National Review Institute

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The National Review Institute (NRI) is a politically conservative non-profit organization founded by William F. Buckley Jr. in 1991. NRI, based in New York City,1 is dedicated to advancing the conservative principles Buckley championed and complementing the mission of National Review, the right-leaning news and commentary publication he founded. 2

On August 1, 2015, NRI became the parent company of the National Review magazine and website (corporately National Review, Inc.).  Coinciding with the reorganization, National Review, Inc. officially became a non-profit entity. 3 In announcing the change, National Review editor-in-chief Rich Lowry stated4:

“[This recognizes] what has always been the case: We’re a mission and a cause, not a profit-making business. The advantage of the move is that all the generous people who give us their support every year will now be able to give tax-deductible contributions, and that we will be able to do more fundraising, in keeping with our goal to keep growing in the years ahead.”


NRI’s programming each year includes a national Ideas Summit, regional partnership events around the country, and various events on college campuses as part of its “NRI on Campus” effort. 5

NRI also awards its annual William F. Buckley Jr. Prize for Leadership in Supporting Liberty to a conservative philanthropist and The William F. Buckley Jr. Prize for Leadership in Political Thought to a conservative thought leader. In 2020, the awards were given, respectively, to NRI donor Virginia James and retired federal judge and former U.S. Senator James L. Buckley, the brother of NRI’s founder. 6


NRI received approximately $5.7 million in contributions and grants in fiscal year 2018. Its net assets were valued at approximately $11.4 million. 7

Prominent donors to NRI include the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, which donated $250,000 in 2020,8 and the Charles G. Koch Foundation. 9

NRI also offers paid membership options to the public. The annual cost of membership ranges from $250 for a general membership to between $2,500 and $9,999 for a full membership. 10 It is also supported by print and digital subscriptions to National Review. In 2021, National Review reported a print circulation of 75,000 and 10 million total monthly website visitors. 11

NRI spent $2.5 million on salaries and employee benefits in FY 2018, including $381,000 in compensation paid to NRI president Lindsay Craig. 12 NRI also pays writers for National Review as “fellows” of NRI, including as of 2018 Jonah Goldberg, Ramesh Ponnuru, David French, Jay Nordlinger, and Kathryn Lopez, who each earned an average compensation of approximately $140,000 from NRI that year. 13

Current Leadership

Lindsay Craig has served as the president of NRI since 2013. Prior to joining NRI, Craig served as vice president of communications and marketing at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, another right-leaning domestic-policy think tank. 14

Peter J. Travers, a regular contributor to National Review, is chairman of NRI’s board of trustees. NRI’s board of trustees includes prominent conservative donors, activists, and scholars, including Richard Lowry, the editor in chief of National Review, and Dick DeVos, the son of Amway co-founder Richard DeVos and husband of former U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. 15

Other NRI board members as of 2021 include Robert F. Agostinelli, investment advisor and business commentator David L. Bahnsen, John Buser, Daniel J. Mahoney, Adam Meyerson, Brian Murdock, Valerie Schooley, California entrepreneur Richard Spencer,16 L. Stanton Towne, and Karen Buchwald Wright. 17


National Review Institute is an associate member of the conservative State Policy Network (SPN), a coalition of right-of-center organizations across the United States. 18 NRI and SPN share at least one board member, Adam Meyerson. 19


NRI and National Review are critical of the policies and political style of former President Donald J. Trump. National Review magazine urged its readers not to vote for Trump in the 2016 election, and NR writers did so in their individual capacities in the 2020 elections. 2021

The chairman of NRI’s board of trustees, Peter J. Travers, is a prominent right-leaning critic of President Trump. 22


  1. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax. National Review Institute. 2018.
  2. “Join us to preserve and promote WFB’s legacy.” Accessed January 28, 2021.
  3. “About NRI.” Accessed January 28, 2021.
  4. Byers, Dylan. “National Review goes nonprofit.” Politico. March 31, 2015. Accessed January 28, 2021.
  5. “Events.” Accessed January 28, 2021.
  6. “The Seventh Annual William F. Buckley Jr. Prize Dinner.” October 5, 2020. Accessed January 28, 2021.
  7. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax. National Review Institute. 2018.
  8. The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation. “Recent Grants: The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation: Milwaukee, Wisconsin.” The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation | Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Accessed February 17, 2021.
  9. Charles Koch Foundation, Return of a Private Foundation (Form 990-PF), 2016, Part XV Line 3  
  10. “Join us to preserve and promote WFB’s legacy.” Accessed January 28, 2021.
  11. “2021 National Review Media Kit.” PDF. Accessed February 1, 2021.
  12. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax. National Review Institute. 2018.
  13. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax. National Review Institute. 2018. Page 29.
  14. “Our Team: Lindsay Craig.” Accessed January 28, 2021.
  15. “Board of Trustees.” Accessed February 1, 2021.
  16. Nordlinger, Jay. “An Entrepreneurial Life.” National Review. National Review, March 25, 2013.
  17. “Board of Trustees.” Accessed February 1, 2021.
  18. “The Network.” State Policy Network. Accessed January 28, 2021.
  19. “Adam Meyerson joins National Review Institute Board of Trustees.” July 14, 2020. Accessed January 28, 2021.
  20. Lowry, Rich. “Inside National Review’s ‘Against Trump’ Issue.” Politico Magazine. January 23, 2016. Accessed January 28, 2021.
  21. Williamson, Kevin. “Hell, No.” National Review. October 27, 2020. Accessed January 28, 2021.
  22. Peter J. Travers on Twitter. Tweet from January 7, 2021. Accessed February 1, 2021.
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