new kids on the block” have begun to and will contribute in their own ways.  Moving forward, step by step, they likely will have much more to contribute, perhaps—in fact, hopefully—along with others who will be joining them.

These new think tanks and magazines and journals, many online, provide ideas-driven, policy-oriented conservative grantmakers with additional grantmaking options to consider. Some of them are briefly overviewed in this again-updated, one-page Giving Review document, “New Organizations and Projects Seeking to Help Refine or Redefine Conservatism Moving Forward (Re-Updated),” the original version of which appeared in October 2019.

Discussing and defending liberal democracy, and proactively avoiding pain

This new update additionally includes American Purpose and the Marathon Initiative. Announced last week, American Purpose is a center-right online journal edited by Jeffrey Gedmin, Adam Keiper, and Suzanne Garment. It will also soon feature regular podcasts.

American Purpose’s inaugural article was by Francis Fukuyama, on liberalism and its discontents. According to an introductory note from the three co-editors, “Liberal democracy is now denigrated by some on the left and the right within this country and under more profound attack around the world. True, liberal democracy has sins to answer for; we will discuss them. Nevertheless, we aim to defend it.

“That means maintaining a big tent,” they continue,

in which opposing views can share a civil home. It means covering not just politics but the culture that shapes and is shaped by it. It means both keeping up with the headlines and offering room for writers and thinkers to report, analyze, and reflect on what’s happening and how we got here.

The Marathon Initiative is “dedicated to the development of strategies to deal with the problems posed by great power competition.” Its co-founders and principals are Elbridge Colby and A. Wess Mitchell. Earlier in the Trump administration, Colby was Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy and Force Development and Mitchell was Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs earlier in the Trump administration.

“The country is at a moment of self-correction,” Mitchell told Thomas Wright for an August article in The Atlantic.

America’s external and internal environments have dramatically changed. We got used to three decades with no peer competitor and unlimited resources. These conditions are now gone. You can’t have a $24 trillion debt and competition on all fronts and expect to continue business as usual. Far-reaching departures from our traditional foreign policy are now required. Otherwise, changes will be forced upon us later, with more pain than if we are proactive.


The list includes only Internal Revenue Code § 501(c)(3) groups or projects undertaken by such groups. It is partial, we fully realize, and may be revised again.


(Note: One of us, Dan Schmidt, serves on the board of advisors of The Edmund Burke Foundation, which is included on the list.)

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