Harry Earhart expanded the White Star Oil Company into a large enterprise during the automobile revolution, then established the Earhart and Relm foundations.
In 1949, the Earhart Foundation focused on deepening national understanding of the role of free-market economics in creating American prosperity and liberty. It did so by supporting individual thinkers, researchers, and writers. In the 1970s, the foundation expanded its purview beyond economics to include intellectuals working in the humanities, recognizing their centrality to the preservation and persistence of American success.
Over the years, the foundation awarded more than 2,500 Earhart Fellowships to graduate students, in the process showing remarkable success in identifying nascent talent. Early recipients of Earhart support include Friedrich Hayek, Milton Friedman, George Stigler, James Buchanan, and others. Ronald Coase, Gary Becker, Thomas Sowell, Leo Strauss, and Peter Bauer were also supported by the foundation at critical junctures.
The Earhart Fellows include six individuals who went on to win the Nobel Prize in economics. The foundation also provided grants for important research projects, and kept seminal books in print, for instance supporting publication of the Collected Works of Eric Voegelin.
- Harry Earhart profile in the Philanthropy Hall of Fame, philanthropyroundtable.org/almanac/hall_of_fame/harry_earhart
- History of the Earhart Foundation, firstprinciplesjournal.com/articles.aspx?article=561&theme=amexp&page=3&loc=b&type=ctbf