Start your Journey

Please fill out this short Application Form to be considered for The Great Connections Leap Year. Once you complete it, please go here to pay for your application.


If you are accepted to the program, you can apply for a scholarship here with our short Scholarship Application.

Benjamin Franklin Scholarships

Due to the tremendous generosity of our donors, we are offering ten Benjamin Franklin Scholarships this year of between $5,000 and $15,000.

All of our scholarship donors are unusual, self-made men and women. They include the following people and many more:sho

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Raymie Stata, Ph.D.

Raymie Stata, Silicon Valley tech entrepreneur, whose brilliant thinking, determination, and organizational abilities has enabled him to successfully develop and sell Stata Labs to Yahoo and Altiscale to SAP; he is eager to see reason, individualism, and freedom spread, and enable young people to learn how to live well.

The Members of the Levy Foundation, devoted to improving freedom in the world by supporting multiple programs.

A New York and London-based finance company executive who loves to see young people flourish.

The head of a multi-billion dollar tech company in Boston who made his way from a poor, working-class background because of tremendous creativity, alertness to many, many kinds of opportunities, and diligence.

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James Kandrac

James Kandrac, M.B.A., from the Cleveland area who rose from a very humble, working-class background to run his own international company, UCG Technologies; he volunteers with local high school students who want to go into business and is on our board and Cleveland State University, to help give other young people opportunities to do the same.

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Chris Rufer, M.B.A.

Chris Rufer, founder of The Morningstar Company, who rose from working as a trucker to the president of this company that packs 25% of all the tomatoes in the U.S. He wants to see that young people learn how to live well and be independent.

A woman who ran away from home at 17, and over a long period of time, worked her way through college to eventually become a chemist; now, in retirement, she devotes the money she was able to earn to helping spread the ideas of reason, individualism, and freedom and especially see young people learn how to live as free, productive, self-reliant persons.

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Daniel J. Curran

J.D., C.P.A.

Daniel J. Curran, J.D., C.P.A. came from a poor farm family in Wisconsin. After working his way through college, he handled Corporate Finance at Goldman Sachs Investments; then he was on the Chicago Board of Options as a Market Maker, and later founded his own firm which traded on the Chicago Stock Exchange as a Specialist in Exchange Traded Funds through his firm, Sydan. Dan has long been an advocate of free inquiry and is the founding board member of our organization.

Below, we explain why Ben Franklin represents them.


Benjamin Franklin

Portrait by Joseph Duplessis, 1778

Why Ben Franklin?

We named them after Ben because he was a remarkable, self-made man who ran away from his Puritanical home in Boston, created his own printing business which allowed him to retire at 40 and become one of the 18th century’s greatest experimental scientists. Along with that, he was deeply instrumental in the creation of the new American republic. His diplomatic

“The First American”

Charming the French with his fur hat.

missions to France, where he amused the court by wearing coonskin caps and acting the colonial bumpkin, enabled the American Revolutionary government to gain the military and financial support from France that helped turned the tide of the war.

How did he do all this? He was ambitiously self-educated.

  • He undertook a conscious plan of self-improvement,

  • He read the “best which has been thought and said”—the classic works of civilization,

  • He engaged in conversation with ambitious friends to discuss these ideas and much more, honing his reasoning, persuasive, and collaborative skills in the process,

  • He learned about business, personal finance, and the markets,

  • He implemented his ideas in a mind-boggling number of projects, such as the fire department and streetlamps of Philadelphia, the formation of the Post Office, the University of Pennsylvania, the Philadelphia public library and hospital—just to name a few; read his Autobiography to learn more. This account of his self-reliant activities became the blueprint for American life throughout the 19th century.

    Do you want to be like Ben and direct your own life, finding achievement and adventure? Our program incorporates all of the elements which made his life a model of success.