Franklin Project at the Aspen Institute

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization whose mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues through seminars, young-leader fellowships around the globe, policy programs, and public conferences and events to provide a forum for people to share ideas.

In 2012, Laura was seated in the 3,500-seat Music Tent at the Aspen Ideas Festival, listening to 4-Star General (Ret.) Stanley McChrystal, Former Commander of the U.S. Forces Afghanistan, speak about leadership. When asked what could transform American citizenship, General McChrystal responded that all young people should serve their country, doing either military or community service for a minimum of one year. A standing ovation ensued. Deeply inspired, Laura immediately went to work with Walter Isaacson, CEO of the Aspen Institute, to help create the Franklin Project. Named after Benjamin Franklin, who believed that service by citizens was central to democracy, the Franklin Project seeks to improve citizenship by giving every young person in America the opportunity to do a fully paid, full-time year of service anywhere in the country in one of an array of areas from conservation to education and everything in between. The Fund has supported the Franklin Project with more than $100,000 in grants and Laura serves on its Leadership Council and Executive Committee.