A Humble Request for Support

2016 was a pretty good year for The Fleming Foundation.  We managed to post, on average, about one piece a day on the website and we added a number of new writers, who contributed articles, editorial columns, written interviews, and podcasts.

Our list of contributors now includes, in addition to Andrei Navrozov, Frank Brownlow, and myself:  John Seiler, Clyde Wilson, Roger McGrath, Srdja Trifkovic, Marco Bassani, E. Christian Kopff, Red Phillips, and Stephen Heiner.  Until November, certain complications made it difficult to publish as many other writers as I wanted, but, now that this obstacle has been eliminated, Fleming.Foundation is going to seem a good deal less like the “Tom and Andrei Show.”  It is not that I am going to contribute fewer pieces—far from it—but that we shall be offering a greater variety.

Even without adequate resources, the variety and breadth of Fleming.Foundation has been remarkable: sparkling polemics on the presidential elections, insightful coverage of the crises in Europe, commentaries on Greek tragedy, Aristotle, and Stoic morality—to say nothing (perhaps the less said the better?) of my serialized book, Properties of Blood, now undergoing final editing for print and ebook publication.  There are even articles and podcasts on travel and cooking.

Apart from the website, we published the first print Miscellany and are ready to produce the second, titled “The Way We Live Now.”  We held our first Summer Symposium on “1000 Years of Jihad,” we continued our monthly book evenings in Rockford, and we’re getting ready for our first Winter Boethius weekend, “Walter Scott in Charleston” the second weekend in February.

It is a lot, especially without any paid staff.  As one former colleague asked me, not without a note of envy, “How have you done all this?  You must have raised a great deal of gift income.”

The truth is that we have not so far made fund-raising a high priority.  We are charging what we believe our website is worth to the readers, and, therefore, the website breaks even.  Of course we pay our writers nothing or next to nothing, and the “executives”—a laughable term for this mom-and-pop-plus friend organization—do not take salaries and only occasionally receive reimbursement for expenses.

The spirit of volunteerism has taken us a long way, but it will not take us as far as we like.  We really have to start paying modest honoraria for the first-rate work we are getting, and we desperately need to hire some part-time support staff.  There was a time, some decades ago, when I could do line-editing, proof-reading, events management, and petty administration in the hours when I was not writing and soliciting work from other writers—three jobs, basically, for the price of one.  Those days are gone, and, while I am not at all ready for the old rocking chair, I really would like to spend more time writing, researching.

This is where you can help.  I know we are charging a hefty subscription fee, but we also hope we can count on some readers for additional support.   Some of you did contribute last year, and your contributions helped give us the cash reserves necessary for undertaking the Summer Symposium and February’s event.  (Hotels do not accept promises or good will as a downpayment.)

I wish I could assure you that our non-profit/tax-exempt status has been granted by the IRS, but it has taken us longer than we anticipated, partly because of lack of staff.  The process is almost complete and we hope to have the status in the next six months, but at this point it would still be wrong to make any guarantees.  Why?

Some friends and readers have asked me why I am doing this.  I could, after all, have chosen to do nothing but read and write, preferably in Italy, Greece, or France, but, instead, I walked away from the easy life and continued the drudgery of trying to run an organization, this time without staff, offices, or financial resources.

It is partly a question of staying the course and maintaining loyalty to friends and collaborators, both those who are with us and those who have passed on.  When I quit devoting my energies full-time to classical scholarship and started pontificating on broader issues, I found many worthy friends, allies, and colleagues, people I respected and admired: Mel Bradford and Andrew Lytle, Russell Kirk and Robert Nisbet, Sam Francis and Clyde Wilson, Thomas Molnar and many other European writers.

Now most of them are gone.  This would not be a cause for lamentation, if I could see a younger generation rising up to follow in their footsteps.  I believe (perhaps hope is a better word) that such people exist, if one can find them, but there is not a single institution I can think of, with the vision, commitment, and intellectual preparation to continue this great tradition stretching back to T.S. Eliot and G.K. Chesterton, to Samuel Johnson, Edmund Burke, and Walter Scott, to Thomas Aquinas, Cicero, Aristotle all the way back to Greek tragedy and Homer.  Some started out well, but all of them, in the end, sell out to the spirit of the age that elevates the politics of the moment to the pinnacle of human life.

I thought by the time I reached the age I have, I could give up trying to teach the young and go back full time to studying Greek, but before I do, I hope to keep working with the two younger generations, to preserve what is best in our traditions and to carry the wisdom of the past into the future. This was the mission of Boethius, whom we have taken as patron, and it has been the mission of all the great men and women—always a tiny minority even in the best ages of our civilization—whose traditions we are doing our feeble best to uphold.

That is why I am, once again, asking for your support.  You can make your donation by credit card by calling Jim Easton at

(815) 986-8754

or you can send a check to:

The Fleming Foundation

2719 Highcrest Road

Rockford IL   61107

or via PayPal:

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Thomas Fleming

Thomas Fleming is president of the Fleming Foundation. He is the author of six books, including The Morality of Everyday Life and The Politics of Human Nature, as well as many articles and columns for newspapers, magazines,and learned journals. He holds a Ph.D. in Classics from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and a B.A. in Greek from the College of Charleston. He served as editor of Chronicles: a Magazine of American Culture from 1984 to 2015 and president of The Rockford Institute from 1997-2014. In a previous life he taught classics at several colleges and served as a school headmaster in South Carolina

5 Responses

  1. Andrew G Van Sant says:

    Dr. Fleming, Can I just increase my monthly contribution on my credit card?

  2. Avatar photo Thomas Fleming says:

    I don’t know but I’ll check today. The complication is that subscriptions and donations are two separate accounts and two separate systems, but we’ll do our best. Thanks four your support.

  3. Dan Bartolo says:

    Dr. Fleming, I wish Id seen this earlier. On a fixed income I gave what I could to Chronicles but understand now. Im glad to see Trifkovic has found a home and Ill contribute ASAP. Enjoyed the election commentary especially.

  4. Andrew G Van Sant says:

    Dr. Fleming – I do not like to support Pay Pal. They act as a third party in financial transactions. If you have I problem, it is difficult, if not impossible, to correct with Pay Pal in the middle. I have been burned in the past on my personal card with a payment through Pay Pal. My credit card company refused to pursue a claim through Pay Pal. I do not foresee a problem with you, but Pay Pal was cofounded by Elon Musk. He is currently ripping off the taxpayer with his electric car and solar energy companies. I do not think he is still associated with Pay Pal, but I will not use it.

    I was a government bankcard approving official in the past. The government prohibits third party bankcard transactions because they eliminate or reduce the governments ability to recoup funds when a vendor does not meet obligations.

    If you can provide a way to contribute a monthly amount with my credit card, I will be happy to participate. A monthly contribution helps with monthly budgeting.

  5. Andrew G Van Sant says:

    Please note above that you can call James Easton and donate via your credit card, monthly, quarterly, or one-time.