2021


THE EIGHTH ANNUAL WILLIAM F. BUCKLEY JR. PRIZE DINNER
OCTOBER 21, 2021 | DALLAS, TEXAS

HONORING

The Federalist Society
The William F. Buckley Jr. Prize for Leadership in Political Thought

AND

Former President, The Philanthropy Roundtable
The William F. Buckley Jr. Prize for Leadership in Supporting Liberty

DALLAS, TX, October 21, 2021— On Thursday, October 21 National Review Institute honored three giants of the conservative movement and longtime friends of the National Review enterprise—Leonard, Leo, Eugene Meyer, and Adam Meyerson at the William F. Buckley Jr. Prize Dinner at The Fairmont in Dallas, Texas. The dinner, which included conservative leaders and supporters from across the country, raised $1.2 million for the Institute’s programs.

In its eighth year, the William F. Buckley Jr. Prize Dinner is a marquee gathering and celebration for the conservative movement. NRI rotates the dinner between major cities around the country, and was pleased to return to Dallas this fall. John P. Buser, Harlan Crow, and Peter J. Travers were dinner co-chairs. In total, the crowd was comprised of nearly 350 leaders of the business, political, philanthropic, and academic communities from across the country.

“Convening the NR Nation is a central component of NRI’s work,” NRI president Lindsay Craig said. “This has been a difficult task throughout COVID-19. While we’ve had great success with our robust virtual programs, we were thrilled to be able to gather in person once again to celebrate our esteemed honorees, the NR mission, and the legacy of William F. Buckley Jr.”

The program began with a moving invocation from NRI’s Dallas-based trustee, John Buser. U.S. Senator Ted Cruz then took to the stage to welcome guests to the great state of Texas. NRI President Lindsay Craig followed, speaking of the Institute’s marked success over the past two years—the launch of National Review Capital Matters and NRI’s William F. Buckley Jr. Communicators Program, the introduction of virtual programs including NRI’s book club, and strategic hires that will enable the Institute to continue its programmatic and fundraising growth ahead of WFB’s centennial in 2025.

A video was then played that highlighted William F. Buckley Jr.’s legacy of civilized debate and NRI’s work to honor this tradition. NRI hosts two debates per year in Dallas at The Debate Chamber on the Old Parkland campus. His vision for the campus is to “be a place where there are conversations, there’s sharing of ideas, and there are thought leaders.” Recent debate topics have included “The Protection of Individual Liberties” with The Honorable Ken Starr and Alan Dershowitz, “The Second Amendment” with Charles C.W. Cooke and The Honorable Julian Castro, and our most recent debate on “Stakeholder Capitalism” with Kevin Hassett and Mark Zandi.

Adam Meyerson was presented with the William F. Buckley Jr. Prize for Leadership in Supporting Liberty by DonorsTrust President and CEO Lawson Bader. The award was presented in recognition of his longtime leadership of The Philanthropy Roundtable, a nonprofit membership organization designed to build a vibrant philanthropic movement that strengthens our free society. During his nearly two-decade-long tenure, Adam built the Roundtable into a world class leader in effective and purposeful philanthropy by growing a strong community of conservative philanthropists, working to protect donor intent and fighting for philanthropic freedom on the state and federal levels. His work has enabled numerous Americans to advance the principles of a free society through charitable giving. In addition to his work at the Roundtable, Adam has spent the last 45 years as a successful leader of major journalistic, policy, and philanthropic institutions, including The American Spectator, the Wall Street Journal, and the Heritage Foundation. Further, his leadership on the boards of National Review Institute, State Policy Network, and Donors Capital Fund are indicative of his commitment to our broader movement.

In accepting the award Meyerson said, “NRI and National Review magazine stand athwart the ideas, movements, and institutions that are endangering our free society. National Review and NRI are also indispensable leaders in the rebuilding of conservatism as a politically powerful movement and set of principles. In the tradition of Bill Buckley, one of NR and NRI’s most important contributions is to forge a coalition between different strains of conservatism while welcoming former left-wing refugees escaping the tyranny of woke ideology.”

Before the second prize was presented, NR editor in chief Rich Lowry took to the stage to raise a glass to the past editor and future editor of National Review magazine—John O’Sullivan and Ramesh Ponnuru, respectively. With Rich continuing to serve as editor in chief of National Review, overseeing NR’s overall editorial policy and official editorial positions, Ramesh will begin as editor of the print magazine in January. Phil Klein, who was also in attendance, is the new editor of NationalReview.com.

NRI fellow Andrew C. McCarthy presented Leonard Leo and Eugene Meyer with the William F. Buckley Jr. Prize for Leadership in Political Thought for their consequential leadership of The Federalist Society. Over the past four decades, The Federalist Society has reshaped jurisprudence toward a responsible adherence to our Constitutional framework. The support and cultivation of lawyers committed to the principles of a free society and a limited constitutional government has been crucial to protecting American liberty under law. Further, in a political environment hostile to civil discourse, The Federalist Society fosters open debate and discussion of important legal topics for students and professionals across the country. Under the leadership of Eugene Meyer and Leonard Leo, the Society has expanded into a nationally prominent institution representing more than 60,000 law students, attorneys, academics, public policy practitioners, and jurists.

In his remarks Meyer said, “We need more good people committed to the Constitutional structure that the founders established and to their belief in freedom of conscience and thought. It has been part of the Federalist Society’s goals to think hard about these issues and discuss them energetically and to strongly encourage and incentivize more good and capable people to be seriously involved in public policy; just as it has been National Review’s and Bill Buckley’s goals to foster such discussion. That shared goal makes me and the Federalist Society especially honored to receive this award.”

During his remarks Leo spoke out against activist judges, “The conservative legal movement has one goal … We seek a society that upholds human dignity and individual freedom …Some well-meaning conservatives are attempting to justify a much more expansive role for judges, under the guise of a “better” originalism. . . . Many of the things they want are worthy ends. Yet their suggested means run counter to the central premise of our movement,” he said.

The program concluded with remarks from NRI Chairman Peter J. Travers, who thanked guests for joining us from across the country for a wonderful, celebratory evening. Guests then made their way to our festive after party, with musical entertainment provided by the Hunter Sullivan band. NRI’s next William F. Buckley Jr. Prize Diner will be held in California, September 2022.

Prominent attendees included notable National Review writers such as Rich Lowry, Andrew C. McCarthy, Kevin D. Williamson, John O’Sullivan, Kevin Hassett, Andrew Stuttaford, Kathryn Jean Lopez, Jay Nordlinger, John McCormack, Ramesh Ponnuru, and Kyle Smith. Along with Senator Ted Cruz, Lindsay Craig, Peter Travers, David Bahnsen, Garrett Bewkes, Lisa Nelson, The Hon. Ken Starr, and Father Robert Sirico.

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.

NRI first brought the annual Prize Dinner to Dallas to Dallas in 2015 and over the past eight years has hosted events and worked closely with state think-tanks and regional policy organizations in Texas. We aim to energize the local conservative base and introduce our friends and supporters around the country to state-based and regional organizations doing vital work for the broader movement. This year’s Buckley Prize Dinner in Dallas is indicative of National Review Institute’s commitment to maintaining a consistent presence in Texas and our goal of making real the “National” in the National Review mission. The encouragement NRI has received from friends and supporters in Texas and across the county has been tremendous. Over the past eight years, NRI has grown its programming, bringing National Review’s best talent to various cities outside of our home in New York. NRI plans to continue to expand its core programming, which complements the mission and work of National Review.


DINNER CO-CHAIRS

John P. Buser | Harlan Crow | Peter J. Travers

BUCKLEY CIRCLE SPONSORS

The Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation

PLATINUM SPONSORS

Laurel and Cliff Asness, Connecticut

GOLD SPONSORS

Anonymous
The Bahnsen Group
Wendy and Dale Brott, Ohio
Virginia James, New Jersey
Randy and Ken Kendrick, Arizona
Suzie and Bruce Kovner, Florida
Debbie and Brian Murdock, Florida
Napa Institute
Paul E. Singer Foundation
Karen and Richard Spencer, California
Alice and Ken Starr, Texas
Karan and Alec Taylor, New Jersey
Madelene and L. Stanton Towne, New York
Nicholas H. Travers, Texas 

SILVER SPONSORS

The American Federation for Children
Erika and John Ammirati, California
Anonymous
Bradley Impact Fund
Stephanie Carlton, Texas
Janet and Brad Childers, Texas
Teresa and Jack Clem, Texas
Kristen and Charles Correll, California
Audrey and Peter Denton, Florida
DonorsTrust
Eric O’Keefe, Wisconsin
The Ryan Foundation
Anthony Scaramucci, New York
Stand Together
State Policy Network
Teneo
Leah and James Turner, Indiana
Julianne and Michael Woronoff, California

BRONZE SPONSORS

Richard V. Allen, Colorado
American Philanthropic
Kate and Mark Anderson, Texas
Anonymous
J. Robert Arnett II, Texas
Allison and Roberts W. Brokaw III, Delaware
Catherine and Jason Carr, Texas
Michael Grebe, Wisconsin
The Albert & Ethel Herzstein Charitable Foundation
The Hon. John Hillen, Virginia
Holtzman Vogel Baran Torchinsky Josefiak
William K. Hoskins, Massachusetts
Susan K. and James D. Jordan, Texas
Joe and Tayler Lonsdale, Texas
Evelyn O’Byrne, New York / American Institute for Economic Research
Diane and Thomas O’Leary, Florida
Eddie Perkin, Massachusetts
The Philanthropy Roundtable
Erica McLain and Jacob Plummer, Texas
Kelli and Allen Questrom, Texas
Nancy Reeves Reardon, Massachusetts
Virginia and Preston Simpson, Texas
Tiffany Steffens, Texas
Dr. Jennifer Lowney and Dr. Baran Sumer, Texas
John Tillman, Illinois
Mary Beth and Dick Weiss, Florida
Abby and George Yates, Texas
Penny and Bob Young, Florida
Young Americans for Liberty

BURKE TO BUCKLEY HOST COMMITTEE

Shannon Cagnina, 2015
Stephanie Carlton, 2020
Richard Flake, 2019
Andrew Graham, 2015
Kent Sholars, 2017


About The Honorees

The William F. Buckley Jr. Prize for Leadership in Political Thought will be awarded to Leonard Leo and Eugene Meyer for their consequential leadership of The Federalist Society. Over the past four decades, The Federalist Society has reshaped jurisprudence toward a responsible adherence to our Constitutional framework. The support and cultivation of lawyers committed to the principles of a free society and a limited constitutional government has been crucial to protecting American liberty under law. Further, in a political environment hostile to civil discourse, The Federalist Society fosters open debate and discussion of important legal topics for students and professionals across the country.

The William F. Buckley Jr. Prize for Leadership in Supporting Liberty, which recognizes conservative philanthropy, will be awarded to Adam Meyerson in recognition of his longtime leadership of The Philanthropy Roundtable, a nonprofit membership organization designed to build a vibrant philanthropic movement that strengthens our free society. During his nearly two-decade-long tenure, Adam built the Roundtable into a world class leader in effective and purposeful philanthropy by growing a strong community of conservative philanthropists, working to protect donor intent and fighting for philanthropic freedom on the state and federal levels. His work has enabled numerous Americans to advance the principles of a free society through charitable giving. In addition to his work at the Roundtable, Adam has spent the last 45 years as a successful leader of major journalistic, policy, and philanthropic institutions, including The American Spectator, the Wall Street Journal, and the Heritage Foundation. Further, his leadership on the boards of National Review Institute, State Policy Network, and Donors Capital Fund are indicative of his commitment to our broader movement.

About The Gala

For his entire life, our founder, William F. Buckley Jr., sought to preserve and buttress the foundations of our free society. To honor his achievement and inspire others, National Review Institute’s Board of Trustees created the William F. Buckley Jr. Prizes for Leadership in Political Thought and Leadership in Supporting Liberty. Notable public intellectuals, philanthropists, and leaders in the conservative movement join us each fall to show support for our honorees, Bill Buckley’s enduring legacy, and the National Review mission.