For those who favor a limited role for government in society, the health and vitality of the charitable sector is critically important. Without effective private sector solutions to social pathologies, pressure grows for government to step into the void and impose one-size-fits–all solutions. James Arthur “Art” Pope is a businessman and enlightened philanthropist who recognizes the importance of supporting the free-enterprise system that enables wealth creation, while utilizing the wealth it generates to support effective approaches to helping people in need.
Pope is the president of the The John William Pope Foundation, which was established by his late father John William Pope. The foundation celebrated its 25th anniversary in December in a somewhat unusual manner. Rather than invite friends to come together solely to recognize the foundation’s milestone, Pope used the occasion to raise more than $300,000 to assist a local charity called Step-Up Ministries expand its urban ministry that helps low wage and homeless individuals change their lives and become self-sufficient.
According to their mission, The John William Pope Foundation was created to protect and advance the liberties of the people of North Carolina so they could have freedom to create wealth to the benefit of all, as John William Pope did through his business Variety Wholesalers, Inc. The foundation has given away tens of millions of dollars to foundations, think tanks and advocacy groups, both in North Carolina and across the nation, that are designed to further conservative and free-market ideas.
The John William Pope Foundation has been a supporter of TFAS dating back to 1993. The foundation has provided scholarships for students from North Carolina, especially Eagle Scouts, to attend TFAS programs in Washington, D.C. The Foundation also sponsored a TFAS conference for journalism students in North Carolina in March 2007. John Stossel, who was then with ABC News and is now with Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network, was the keynote speaker at the conference.
Following John William Pope’s death in 2006, Art became Chairman and CEO of Variety Wholesalers, Inc., a company that operates over 400 retail stores in 15 states and employs approximately 7,000 people. Pope served four terms in the North Carolina House of Representatives, from 1989 to 1992 and 1999 to 2002. He is currently the chairman and president of the John William Pope Foundation.
“A friend I grew up with attended a Fund summer institute when he was in college, and it really made a difference in his life,” said Pope.
I support The Fund today to enable more young people to spend a summer in the nation’s capital and to learn about the institutions of American government and the ideas of a free society. I think it is wonderful that Fund graduates also work at many of the organizations I support, helping preserve economic freedom for future generations.”
Pope’s friend is David Stover, a 1977 alumnus of the TFAS Engalitcheff Institute on Comparative Political and Economic Systems (ICPES) and member of the board at the John William Pope Foundation. Through his Foundation, Pope continues to carry on the legacy and vision of his father, John William Pope.
TFAS wishes Pope and everyone at The John William Pope Foundation all the best in their endeavors and a very happy 25th anniversary.