Founder, The Heritage Foundation
Edwin J. Feulner is the founder and former president of The Heritage Foundation. After serving as president from 1977 to 2013, Feulner served as president again for a brief period in 2017.
Feulner’s leadership as president of The Heritage Foundation transformed the think tank from a small policy shop into America’s powerhouse of conservative ideas and what the New York Times calls “the Parthenon of the conservative metropolis.”
Feulner first joined The Heritage Foundation as a founding Trustee in 1973. He later became President in 1977, Heritage’s fourth in four years. After accepting the job, Feulner was determined to chart a new course for the struggling think tank. He did not want to lead a group of academics that would write studies, place them on a shelf and hope someone important would read them. Instead, Feulner decided that Heritage would operate like a business that expected progress from its analysts and results from their policy studies. Heritage would achieve these results by creating timely, concise studies and aggressively marketing them to Congress, policymakers, and the media. This “briefcase test” concept became a model for other think tanks to follow.
Feulner formerly served as a member of the Gingrich-Mitchell Congressional U.N. Reform Task Force (2005) and on the Congressional Commission on International Financial Institutions (“Meltzer Commission”) from 1999-2000. He was the Vice-Chairman of the National Commission on Economic Growth and Tax Reform (“Kemp Commission”) from 1995-1996. As Chairman of the US Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy (1982-91), he was confirmed by the US Senate on three occasions.
He served as the Public Member (Ambassador) of the US Delegation to the United Nations Second Special Session on Disarmament in New York, as a consultant for domestic policy to President Reagan, and as an adviser to several government departments and agencies.
He graduated from Regis University with double majors in English and business, and received an MBA from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business in 1964. He later attended Georgetown University and the London School of Economics, and then earned a doctorate degree at the University of Edinburgh in 1981.
Feulner is the author of nine books: The American Spirit (2012), Getting America Right (2006), Leadership for America (2000), Intellectual Pilgrims (1999), The March of Freedom (1998), Conservatives Stalk the House (1983), Looking Back (1981), Congress and the New International Economic Order(1976), and Trading with the Communists (1968).
Edwin Feulner joined Spirit of America’s Advisory Board in 2020.