The Ayn Rand Center (ARC) is the public policy and outreach division of the Ayn Rand Institute, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. The Center’s mission is to advance individual rights (the rights of each person to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness) as the moral basis for a fully free, laissez-faire capitalist society. ARC is named after author and philosopher Ayn Rand (1905–1982), who is best known for her novels The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged and for her original philosophy Objectivism.
The Center is located inside the D.C. Beltway and promotes the philosophical case for individual rights and laissez-faire capitalism to the public policy and business communities, the media and the general public, and to policy-makers. Toward this end, the Center sponsors writing and research; produces articles, op-eds, and other media content; hosts forums, panel discussions, and debates; reaches out to businessmen, elected officials, and policymakers; and assists victims of governmental abuse in their efforts to defend themselves on moral grounds. The Center promotes the principle of individual rights as a fundamental truth that each individual has a moral right to act on his own judgment for his own sake, so long as he does not violate that same right of others. The use of the term “moral” here is not accidental. The Center sees this principle not only as a political matter, but also, and more fundamentally, as a moral matter, as a requirement of human life.
The Center offers programs for businessmen, articles and experts for the media, public events, and opportunities for the general public to participate in efforts to improve the culture.
Through its parent the Ayn Rand Institute (ARI), the Center supports the distribution of free copies of Ayn Rand’s novels and teaching guides to high school classrooms. To date, more than 1.4 million copies of these novels have been donated to 30,000 teachers across the United States and Canada. ARI also sponsors annual high school essay contests, in which students submit essays based on questions drawn from Ayn Rand’s novels Anthem, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. Since this program began in 1986, more than 208,000 students have taken part in these competitions. ARI has awarded more than $800,000 in prizes to winners and runners-up of this program, the largest of its kind in the United States. The Institute’s Objectivist Academic Center offers courses about Ayn Rand’s pro-reason, pro-capitalist philosophy to undergraduate and graduate students from more than sixty colleges and universities throughout the U.S. and around the world.