The Jack Kemp Foundation is an operating foundation devoted to preserving the memory of Jack Kemp, a professional football quarterback; a long-time U.S. Representative from Buffalo, New York; Secretary of Housing and Urban Development in the George H.W. Bush administration; and the Republican vice-presidential nominee in 1996. The foundation commissioned a biography of Kemp, conducted oral histories with many people who remembered Kemp, supported a documentary about Kemp, and holds conferences where panelists debate Kemp’s public policy ideas.
Jack Kemp was a quarterback for the San Diego Chargers and the Buffalo Bills in the American Football League between 1960-70. At the conclusion of his football playing career, he entered politics. In 1970, he was elected to congress as a Republican representing Buffalo and its suburbs, where he served nine terms. Kemp was Secretary of Housing and Urban Development in the George W. Bush Administration. In 1996, he ran as vice-presidential running mate to U.S. Senator Bob Dole (R-KS), losing to Bill Clinton. 1
When the Jack Kemp Foundation began operations in 2009, Kemp’s son and the foundation’s president, James Kemp, said one of the foundation’s goals was to make Kemp’s ideas easily accessible so “political leaders and political followers can see the ways he addressed so many issues he faced as a politician.” 2
The foundation helped place Kemp’s papers in the Library of Congress and supported the research of political commentator Morton Kondracke to write an authorized biography of Jack Kemp. Kondracke’s book, Jack Kemp: The Bleeding-Heart Conservative Who Changed America, written in collaboration with Fred Barnes, was published in 2015. Kondracke told the Occidental College alumni magazine that Kemp “was relentless. You might be 20 points behind, but if you still think you can win, then you can.” 3
Kondracke and his associate Brien Williams, using a grant from the Conrad Hilton Foundation, conducted over 100 interviews with people who knew Kemp, including former Secretary of State James H. Baker, former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole (R-KS), and former Vice President Dick Cheney, are available on the Kemp Foundation website. 4
In 2020, the foundation produced The Jack Kemp Playbook, a documentary that was streamed on Fox Nation. The documentary was co-produced by Grace Creek Media and Capital Research Center’s Dangerous Documentaries film-production division. 5
The Jack Kemp Foundation regularly holds symposia featuring prominent politicians discussing Kemp’s ideas. The foundation presented then-U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), the Republican vice-presidential candidate in 2012 and a former staffer for Kemp, 6 with its Kemp Leadership Award and in 2012 held several events featuring Ryan and other prominent Republicans. James Kemp told the New York Times that his father “definitely treated him (Ryan) like a son and would put his arm around him and introduce him and say, ‘Here’s the future of our party.’” 7
In 2016 the foundation, collaborating with the American Enterprise Institute, held a forum shortly before the South Carolina primary moderated by Rep. Ryan and Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC). In which six Republican presidential candidates, including former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, then-Ohio Governor John Kasich, and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) debated policies for fighting poverty. 8
- “Who Was Jack Kemp?” Jack Kemp Foundation website, Accessed October 15, 2021. https://www.jackkempfoundation.org/jack-kemp
- Casey Hynes, “Remembering Jack,” Roll Call, October 19, 2009. https://rollcall.com/2009/10/16/morning-business-remembering-jack/
- Dick Anderson, “Biographer Mort Kondracke Makes The Case For Jack Kemp ‘57’s Legacy As A Conservative For The Ages,” Oxy, Winter 2016, Accessed October 15, 2021. https://www.oxy.edu/magazine/issues/winter-2016/kemp-reconsidered
- “The Jack Kemp Oral History Archive,” Accessed October 15, 2021. https://www.jkfarchive.com/kemp-legacy-program/on-jack-kemp-the-kemp-oral-history-project/
- “’The Jack Kemp Playbook’ Released On Fox Nation, Capital Research Center, August 4, 2020, Accessed October 15, 2021. https://capitalresearch.org/article/the-jack-kemp-playbook-released-on-fox-nation/
- Gilbert, Craig. “Ryan’s Conservatism Influenced by Free Market Economists.” Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, August 11, 2012. https://archive.jsonline.com/news/statepolitics/ryans-conservatism-influenced-by-free-market-economists-1k6f813-165868526.html/.
- Jennifer Steinhauer, Jim Rutenberg, Mike McIntyre, and Sheryl Gay Stolberg, “Conservative Star’s Small-Town Roots,” New York Times, August 13, 2012. https://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/13/us/politics/family-faith-and-politics-describe-life-of-paul-ryan.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all
- Mike DeBonis, “The Bulk of GOP Field, If Not the Top Of It, Turns Its Attention To Poverty,” Washington Post, January 10, 2016.
- Carnegie Corporation of New York Grants Database, Accessed October 18, 2021. https://www.carnegie.org/grants/grants-database/grantee/jack-kemp-foundation/#!/grants/grants-database/grant/528395165.0/