Michael Caslin says he still remembers the day in 1978 when Dr. Walter Judd delivered a lecture on foreign policy to his class at The Fund for American Studies. During his lecture, Judd repeated a Chinese saying that Caslin says even today has great and lasting truth: “If you want to plan for one year, plant corn. If you want to plan for 10 years, plant trees. If you want to plan for many lifetimes, keep planting men and women.”
“At the crossroads of every major career decision, Dr. Judd’s words have called to me and challenged me and guided me forward,” said Caslin.
Caslin grew up in Queens, N.Y. and attended Manhattanville College. As a sophomore, he applied to the TFAS Engalitcheff Institute on Comparative Political and Economic Systems based on the recommendations of his older sisters Mary and Colleen, both TFAS alumnae. His younger sister would also go on to attend ICPES.
“After my ICPES summer experience, I was never the same,” said Caslin. “I operated with global awareness and personal urgency.” Once Caslin returned to school he completed his double major in economics and political science in only three years and then returned to TFAS to serve as a program director and later its executive director.
After TFAS, Caslin ran his own consulting firm for several years and then returned to the nonprofit sector as co-founder of the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), which has now been operating for 25 years and has educated over 500,000 low-income young entrepreneurs in 31 states and 13 countries.
My decision was driven by the call to action by Dr. Judd and TFAS founder Dave Jones, who taught me that history is made by the brave and bold and watched and followed by most others,” said Caslin.
Caslin also speaks about free-market economics at colleges and business schools across the country, including Harvard, Columbia, Duke, MIT and the University of Pennsylvania – Wharton. He recently co-authored his first college text, Social Entrepreneurship: How Business Can Transform Society.
Today, Caslin works for Rising Tide Capital, which seeks to assist aspiring and struggling entrepreneurs and communities to build strong businesses that will transform lives, strengthen families and create vibrant and sustainable neighborhoods.
In addition to being a regular TFAS supporter since 1993, Caslin is a member of the TFAS Legacy Society – a donor club made up of individuals who have included TFAS in their estate plan.
“I believe that having TFAS in my will is a fundamentally patriotic act,” said Caslin. “I look forward to sharing any beneficence I can with future generations of freedom fighters, American patriots and ‘winter soldiers’ who are our best hope for countering the progressive statist movement that has so effectively shackled our great nation.”
Caslin lives in New York City with his wife Irina. He has three children, one of whom is an alumnus of the TFAS Asia Institute for Political Economy in Hong Kong.