First Things celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2015.
To mark the occasion, the Institute on Religion and Public Life established the 25 Fund, a year-long campaign to raise $2 million. Thanks to the extraordinary generosity of our readers, we exceeded our goal for the 25 Fund and raised nearly $2,100,000 from over 700 donors. First Things is especially grateful to board member Jim Perry, who generously matched these gifts.
Although much has changed in the religious, political, and cultural landscape since Fr. Richard John Neuhaus and others first published the magazine in 1990, our essential mission remains the same: to make religious voices heard in the public square. Contributions to the 25 Fund are being used to enhance the public witness of First Things. Over the next several years, First Things will use contributions to the 25 Fund to:
Expand the Institute’s national reach through lectures and seminars across the U.S.
First Things began hosting annual lectures for readers in Dallas and Washington, DC in 2014. These lectures cultivate a visible community of people committed to the renewal of public life. The 25 Fund helps First Things to expand these lectures to additional cities around the country.
The 25 Fund is also being used to continue a series of Intellectual Retreats. These weekend-long seminars bring First Things readers and writers together for lectures and discussions on important topics on religion, culture, and society. Using pre-assigned readings and a seminar format, the first weekend-long retreat was held in New York City in August 2015.
First Things will host another Intellectual Retreat, “The Search for Happiness”
in Los Angeles on May 20th - 22nd 2016.
(For details, please visit the event’s page at: firstthings.com/retreat).
Grow the Institute’s community of scholars abroad by establishing an International Scholars Network.
The problems facing religious believers today are not unique to the United States. Faithful communities around the world are increasingly being threatened by secular ideologies intolerant of their traditional beliefs. These ideologies have developed networks of NGOs.
First Things is uniquely positioned to build an international community of religious intellectuals, writers, and activists to contest with secular elites for the future of global culture. The 25 Fund allows us to bring religious scholars from around the world to join First Things’ ongoing scholarly colloquia, as well as to host seminars in major global cities outside of the United States on topics of international importance.
Nurture the next generation of public intellectuals through a First Things Senior Fellowship program.
As academia has become increasingly specialized over the past few decades, there now is a greater need for scholars who can speak intelligently, but accessibly, to the concerns of a broader audience of religious believers. The First Things Senior Fellows program began in 2015. It offers established scholars the opportunity to come to New York and work with First Things editors to develop their voices as influential public intellectuals.
First Things is needed now more than at any other time in its history. American culture is confused. Lifestyle libertarianism has promised freedoms without constraints, pleasures without penalties. Yet it has delivered only weakened communities, broken families, and individuals hungry for meaning. First Things continues to point to a better, brighter way.
Although the campaign for the 25 Fund is over, there are still many ways to support these initiatives and the mission of First Things. More information on how you can contribute to First Things is available here.