Ayn Rand Institute



Santa Ana, CA

Tax ID:


Tax-Exempt Status:


Budget (2017):

Revenue: $9,211,323
Expenses: $9,513,258
Assets: $5,649,848




Educational Organization


Leonard Peikoff

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Ayn Rand Institute is a right-of-center educational organization dedicated to spreading Objectivism, the ideas and philosophy of Russian-born author Ayn Rand.


Rand’s philosophical system, Objectivism, advocates for “selfishness” (which she defined as the pursuit of personal happiness above all else) and specifically states that “altruism is evil.” Instead, Rand believed the individual should aspire to excellence and achievement out of a sense of personal accomplishment, and because holding to one’s own principles and ideas is in congruity with the nature of a rational creature and leads to happiness. 1

Rand said in an interview with Mike Wallace that her philosophy was entirely self-constructed, with the exception of the influence of Aristotle. She also stated that man should not “wish to sacrifice himself for others” and said that it was “immoral” and “impossible” to love another person above oneself. 2

Although Objectivism is generally considered a form of libertarian conservatism, the philosophy itself gives rise to a series of ideas that can be interpreted as left- or right-of-center, depending upon the context. For example, Rand was staunchly in favor of free-market capitalism, or as Rand put it: “uncontrolled, unregulated, laissez-faire capitalism.”  She also opposed lobbying, and considered welfare to be “fascism.” 3

Rand publicly stated during a Ford Hall Forum in1971 that she considered same-sex relationships “immoral” and “disgusting,” but that the government had no right to interfere between two consenting adults. 4

Rand was strongly in favor of free access to abortion. In her essay “Of Living Death” Rand said, “An embryo has no rights.” In the same essay, which is a commentary on two papal encyclicals by Pope Paul VI, Rand wrote that “abortion is a moral right.” 5


Leonard Peikoff, longtime Rand disciple and heir to her fortune, founded Ayn Rand Institute in 1985. He is a former college professor, the author of numerous books, and formerly hosted the Peikoff Podcast, which discussed contemporary ideas in Objectivism. 6

Yaron Brook, board chair, is a former finance professor at Santa Clara University and columnist for Forbes. In 1998 he founded the private equity/hedge fund management group BH Equity and is a board member of the Clemson Institute for the Study of Capitalism. He is also host of the “Yaron Brook Show” which appears on Youtube. 7


The Ayn Rand Institute runs the Objectivist Academic Center, which offers a three-year series of graded, unaccredited college-level courses in Objectivism. The two- to three-hour interactive courses are conducted online weekly by video conference. Tuition is just over $4,200 a year, with OAC offering scholarships for students who are unable to afford tuition. Ayn Rand Institute also hosts a series of Objectivist Summer Conferences, and offers internships at its California headquarters. 8

Ayn Rand Institute offers free lesson plans and syllabi to educators interested in conducting courses on her novels. It also provides free classroom sets of her novels for teachers willing to teach Rand’s ideas, library copies, and individual copies for educators to review if they are unfamiliar with her works.  Ayn Rand Institute also hosts an annual international essay contest for high school students, awarding over $130,000 in prize money. The college-level essay contest for her novel “Atlas Shrugged” carries a first prize of $20,000. 9

Ayn Rand Institute Global is the international arm of the organization, providing online access to Rand’s writings and ideas in eleven languages including Norwegian, Bulgarian, and Russian. 10

In April 2018, Ayn Rand Institute began an online periodical called New Ideal, through which it publishes essays and podcasts about Objectivism in relation to current affairs. 11


On October 23, 2020, the New York Times published an article by contributor Paul Krugman entitled “How Many Americans Will Ayn Rand Kill?” blaming Rand’s individualistic philosophy for Americans refusal to follow mask mandates and social distancing in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic. After backlash from readers, the title was changed to “When Libertarianism Goes Bad,” and Ayn Rand Institute senior writer Onkhar Ghate wrote a rebuttal three days later, also published in The New York Times. 12

In it, Ghate references a white paper written for Ayn Rand Institute and published in New Ideal entitled “A Pro-Freedom Approach to Infectious Disease.” The essay criticizes state-wide lockdowns and recommends isolating individuals who tested positive for COVID-19, as well as unfavorably comparing U.S. governmental response to the response of South Korea and Taiwan. 13

On May 15, 2020, Ghate co-wrote an article for New Ideal defending Ayn Rand Institute’s acceptance of government relief funds under the CARES act in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. This action raised some eyebrows as Ayn Rand was known to be firmly opposed to government handouts (“welfare-statism”) with the Washington Post and Reuters both drawing attention to the apparent contradiction. Gate stated that accepting government funds was consistent with “justice” since the government-ordered lockdowns had caused financial harm. 14


  1.   Ayn Rand Institute. “Ideas.” Ayn Rand Institute Website. Undated. Accessed February 8, 2021.
  2. Blank on Blank. “Ayn Rand on Love and Happiness.” Youtube. June 9, 2015. Accessed February 8, 2021.
  3. Ayn Rand Institute. “Lexicon.” Ayn Rand Institute Website. Undated. Accessed February 8, 2021.
  4. Ayn Rand Institute. “The Moratorium on Brains.” Youtube. May 1, 2020. Accessed February 8, 2021.
  5. Rand, Ayn. “Of Living Death.” Ayn Rand Institute Website. Undated. Accessed February 8, 2021.
  6. Ayn Rand Institute. “Leonard Peikoff.” Ayn Rand Institute Website. Undated. Accessed February 8, 2021.
  7. Ayn Rand Institute. “Yaron Brook.” Ayn Rand Institute Website. Undated. Accessed February 8, 2021.
  8. Ayn Rand Institute. “Objectivist Academic Center.” Ayn Rand Institute Website. Undated. Accessed February 8, 2021. 
  9. Ayn Rand Institute. “For Educators.” Ayn Rand Institute Website. Undated. Accessed February 8, 2021.
  10.   Ayn Rand Institute. “Ayn Rand Institute Global.” Ayn Rand Institute Website. Undated. Accessed February 8, 2021.
  11. Ayn Rand Institute. “Introducing New Ideal, A new Online Publication From ARI.” Ayn Rand Institute Website. April 27, 2018. Accessed February 8, 2021.
  12. Krugman, Paul. “When Libertarianism Goes Bad.” The New York Times. October 22, 2020. Accessed February 8, 2021.
  13. Ghate, Onkhar. “A Pro-Freedom Approach to Infectious Disease.” New Ideal. June 20, 2020. Accessed Febrary 8, 2021.,_IF_GOVERNMENT_HAD_NOT_POSSESSED_THE_POWER_OF_STATEWIDE_LOCKDOWNS,_THE_RESPONSE_TO_THE_UNCONTAINED_SPREAD_OF_SARSCoV2_WOULD_HAVE_BEEN_FAR_BETTER
  14. Binswanger, Harry, Ghate, Onkhar. “To Take or Not to Take.” New Ideal. May 15, 2020. Accessed February 8, 2021.
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: September - August
  • Tax Exemption Received: May 1, 1987

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2017 Sep Form 990 $9,211,323 $9,513,258 $5,649,848 $4,921,284 Y $8,802,541 $364,219 $3,698 $1,526,347 PDF
    2016 Sep Form 990 $7,863,267 $8,900,086 $5,953,152 $4,945,383 Y $7,479,610 $359,101 $4,032 $1,278,490 PDF
    2015 Sep Form 990 $10,895,393 $10,615,858 $6,847,753 $4,814,005 Y $10,542,907 $317,435 $3 $1,358,808 PDF
    2014 Sep Form 990 $10,310,603 $10,711,413 $7,451,781 $5,564,941 N $9,965,635 $325,111 $94 $1,608,839 PDF
    2013 Sep Form 990 $10,429,821 $10,588,553 $7,783,196 $5,388,908 N $9,955,220 $423,689 $20,341 $1,348,365 PDF
    2012 Sep Form 990 $8,067,843 $9,962,302 $7,777,069 $5,226,940 N $7,360,267 $686,709 $1,204 $1,379,732 PDF
    2011 Sep Form 990 $8,519,542 $8,561,224 $7,862,730 $3,730,714 N $7,904,432 $613,940 $5 $1,596,905 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Ayn Rand Institute

    Santa Ana, CA 92707-5780