CONSERVATIVE LEADERS AND PHILANTHROPISTS GATHER TO HONOR WILLIAM F. BUCKLEY JR.’S LEGACY
National Review Institute hosts its Third Annual William F. Buckley Jr. Prize Dinner at San Francisco City Hall; raises over $1 million for the Institute’s programs. Recognizes Michael W. Grebe of The Lynde & Harry Bradley Foundation for Leadership in Supporting Liberty and former Secretary of State George P. Shultz for Leadership in Political Thought.
San Francisco, CA—On Thursday, September 22, 2016, 300 conservative leaders, philanthropists, and friends of National Review Institute (NRI) from around the country gathered in San Francisco to celebrate the legacy of William F. Buckley Jr. and the third annual WFB Jr. Prize honorees. The purpose of the event was to honor individuals whose work and lives advance a free society and the values William F. Buckley Jr. fought to preserve. The dinner also sought to raise awareness and support for NRI’s programs, which complement the editorial mission of National Review.
In its third year, the William F. Buckley Jr. Prize Dinner has quickly become a marquee gathering and celebration for the conservative movement. Held at the Historic San Francisco City Hall, the night began with welcome remarks from dinner chairman Peter Thiel, who thanked guests for attending and set the celebratory tone for the evening. The Archbishop of San Francisco Salvatore Cordileone gave the invocation. Charlie Sykes, Wisconsin radio host and renowned political commentator, served as emcee for the night. Guests were treated to a Buckley favorite- a peanut butter and bacon appetizer, followed by a seasonal menu including butternut squash and grilled filet mignon. In keeping with the night’s celebratory mood, specialty desserts like fortune cookies filled with Buckley quotes and truffles were served. The evening concluded in the picturesque City Hall Rotunda, with attendees dancing the night away to music provided by the Alex Donner Band. Attendees left with fortune cookies filled with William F. Buckley Jr. quotes and thumb drives with episodes of Firing Line for guests to continue the Buckley celebration experience.
Prominent attendees included notable National Review writers such as Jonah Goldberg, Jay Nordlinger, Reihan Salam, Kathryn Jean Lopez, and Kevin Williamson. Joining Peter Thiel as dinner co-chairs were Victor Davis Hanson, Peter Magowan, and Richard Spencer. William E. Simon, Jr. served as an honorary chair.
This year’s WFB Prize dinner commemorated the 50th anniversary of Firing Line, Buckley’s Emmy Award-winning television program. The longest-running-public-affairs show in television history with a single host, Firing Line provided the conservative movement a truly national reach and appeal, and helped turn the fledging movement into a consequential cause, which achieved success for the ideas of free peoples and free markets, and exposed the maladies of the aggrandized state. NRI celebrated Firing Line’s 50th anniversary at the gala with a video presentation, and a display from the Hoover Institution & Library Archives’ exhibit this summer on Firing Line.
For his entire life, Bill Buckley sought to preserve and buttress the foundations of our free society. To honor his achievement and inspire others, NRI’s Board of Trustees annually award the William F. Buckley Jr. Prizes for Leadership in Supporting Liberty and Leadership in Political Thought. These prestigious awards honor its namesake and those who champion the principles Buckley advanced during his lifetime.
This year, the William F. Buckley Prize Jr. for Leadership in Supporting Liberty was awarded to Michael W. Grebe, the outgoing president and CEO of the consequential Lynde & Harry Bradley Foundation. Roger Kimball, editor of the New Criterion and Encounter Books, introduced and welcomed Mr. Grebe to the stage to accept his award.
NR editor-in-chief, Rich Lowry, presented the William F. Buckley Jr. Prize for Leadership in Political Thought to former Secretary of State George P. Shultz for his role in defeating Soviet Communism alongside President Reagan.
This year’s Buckley Prize Dinner in San Francisco is indicative of NRI’s commitment to this region of the country. Our goal is to make real the “National” in National Review. Over the past two years, NRI has grown its programming and increased its presence in the Golden State, including the recent launch of our Regional Fellows program in San Francisco. NRI plans to continue to expand its core programming which complement the mission and work of National Review.
A Note from the President
William F. Buckley Jr. had a special ability to bring together a range of viewpoints, to unite a broad coalition of those who believed that a free society best nurtures the individual and the culture at large. While it is inevitably true that the number of those who knew WFB personally will dwindle, it is my honor to expand the circle of those who are touched by his spirit and influenced by the principles he championed.
As we reinvigorate the National Review Institute’s programs, our newly formed team is eager to work with old and new friends alike.
Thank you for your support.
Lindsay Young Craig
Learn more about NRI’s programs, accomplishments, and recent growth in the below Mid-Year Newsletter
The National Review Institute is a non-profit organization designated under Section 501 (c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and contributions to it are deductible for income, gift, and estate tax purposes.