The Seventh Annual William F. Buckley Jr. Prize Dinner


Each fall, National Review Institute hosts its marquee William F. Buckley Jr. Prize Dinner to celebrate the leadership of exceptional individuals in our movement, honor WFB’s legacy, grow our community of supporters, and raise important funds for the NR mission. This fall we have the distinct privilege to honor James L. Buckley, the revered U.S. senator from New York and older brother to WFB, and Virginia James, a philanthropist who has generously supported dozens of organizations dedicated to economic freedom, limited government, education, and the arts.

These past few months, we have remained hopeful that we could host a limited version of our gala at Cipriani in New York City on October 5 with a portion of attendees joining us online for a virtual program. However, due to New York City’s limitations on phase four reopening, and after conversations with our board of trustees and events team, we have made the difficult decision to not host the gala in New York City this fall.

. . . But the show must go on!


We are pleased to announce that we will have a robust virtual program—“WFB Prize Dinner Gala At Home.” Attendees will be invited to put on their tuxedos and ball gowns, grab a glass of champagne, and join us for a special virtual experience. The program, led by Master of Ceremonies Rich Lowry, will include reception “rooms” to engage with your favorite NR writers and other attendees. We hope you will join us to hear from our honorees, connect with the NR Nation, and support our mission!

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 has created the William F. Buckley Jr. Prizes for Leadership in Political Thought and Leadership in Supporting Liberty. Past awardees include the DeVos family, the late Harold Simmons, Mike Grebe, Bruce and Suzie Kovner, Karen Buchwald Wright (Supporting Liberty) as well as Charles Krauthammer, Victor Davis Hanson, The Hon. George Shultz, Tom Wolfe, and Edwin J. Feulner (Political Thought). Notable public intellectuals, philanthropists, and leaders in the conservative movement attend to show support for our honorees, Bill Buckley’s enduring legacy, and the National Review mission.

The Honorees: James L. Buckley & Virginia James


At the gala, the WFB Prize for Leadership in Political Thought will be awarded to The Honorable James L. Buckley. Fifty years ago this fall, Jim cast off a successful career as president of an oil exploration company to run for the U. S. Senate from New York. In a historic conservative victory, Jim became, as his brother anointed him, “the sainted junior senator from New York.” His victory is seen by many conservatives as a bridge from the Goldwater campaign of 1964 and Bill’s mayoral race in 1965 to the Reagan landslide of 1980. After his term in the Senate, Jim served as Under Secretary of State and as President of Radio Free Europe. In 1985, President Reagan nominated Jim to U. S. Court of Appeals for the D. C. Circuit, on which his distinguished service made him one of the few people in American history to have served in all three branches of the federal government. Through all of this, Jim was unable to make any enemies. As Bill famously wrote of his older brother, Jim was “a benign presence before whose phlegmatic charm razors are blunt and arrows detumesce.”

The WFB Prize for Leadership in Supporting Liberty, which recognizes conservative philanthropy, will be awarded to Virginia James in recognition of her longtime and generous support of NRI and NR magazine, in addition to her many philanthropic contributions to other worthy organizations that are part of the broader conservative movement. An investor from Lambertville, NJ, Virginia is a notable philanthropist and serves as president of the Hickory Foundation, which supports dozens of organizations dedicated to economic freedom, education, and the arts. She is a strong advocate for limited government and is co-founder and chairman of the Club for Growth, a leading free-enterprise advocacy group. Her philanthropy has enabled numerous organizations to succeed and grow, energizing and uplifting the movement that Bill Buckley did so much to lead.

While this pandemic has put a pause on so much, we are committed to safely and creatively holding our program this fall so that we can honor James L. Buckley and Virginia James and raise much needed funds for the Institute at a time when hard-hitting conservative journalism is much needed.

With challenge comes opportunity. With this new format, we have the opportunity to reach even more people from across the country and grow the NR Nation—the movement of people dedicated to Bill Buckley’s forward-looking, optimistic brand of conservatism.

We are in the process of forming our Host Committee of early sponsors who will be listed on the forthcoming invitation. Will you consider joining us?

Your sponsorship will go to supporting National Review Institute’s educational and outreach programs that advance the NR mission. This is our most critical fundraiser of the year. Please join us in support of our work, which is especially important during this time in our nation’s history.

Sponsors who pledge by August 15 will be recognized on forthcoming digital invitations and during the program via our virtual platform. Sponsors joining at home will be encouraged to “fill a table” by inviting guests (up to 10 participants in total) to their home. We will send wine or champagne to enjoy during the program.

Individual tickets will be available later this month—stay tuned for more information.

To join us, please fill out this sponsor registration form and email it to wfbprize@nrinstitute.org.


Rush Limbaugh
Gay Hart Gaines

Edwin J. Feulner
Karen Buchwald Wright

Tom Wolfe
Bruce and Suzie Kovner

The Hon. George P. Shultz
Michael W. Grebe

Victor Davis Hanson
The Late Harold Simmons

Charles Krauthammer
The DeVos Family