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.

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 fledgling 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 their 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 complements the mission and work of National Review.

Thank You To Our Host Committee


Victor Davis Hanson, California • Peter Magowan, California • Richard Spencer, California • Peter Thiel, California


William E. Simon, Jr., California


Robert F. Agostinelli, Florida • John and Ann Buser, Texas • Karen Buchwald Wright, Ohio


Dick and Betsy DeVos, Michigan • Peter J. Travers, New Jersey


Anonymous • Bill and Susan Oberndorf Foundation, California • Dale and Wendy Brott, Ohio • Brian and Debbie Murdock, Florida • L. Stanton and Madelene Towne, New York • William H. Donner Foundation, New York


American Legislative Exchange Council • John and Erika Ammirati, California • Anonymous • David and Joleen Bahnsen, California • Berman & Company • Matt and Susie Byers, California • Tony and Juliette Campos, California • Chevron Corporation • Mike and Joan Conway, California • John and Carole Harris, California • John Hillen, Virginia • Jay and Natalie Kalpakoff, California • Randy Kendrick, Arizona • The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, Wisconsin • Kevin O’Brien, California • Bruce and Valerie Schooley, California • Allen Sidor, California • Dick and Mary Beth Weiss, Illinois • Diane Wilsey, California • Bob and Penny Young, Connecticut


American Philanthropic, LLC • Anonymous • William Becker, Florida • David and Lois Bruns, California • Terry Considine • DonorsTrust • Foley & Lardner LLP • Intercollegiate Studies Institute • Anthony Scaramucci, New York • Carl and Barbara Ueland, California • Paul Wolfowitz, Florida • Kay Harrington Woods, California