The Calvin Coolidge Presidential Foundation, based in Plymouth Notch, Vermont, is the official foundation dedicated to preserving the legacy and advancing the values of America’s thirtieth president. In the absence of an official presidential library, the Coolidge Foundation was formed in 1960 by John Coolidge, the president’s son, along with a group of fellow Coolidge enthusiasts. The Articles of Association call for the Foundation “to perpetuate the memory of Calvin Coolidge.” A decade ago, the board of the Foundation approved a strategic plan which called for the national expansion of the Foundation’s work. In the past several years, the Foundation has expanded programming across the country in an effort to increase Americans’ knowledge of Coolidge and the values he promoted throughout his life.
The Foundation’s signature initiative is the Coolidge Scholars Program. Among the most competitive and generous undergraduate awards in America, “The Coolidge” is a full-ride, four-year, merit scholarship that can be used by recipients at any accredited college or university in the United States. Each year thousands of Americans study President Coolidge and read his Autobiography through the course of applying for the scholarship. Currently, five new Coolidge Scholars are selected annually after a rigorous review process that culminates with a finalist weekend in Woodstock, Vt and Plymouth Notch. The finalist jury is chaired by Gov. James H. Douglas, former governor of Vermont. In addition to the full-ride awards, the top 100 applicants each year are named “Coolidge Senators” and invited to participate in the Coolidge Foundation’s annual “Coolidge Senators Summit” in Washington, D.C. Each of these students receives a modest scholarship as well. The Foundation is building an endowment to support further program expansion.
The Foundation also operates a national high school debate program. The centerpiece of the debate program is the Coolidge Cup National Debate Championship which begins with tournaments held in cities across the country — from Dallas to Raleigh to New York to Vermont. The winners of these tournaments are invited to compete for the Coolidge Cup on the Fourth of July, Coolidge’s birthday, in Plymouth Notch. In all Coolidge debate tournaments students confront pressing and relevant debate resolutions that relate to economics and public policy. Through the course of their debates, students learn about all sides of policy issues and develop critical thinking and presentation skills necessary to be successful citizens. Most importantly, the students enjoy an encounter with President Coolidge and his timeless values. To date nearly 2,000 students have participated in Coolidge Debate, hundreds of whom have come to Plymouth Notch on scholarships funded by the Foundation.
In addition to the scholarship and debate programs, the Foundation organizes and hosts visits to Plymouth Notch for hundreds of school students each year and organizes conferences, symposia, lectures, and public events both in Plymouth Notch and around the country. Furthermore, the Foundation conducts original research on President Coolidge, publishes a periodical, The Coolidge Quarterly, maintains a website of Coolidge resources, and houses a modest collection of Coolidge papers and artifacts. All these efforts work together to create a community of Coolidge. We invite you to get involved and support our work to advance the ideals of Silent Cal.