POLITICS: PennAve

Heritage receives $26 million to fund foreign policy studies

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Heritage Foundation,Washington,PennAve,Tim Mak

The Heritage Foundation has received the largest donation in its history — $26 million from the family of two long-time donors.

The gift from the family of Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis represents more than a third of the conservative think tank's annual budget. The donation will be dedicated to "scholarship on foreign and defense policy issues and the ability to influence current debates," said John Von Kannon, Heritage vice president and senior counsel.

The donation would nearly quadruple Heritage's current spending on foreign policy studies, which hit $6.9 million this year.

The money will not be directly added to the budget, but rather invested for an annual payout.

This gift was pledged by the Davis family in the 1990s, according to Heritage VP for Foreign and Defense Studies James Carafano, what he characterized as a time of relative disinterest in foreign policy.

The Davis family's "commitment was very much the opposite: You can't take America's place in the world for granted," Carafano told the Washington Examiner. "Heritage built this foreign policy team, supported and nourished it for years. ... What this donation does is honor Heritage's commitment to the last couple of decades."

The donation comes amid speculation over how the Heritage Foundation might change under the leadership of former Sen. Jim DeMint, who is considered to be more libertarian-leaning than hawkish. DeMint became president of the organization in April.

Carafano dismisses such concerns, saying that DeMint "fits into this place like a glove" on the issues of foreign policy and national security.

"He is a model of the national security leader that we really need," Carafano added.

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