A Letter from the Board Chairman

Dear friends,

I am eager to write to you as our year draws to an end.  2016 was a particularly tumultuous election year, and it is easy to lose sight of essential things like building communities and renewing society in the midst of election distractions.  

One reality, however, has been put in sharp relief: The work of the John Jay Institute to train up young leaders is needed now more than ever, and we need your support as we move forward.

This year and, particularly, this election, have reinforced my commitment to the John Jay Institute, and to Alan Crippen’s founding vision that “The best ideas in the world won’t solve any of the problems that face our culture, unless the people working to make them a reality are marked by game-changing creativity, the wisdom of generations, and strong depth of character.” Alan always said that the John Jay Institute is first and foremost about people, and that is exactly why I am excited to serve as interim executive director to continue that original vision as we welcome new classes of students and begin our search for a new leader in 2017.

Our next class features eight bright new students whom you’ll meet on our website shortly. They will arrive in January of 2017, and we will be spending our weeks together in beautiful Fairview Manor at Cairn University in Langhorne Manor, Pennsylvania, just north of Philadelphia.

As Chairman of the Institute Board, I’ve had the opportunity to watch as years of students come through our doors, immerse themselves in a rich learning experience, and leave to take up leadership roles throughout society.  These young men and women present exactly the kind of leadership our country so desperately needs, and it will be my pleasure to work intimately with the Institute over the next year to help this program continue to produce the bountiful harvest it has for more than a decade. 

For the past several decades, we’ve watched the conservative movement in our country work to provide leadership in government and have an impact on culture.  Too frequently, the results are underwhelming.  Many of our leaders lack character or depth of knowledge, and many of our institutions do not possess the level of thoughtful coordination needed to truly engage and renew society. 

We at the John Jay Institute seek to fill this void by producing a network of informed, thoughtful, and committed men and women of godly character and empowering them to work lasting transformative change in our culture.  Our network so far is over 600 strong with more added to our number every year!

We need your help in this work.  Please consider joining us with a year-end donation to support our next classes of young leaders in 2017.  


Our Year in Review

You can also partner with us on an ongoing basis as we work together to produce more young leaders like alumnus Eric Roe (‘14), who was just elected as a State Representative in Pennsylvania, or David Eastman (‘10) who received the same honor in Alaska.

Laura Waters Hinson (‘03) is a documentarian who previously won an Oscar for best student film for her portrayal of the healing work of forgiveness in the lives of Rwandans.  This year she released her latest work, Many Beautiful Things - a major film documentary on the life of artist and missionary Lilias Trotter.

Very few had as busy a 2016 as Lara Barger (‘11) who spent the year hard at work on the Republican National Committee’s social media team, seeking to tell the conservative story in our digital age.  Of her time with John Jay, Lara says, “I really admire the work that…the John Jay Institute [has] done to cultivate leaders across all facets of society.  The more of a spread of people through different fields you have, the greater the impact will be.  I am honored to be a part of that, to be able to use my skills, education, and passion to help influence the next generation of conservatives in America.  It’s incredibly exciting.”

True leadership can be found in banking also - Jeff Hassler (‘03) works as a Personal Trust Specialist and Vice President of BB&T Wealth in Richmond, VA.  He views his job as instrumental in “helping families steward their resources and business owners provide goods and services in ways that serve and bless Richmond… and the world.”  Jeff explains, “Like all blessings from God, material wealth is neither an end unto itself nor only a gift for our enjoyment, but is primarily a resource for the recipient to steward for God’s glory.”

Major Pete Hegseth (’01), contributor to FOX News and National Review and former CEO of Concerned Veterans for America, has recently released a new book titled In the Arena, which draws from Teddy Roosevelt’s “Man in the Arena” speech to present a path forward for foreign policy.

David Warren (‘97) is working to reinvigorate the narrative of cultural transformation in the world of software and business technology, patterning his work in technological innovation after God, The Great Innovator.  David said that his time with us “gave me a grounding in the permanent things needed for a country like ours to live successfully together.”

Chaney Mullins (‘14) works with the crisis pregnancy nonprofit Divine Mercy Care.  Her special focus has been an ongoing project to connect the organization's supporters with the stories of the young women they help, bringing a real human connection into what is too often a distant functional process.

Ben Shelton (‘12) is working with American Philanthropic to reintroduce the relationship into the giving process throughout the nonprofit space.

Acclaimed orchestral and film score composer Joel Clarkson (‘15) recently released a new album, Honest Songs.  Joel has previously worked with Joseph Julian Gonzalez to add new collaborations to orchestral oratorio masterpiece Misa Azteca, which has been previously performed in music halls all over the world, including at Carnegie Hall, Sydney Opera House, and the Sorbonne.

Saratoga alumnus 1LT Patrick Brehany (‘13), US Army, manages the training, discipline and welfare of 22 Soldiers as well as the equipment necessary to execute their plans.  He recently honored the John Jay Institute by having an American flag flown on Veteran’s Day at his duty station in Afghanistan.  This flag will be gifted to the Institute as a reminder of the strategic opportunity we have to directly impact the lives of junior officers serving in the United States Armed Forces.

This is a very small sampling of the kinds of work our network of more than 600 young leaders is doing across this nation, and I am proud and excited to join in the work of the John Jay Institute to help train more leaders like these exciting alumni.  

I couldn’t agree more with Senator Ben Sasse’s recent comment:  “Organizations like the John Jay Institute offer an invaluable service—cultivate young people’s understanding of our exceptional history and foster the ethics, character, and friendships that make gutsy leadership possible.”

We need your help to ensure the John Jay Institute continues to do this excellent work for years to come.  Would you please partner with us through an end-of-year donation to help us prepare for 2017 and beyond?

As we’ve seen in this recent election, we need true conservative leadership:  thoughtful people of godly character coming together with a shared vision.  This Advent season should serve us as a particularly strong reminder that God does not require the power of corrupt leaders, and we do not need to compromise in our endeavors to train up men and women of character, integrity, and wisdom.  Please join us in our work.

May you have a very Merry Christmas and may God bless you in the year to come.



Todd Williams
Interim Executive Director and Chairman of the Board of Governors
The John Jay Institute

P.S.  Please consider partnering with us through a year-end tax-deductible donation to help us as we commission new classes in 2017 and beyond! We are excited about the new minds arriving in 2017, but we need your help