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Leadership Institute Turns 40

Gabriella Hoffman
by Gabriella Hoffman Read Profile arrow_right_alt

Over the weekend, Leadership Institute and its founder, Morton Blackwell, celebrated several big milestones.

The educational nonprofit organization, which was founded in 1979, celebrated 40 years of success—while its news outlet, Campus Reform, celebrated its 10th anniversary, and Mr. Blackwell celebrated his 80th birthday.

If you’ve worked in the conservative movement in some capacity, chances are you’ve taken a Leadership Institute training or attended an event. Perhaps your Congressional office or political campaign hired someone trained by the organization. Maybe you were a college student who received a grant from the organization for your campus group or newspaper. Or you attended one of the many DC-area Happy Hours held across the years.

With over 217,000 plus people trained in its 40 year history thus far, Leadership Institute has cemented itself as a paragon of hope for cultivating the next generation of conservative and other center-right thought leaders.

Morton Blackwell’s involvement in conservative politics is extensive. He was first involved in Young Republican politics in Louisiana during his youth.

He was elected as a delegate to Barry Goldwater in 1964—the youngest delegate at the time. He later became a Reagan delegate at the 1980 Republican National Convention. Between 1981-1984, he worked in the Reagan administration as a special assistant to President Reagan. And he’s served as a national committeeman from Virginia for the Republican National Committee (RNC) for many years.

In some shape or form, you’ve likely been impacted by Blackwell’s organization.

I certainly have.

My first political training was the Youth Leadership School in February 2010, that was held in Long Beach, CA. From there, I went on to work as a Regional Field Coordinator and social media/traditional media lecturer from August 2012-July 2016. Today, I serve as a Volunteer Faculty Member.

Without having the foundation I got from my time at LI, I wouldn’t be self-employed or freelance writing. Chances are your story is similar to mine.

In honor of these milestones for the organization and Mr. Blackwell, President Trump took note and issued a letter of congratulations which was read aloud to us this past Saturday at the Leadership Institute office in Arlington, Virginia, during the anniversary event.

At Leadership Institute’s 40th Anniversary celebration last night, founder Morton Blackwell also celebrated his 80th birthday and received a personalized letter from President Donald J. Trump thanking him for his contributions to the conservative movement.Who has taken a training, worked/interned there, donated to the organization, or hired LI-trained people? I took my first LI training — and first political training!—during my freshman year of college at UC-San Diego nine years ago. I then worked at LI from August 2012 until July 2016 as a Regional Field Coordinator and social media lecturer. Well over 217,000+ people from around the U.S. and the globe have benefitted from Morton and LI’s trainings. Congratulations on this amazing feat, Morton! Thanks for all you have done to train young people in America’s guiding principles. Happy Birthday! You can learn about LI at

Posted by Gabriella Hoffman on Sunday, November 17, 2019

To learn more about LI, visit and consider supporting this tremendous organization.

The author served as a Regional Field Coordinator at Leadership Institute from August 2012 to July 2016.


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