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The Institute on Religion and Public Life, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization (EIN: 52-1628303) and the publisher of First Things, was founded in 1989 by Richard John Neuhaus, a Lutheran pastor who later became a Catholic priest. The Institute’s mission is to advance a religiously informed public philosophy for the ordering of society.

The inaugural issue of First Things was published in March 1990. The magazine’s founding editorial, “Putting First Things First,” can be found here. Today, First Things encompasses the print magazine, which is published ten times each year;, which publishes daily “web exclusive” articles; and two regular podcasts: Conversations with Mark Bauerlein and The Editor’s Desk. In addition to publishing First Things, the Institute on Religion and Public Life executes core educational programs, including:

  • Erasmus Lecture, which enters its 35th year and now comprises a poetry reading, a post-Lecture dinner for Editor’s Circle donors and leading scholars, and a next-day scholarly colloquium;
  • Evangelicals and Catholics Together, which was established in 1994 and continues to convene prominent Protestant and Catholic scholars to publish public statements on critical theological, cultural, and political topics; 
  • Junior Fellows program, which trains two recent graduates each year; 
  • Half-day executive seminars in cities around the country;
  • Intensive weekend Intellectual Retreats;
  • First Things Lecture in Washington, D.C.;
  • Our reading group, which meets monthly from September through May, with both in-person and Zoom options available; and
  • Other events, including arts events, book signings, and lectures at our Manhattan editorial office and around the country.

To learn more about the Institute on Religion and Public Life, please review our most recent Annual Report, which can be found here. For more information about the Institute’s educational programs, please visit

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To donate to the Institute on Religion and Public Life, please visit or contact Carter Skeel, Director of Development, at or 212-627-1985. The Institute's EIN is 52-1628303.