Committed to Impact that Matters


Schools from grade school to graduate school have been the shock-troops bringing increasingly conformist, collectivist, anti-reason, and anti-freedom ideas into U.S. culture for over 40 years; RIFI was formed in 2005 to counter this trend with an innovative program that not only well-informs, but well-develops the independence of young people.


Great Connections in Greece and Sicily

In June, we took a group of 22 travelers ages 17 to 70 on an intensive study and recreation trip to Greece and Sicily to study the ancient authors in the places they lived and worked. Athens, Lesvos Island, Corinth, Mycenae, Epidauros, Olympia, Syracuse, and Reggio Calabria were our major destinations.

We listened to excerpts from The Illiad and gazed upon exquisite bronze statues of warriors from that age. We strolled the shores of the very Lesvos lagoon where Aristotle invented research science. We swam in the sea where Sappho wrote some of the most intensely personal poetry of the ages.

We danced in the streets of Mykilini and dined on the shores in Tolon near Agamemnon’s city of Argos. We ran the ancient Olympic track. We saw the bay where Archimedes machines held off the Romans. We examined the bawdy and amazingly modern events of Aristophanes’ play, Lysistrata.

At the end of the trip, travelers were clamoring for another trip and we were planning a program around the development of the Roman Republic in the summer of 2020!

Ayn Rand’s Influences: Silicon Valley

In October, tech entrepreneur Raymie Stata graciously and very generously hosted our seminar at his gorgeous house in Los Altos Hills. A lively group of 14 people ages 22 to over 70 gathered to chew over the authors whose ideas Ayn Rand championed or opposed.

Raymie and his dad, Ray, generously arranged for a fascinating tour of Silicon Valley with the Computer History Museum as our destination.

Eating and drinking were deeply entwined with all our discussions!


This year we’re focusing our efforts on all the preparations for the new Leap Year Program so we’ve put the summer program on hold for a year.

LibertyCon: WASHINGTON, D.C.

Great Connections produced an independently-funded seminar at the International Students for Liberty conference last March, “Ayn Rand’s Underpinnings of Liberty,” in which we introduced students to her moral and political arguments for a free society.


An intensive amount of our efforts this year have gone to raising the capital for and organizing the Leap Year Program in order to open Fall, 2019.

We’ve hired new staff, including Noelle Mandell as our Operations Director. She’s a former Great Connections student and executive leader of Students for Liberty, and the founder of the Texas Millenial Institute. And she’s dynamite when it comes to organizing events and operations.

In the run up to opening the program, we’ve redesigned the website, created marketing materials, implemented new systems to increase our digital reach, and collaborated with multiple organizations to publicize the program.

We finalized the curriculum, in which young adults will use the ideas of great thinkers to determine their direction in life and engage in real-world problem-solving to get valuable experience for their next steps.

Writers from the freedom movement in philosophy, economics, history, science, literature, and business will be included as an important part of the classics.

We believe the way you learn is as important as the ideas in developing a person’s autonomy. Our program is shaped to deepen just that.