Ayn Rand Institute

Ayn Rand Institute (ARI)


The Ayn Rand Institute (ARI) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with EIN 22-2570926 headquartered in Irvine, California. According to ARI‘s website, “To advance Objectivism, ARI focuses on areas that have a long-term multiplying impact on the direction of our culture — notably, education and policy debates.” [1]

As part of its strategy, ARI implements education programs and distributes free Ayn Rand books to high schools and colleges across North America. The Ayn Rand Institute distributed 604,226 books between 2013 and 2015 alone. [2], [3]

Greenpeace offered the following description of the Ayn Rand Institute in their 2011 report titled “Koch Industries: Still Fuelling Climate Denial 2011 Update : [4]

Based in Irvine, California, the Ayn Rand Institute (ARI) is dedicated to laissez faire capitalism and the pursuit of self-interest as developed by Russian-American author Ayn Rand. ARI‘s writers have referred to a climate science report published by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) as “a lie,” and have cited the fabricated “Oregon Petition.” [5], [6]

ARI Senior Fellow Keith Lockitch, who spoke at the Heartland Institute’s 2009 International Conference on Climate Change, authored a paper denouncing the viability of clean energy and simultaneously denying the scientific consensus of climate change despite arguing that “development under capitalism has actually made us safer from climate-related risks than ever before in human history.” [7]

Acton’s media director, Jay W. Richards, states, “climate is changing all the time, the real question is if humans are causing it.” [8]

Richards also has ties to the Cato Institute and sits on the Board of Advisors for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT), one of the most vocal anti-environmental fronts for the petrochemical and biotechnology industries. Acton’s governing boards reveals other Koch connections through Dr. Alejandro A. Chafuen of the Atlas Economic Research Foundation and Michael Novak of the American Enterprise Institute, as well as affiliates of Amoco (BP) and Wolverine Gas and Oil. [9]

Stance on Climate Change

Amanda Maxham, Ayn Rand Institute’s resident expert on science and the environment, said the following at her presentation at the Heartland Institute’s 10th International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC10):

“Carbon dioxide is a weak driver of warming, and models that are used to back up the idea that we are headed to catastrophe are unreliable. They failed to predict anything in the last 30 years. […] There’s no reason to think that we’re headed to a catastrophe.” [10]

Keith Lockitch, the Ayn Rand Institute’s Fellow and Director of Advanced Training, wrote the following in a 2013 article titled “The Green Energy Fantasy”:

“[V]ulnerability to the climate has been a feature of human existence for all of human history; there have always been droughts and floods and hurricanes and heat waves—and there always will be, regardless of what happens to atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations. Moreover, the history of industrial development has been one of an ever-increasing ability to cope with natural disasters—an ever increasing resilience against them.

A broader perspective on climate vulnerability suggests that industrial development under capitalism is not merely one factor among others influencing susceptibility to climate-related risks. Rather, it is the dominant factor, reducing climate vulnerability to a degree that makes all other factors irrelevant.

But the life-saving value of industrial capitalism is profoundly unappreciated in today’s culture. This is not merely because people have forgotten or ignored its history, but because its opponents have actively sought to bury and distort that history.

Regardless of one’s views on global warming–and there is ample scientific evidence to reject the claim that manmade carbon emissions are causing catastrophe–the fact is that kneecapping the fossil fuel industry while diverting tax dollars into expensive, impractical forms of energy will not be an economic boon, but an economic disaster.” [11]

Lockitch wrote another article (PDF), this in the controversial Energy & Environment journal:

[…] Fundamentally, this is a debate about how society should be organized. The advocates of statism have made their position clear and are actively working to advance their cause. It is time for those who value freedom to do the same.” [12]


The following funding is based on information compiled by the Conservative Transparency project from publicly available 990 tax forms. Note that not all funding values have been verified by DeSmogBlog for accuracy. [13]

See the attached spreadsheet for additional information on Ayn Rand Institute funding by year (.xlsx).

Donors Capital Fund$541,000
The Rodney Fund$337,000
Howard Charitable Foundation$300,000
Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation$271,900
Michael and Andrea Leven Family Foundation$264,000
Claws Foundation$140,000
Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation$125,000
David and Janet Polak Foundation$89,000
Fairbrook Foundation$30,000
Robert P. Rotella Foundation$20,000
Charles Koch Institute$18,600
True Foundation$15,475
Deramus Foundation$10,000
The Vernon K. Krieble Foundation$5,500
Dorothy D. and Joseph A. Moller Foundation$5,000
The Davidow Charitable Fund$3,250
Armstrong Foundation$2,500
The Weiler Foundation$1,000
Grand Total$2,189,225

Koch Funding

Greenpeace reports that the Ayn Rand institute received at least $191,000 from Koch foundations between 2009 and 2015. [14]

The below table is based on funding data from Conservative Transparency and review of publicly available 990 forms by DeSmog:

YearCharles G. Koch Charitable FoundationClaude R. Lambe Charitable FoundationCharles Koch InstituteGrand Total
2009 $25,000 $25,000
2010 $25,000 $25,000
2011 $50,000 $50,000
2012 $25,000 $25,000
2014$42,600 $12,400$55,000
2015$4,800 $6,200$11,000
2016$174,500  $174,500
2018$50,000  $50,000
Grand Total$271,900$125,000$18,600$415,500

990 Forms

Key People

Board of Directors

As of October, 2015, the Ayn Rand Institute listed the following people on their Board of Directors: [15]

  • Arline Mann — Board Chair
  • Yaron Brook — Executive Director
  • Carl Barney
  • Harry Binswanger
  • Tim Blum
  • Arturo Gamboa
  • Peter Leport
  • Larry Salzman
  • Tara Smith

As of October, 2015, the Ayn Rand Institute listed the following “Experts” on their website: [16]

ARI Writers and Speakers

  • Yaron Brook —  Executive Director, Ayn Rand Institute
  • Onkar Ghate — Senior Fellow and Chief Content Officer, Ayn Rand Institute
  • Elan Journo —  Fellow and Director of Policy Research, Ayn Rand Institute
  • Keith Lockitch —  Fellow and Director of Advanced Training, Ayn Rand Institute
  • Steve Simpson —  Director of Legal Studies, Ayn Rand Institute
  • Don Watkins —  Fellow, Ayn Rand Institute
  • Rituparna Basu — Analyst, Ayn Rand Institute
  • Jeff Britting — Archives Curator, Ayn Rand Archives, Ayn Rand Institute
  • Amanda Maxham —  Research Associate, Ayn Rand Institute
  • Aaron Smith — Instructor, Ayn Rand Institute


  • Harry Binswanger — Member, Board of Directors, Ayn Rand Institute
  • Edwin Locke — Dean’s Professor (Emeritus) of Leadership and Motivation, R.H. Smith School of Business, University of Maryland
  • Robert Mayhew —  Professor of Philosophy, Seton Hall University
  • Peter Schwartz —  Distinguished Fellow, Ayn Rand Institute
  • Tara Smith — Professor of Philosophy, University of Texas at Austin

Past Board of Directors (2012)

As of May, 2012, the ARI listed the following directors on their website: [17]

  • Michael S. Berliner — Board Co-Chair.
  • Arline Mann — Board Co-Chair.
  • Yaron Brook — President and Executive Director.
  • John Allison
  • Carl Barney
  • Harry Binswanger
  • Peter LePort
  • Tara Smith

Past Staff & Fellows (as of 2012) [18]

  • Alex Epstein — Former Fellow. 
  • Onkar Ghate — Senior Fellow and Vice President of Intellectual Leadership. 
  • Elan Journo — Fellow and Director of Policy Research.
  • Keith Lockitch — Instructor and OAC Program Officer, Fellow.
  • Don Watkins — Fellow.


July 7 – 9, 2015

The Ayn Rand Institute (ARI) was an official co-sponsor of the Heartland Institute‘s Tenth International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC10) in Washington, DC. [19]

ARI’s Dr. Amanda Maxham appeared on panel 10 with State Senator Carlyle Begay and Alan Moran to discuss climate policy in a talk titled “Policy for people, not the planet.” Video below. [20]

On July 7, 2015, ARI> fellow and director of advanced training, Dr. Keith Lockitch, also spoke at Objectivist Summer Conference 2015 “on the ideological nature of the climate policy debate and its implications.” [20>]

July 3, 2015

The Ayn Rand Institute’s Amanda Mazham spoke in the Heartland Institute podcast on how “She believes that climate change alarmism is not about science but rather about the moral view that humans are wrong to have an impact on nature — even if that impact improves human lives. Fossil fuel, she argues, are the great benefactor of human civilization, rather then being the bane of human existence. [21]

May, 2015

Amanda Maxham, Ayn Rand Institute’s resident expert on science and the environment, presented a lecture in Chicago on “Why GMOs Are Good” — Sponsored by the Institute for Humane Studies (IHS). [22]

July 7–9, 2014

The Ayn Rand Institute was a co-sponsor of the Heartland Institute‘s Ninth International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC9) in Las Vegas, Nevada. [23]

May 21–23, 2012

The Ayn Rand Institute (ARI) is listed as a co-sponsor (PDF) of the Heartland Institute‘s Seventh International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC7). [24]


Greenpeace reported that Alex Epstein of the Ayn Rand Institute’s Center for Individual Rights regularly publishes opinion pieces in outlets like Fox News, the American Thinker and the Daily Caller “promoting fossil fuel use and attacking environmental safeguards.” Examples included the following: [14]

June 30–July 1, 2011

The Ayn Rand Institute (ARI) was a co-sponsor (PDF) of the Heartland Institute’s Sixth International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC6) in Washington, DC. [25]

DeSmogblog researched sponsors behind the conference and found that that 17 of the 43 sponsors of the Heartland Institute’s Sixth International Conference on Climate Change, including the Heartland Institute itself, had collectively received over $46 million from either Scaife Foundations, Koch Foundations, or ExxonMobil. [26]

May 16–18, 2010

The Ayn Rand Institute was a co-sponsor (PDF) of the Heartland Institute’s Fourth International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC4). [27] 

DeSmogBlog concluded 19 of the 65 sponsors (including Heartland itself) had received a total of over $40 million in funding since 1985 from ExxonMobil (who funded 13 of the organizations), and/or Koch Family Foundations (funded 10 organizations) and/or the Scaife Foundations (funded 10 organizations). [28]

June 2, 2009

The Ayn Rand Institute (ARI) was a co-sponsor of the Heartland Institute‘s Third International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC3) in Washington, DC[29]

March 8–10, 2009

The Ayn Rand Institute (ARI) was a co-sponsor (PDF) of the Heartland Institute‘s 2009 International Conference on Climate Change. [30]

DeSmogBlog researched the funding behind Heartland’s Second International Conference on Climate Change and found that sponsor organizations had received over $47 million in funding from energy companies and right-wing foundations, with 78% of that total coming from Scaife Family foundations. [31]

December 30, 2004

The Ayn Rand Institute sent out a press release and Op-Ed stating that the “U.S. Should Not Help Tsunami Victims” days after the South Asian tsunami which killed over 230,000 people in fourteen countries. [32]

The Boston Globe wrote, “That’s certainly one way to keep alive the spirit of the author of ‘The Fountainhead’ and ‘Atlas Shrugged,’ for whom altruism was a dirty word and the productive, heroic pursuit of one’s own happiness the highest ideal. After widespread ridicule, the Institute removed the statement from its website, offering the clarification that it was opposed to all government-sponsored charitable giving (since the money isn’t the government’s to give), and that singling out this instance, just now, was ‘inappropriate’.” [33]

Ayn Rand Institute Contact & Location

As of June 2016, The Ayn Rand Institute (ARI) listed the following contact information on its website: [34]

The Ayn Rand Institute
2121 Alton Parkway, Suite 250
Irvine, CA 92606
[email protected]
Ph: 949-222-6550
Fax: 949-222-6558

Social Media


  1. About the Ayn Rand Institute,” Ayn Rand Institute. Archived October 12, 2015. WebCite URLhttp://www.webcitation.org/6cEZhQ4Uy
  2. “Teacher Interest in Ayn Rand Novels Increases,” Ayn Rand Institute. Archived October 12, 2015. WebCite URLhttp://www.webcitation.org/6cEa2L5DY
  3. For Educators,” Ayn Rand Institute. Archived October 12, 2015. WebCite URLhttp://www.webcitation.org/6cEaBm5k1
  4. Koch Industries: Still Fuelling Climate Denial 2011 Update“ (PDF), Greenpeace, April, 2011. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmogBlog.
  5. Tracinski, Robert, “Global Warming Fraud,” Ayn Rand Institute, June 21, 2009. Archived February 8, 2012.
  6. Ghate, Onkar, “Global Warming – Just the Facts, Ma’am,” Ayn Rand Institute. Archived February 8, 2012.
  7. Speakers,” Heartland Institute, March 5, 2009. Archived June 10, 2011.
  8. Richards, Jay W., “An Earth Day Review of Global Warming,” Acton Media/Acton Institute. Accessed October 12, 2015.
  9. Money, Greed, and God: Why Capitalism Is the Solution and Not the Problem,” Cato Institute, November 4, 2009. Archived October 12, 2015. WebCite URLhttp://www.webcitation.org/6cEbZgcMP
  10. (Youtube Video) “Amanda Maxham, ICCC10 (Panel 10: Climate Policy Impacts).” Uploaded by user “HeartlandTube”, July 2, 2015. 
  11. Keith Lockitch. “The Green Energy Fantasy,” Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights. Archived October 12, 2015. WebCite URLhttp://www.webcitation.org/6cEby60DX
  12. Keith H. Lockitch. “CLIMATE VULNERABILITY AND THE INDISPENSABLE VALUE OF INDUSTRIAL CAPITALISM,” (PDF)Energy & Environment, Volume 20, No. 5 (2009). Archived January 24, 2015. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmogBlog. 
  13. Ayn Rand Institute,” Conservative Transparency. Accessed October 12, 2015.
  14. Ayn Rand Institute (ARI): Koch Industries Climate Denial Front Group,” Greenpeace USA. Archived March 14, 2017. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/qNGxw
  15. “Board and Staff,” Ayn Rand Institute. Accessed October 12, 2015. WebCite URLhttp://www.webcitation.org/6cEjDhxAN
  16. Experts,” Ayn Rand Institute. Archived October 12, 2015. WebCite URLhttp://www.webcitation.org/6cEgIslEX
  17. Board of Directors,” Ayn Rand Institute. Archived May 5, 2012.
  18. ARI Staff,” Ayn Rand Institute. Archived May 5, 2012.
  19. Sponsors,” ICCC10. Archived July 15, 2015.
  20. Amanda Maxham at the Tenth International Conference on Climate Change,” Voices for Reason, June 12, 2015. Archived October 13, 2015. WebCite URLhttp://www.webcitation.org/6cEmpLimI
  21. H. Sterling Burnett. “Heartland Daily Podcast – Amanda Maxham: Defeating Alarmism and Helping People Flourish,” Somewhat Reasonable (Heartland Institute Blog), July 3, 2015. Archived October 12, 2015. WebCite URLhttp://www.webcitation.org/6cEnVR7LP
  22. Matthew Glans. “GMOs Are Good, Scientist Says,” The Heartland Institute, May 26, 2015. Archived October 12, 2015. WebCite URLhttp://www.webcitation.org/6cEo31EX2
  23. ICCC9 CoSponsors,” International Conferences on Climate Change (The Heartland Institute). Archived July 27, 2015.
  24. Seventh International Conference on Climate Change: Sponsored by the Heartland Institute” (PDF), the Heartland Institute. Archived August 15, 2015.
  25. Sixth International Conference on Climate Change Conference Program (PDF), the Heartland Institute. Archived July 25, 2015.
  26. Brendan DeMelle. “Denial-a-Palooza 6: Heartland’s Sixth International Conference on Climate Change, Courtesy of Koch, Scaife & Exxon,” DeSmogBlog, June 30, 2011.
  27. 4th International Conference on Climate Change Conference Program (PDF), The Heartland Institute.
  28. Brendan DeMelle. “Denial-a-palooza Round 4: ‘International Conference on Climate Change’ Groups Funded by Exxon, Koch Industries,” DeSmogBlog, May 13, 2010.
  29. Co-Sponsors,” Third International Conference on Climate Change. Archived July 14, 2010.
  30. “International Conference on Climate Change Sponsored by the Heartland Institute” (Conference Program – PDF), The Heartland Institute. Archived March 7, 2010.
  31. Heartland Institute’s 2009 Climate Conference in New York: funding history of the sponsors,” DeSmogBlog.
  32. David Holberg. “U.S. Should Not Help Tsunami Victims,” Ayn Rand Institute, December 30, 2004. Archived January 2, 2005. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmogBlog.
  33. Christopher Shea. “Ayn Rand’s campus radicals,” The Boston Globe, February 13, 2005.
  34. CONTACT US,” Ayn Rand Institute. Archived June 29, 2016. WebCite URLhttp://www.webcitation.org/6icG9YkWS

Other Resources

  1. Ayn Rand Institute,” SourceWatch.
  2. Ayn Rand Institute,” Wikipedia.

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