Institute for Humane Studies

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The Institute for Humane Studies (IHS) at George Mason University acts as a libertarian talent scout, identifying, developing, and supporting the brightest young libertarians it can find who are intent on a leveraged scholarly, or intellectual, career path. Each year IHS awards over $400,000 in scholarships to students from universities around the world.

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The Institute receives funding from a number of large libertarian and right-wing foundations, including the Sarah Scaife Foundation, the Koch Family Foundations, Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, the Walton Family Foundation and the Carthage Foundation.[1]


It was started in 1961 by F. A. Harper as a successor to his projects for the William Volker Fund from which he was sacked. The IHS inherited Volker's staff, approach, and the strategy of its directors, Loren Miller and Herb Cornuelle. Other founding members (who had also been associated with the Volker Fund) included Leonard P. Liggio, George Reach, Kenneth S. Templeton, Jr., and Dr. Neil McLeod; and among the earliest business supporters of the IHS were R. C. Hoiles, J. Howard Pew, Howard Buffet, William L. Law, and Pierre Goodrich.

In 1985 the IHS moved to Fairfax, Virginia, and associated with George Mason University. In 1995 IHS was in the same building near George Mason University at "4084 University Drive" in Fairfax as Atlas Economic Research Foundation, The Locke Institute, the Center for Market Processes and Science and Environmental Policy Project. [2]


In 2004, IHS launched -- a student oriented website that advocates "pragmatic approaches to solving environmental problems." The site promotes "alternative environmental approaches, including locally based 'eco-innovation,' outcome-based regulations, quasi-market pricing strategies, corporate and individual stewardship, property rights enforcement as a means of protecting the environment from polluters, and the cultivation of environmental aesthetics." Traditional environmentalists are criticized for being anti-capitalist and for pushing regulations that don't work.[3], a project of the IHS, is a website which quizzes the user on their political values and applies it to their model.


Previous presidents include David Nott of the Reason Foundation

Board includes

Staff includes

Contact Information

Institute for Humane Studies
at George Mason University
3301 N. Fairfax Drive, Suite 440
Arlington VA 22201
tel: 703.993.4880 / 800.697.8799
fax: 703.993.4890
web site:

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