When writing my recent post on Ayn Rand, I visited the Ayn Rand Institute to gain more information about the author. Although the site deals with Rand’s life and works, it also remains strongly connected to broader issues of economics, philosophy, and current events. After I left the site, I started thinking about the number of authors who have given their names to institutes not limited to, the field of literature.
Their contributions were literary, but the impact went far beyond the pages of their novels or books of poetry. Though literati, they were not blind to the other issues affecting the cultures in which they lived. As a result, they left a legacy that went beyond the scope of literature. Their example reminds me that great minds, no matter their primary field of work, are always capable of creating or inspiring broad-based, positive change.
Here is a short list of some of the organizations I have found. This is, necessarily, an incomplete list: if you know of others, please send links!
The C.S. Lewis Institute – to develop disciples who can “articulate, defend, and live faith in Christ.”
The Ayn Rand Institute – the online source for information on the life and works of novelist-philosopher Ayn Rand.
The Pearl Buck Center – creating opportunities and providing support to individuals with developmental disabilities, their children and families.
Helen Keller International – HKI provides expertise, training, and technical assistance to establish nutrition and eye health programs in partnership with host countries.
The Walden Woods Project – preserves the land, literature and legacy of Henry David Thoreau to foster an ethic of environmental stewardship and social responsibility.
The Thoreau Center for Sustainability – green nonprofit centers that house more than 70 nonprofit organizations in San Francisco and New York.
The W.E.B. Dubois Learning Center – providing tutorial services for the academic achievement of elementary and secondary students in the areas of reading, mathematics, science, and computer science.
Ben Franklin Technology Partners – a statewide network that fosters innovation to stimulate Pennsylvania’s economic growth and prosperity.
The Emerson Instiute for Freedom and Culture – working to change the culture by promoting progressive natural classicism in the arts and humanities.
And this is just a sampling, not including the many schools, hospitals, libraries, and museums also dedicated to the great minds of literature.