Calvin K. Kazanjian Economics Foundation
The Calvin K. Kazanjian Economics Foundation Inc. is a non-political education organization that was incorporated as a nonprofit organization under the Statue Laws of the State of Connecticut on April 4, 1947.
The Foundation operates from the income of inter vivos and testamentary gifts donated by its founder. Donations to the Foundation are deductible for income tax purposes to the extent provided by law.
Addressing the issue of economic illiteracy remains the mission of the Calvin K. Kazanjian Economics Foundation.
Calvin K. Kazanjian was the founder and president of Peter Paul Inc., the maker of the Mounds and Almond Joy candy bars, located in Naugatuck, Connecticut. For 30 years, he met and solved the problems of an ever-growing business. He thought that most of the mistakes made by society were the result not of malice, but rather, of ignorance. He believed that social and political difficulties could be traced, in large part, to economic illiteracy. He firmly believed that if more people understood basic economics the world would be a better place in which to live. Accordingly, he established the Foundation in the true spirit of unselfish service. In his own words, he wished to “help bring a greater happiness and prosperity to all, through a better understanding of economics.”
Bringing economic understanding to the nation’s students takes more than classroom materials. It takes a concerted and coordinated effort of curriculum change, teacher education, evaluation, and educator recognition. The Foundation undertakes innovative and first-time projects providing the seed support for core programs that further economic literacy. Often partnering with other organizations, the Foundation likes to initiate a program in the hopes that others will follow.
The Kazanjian Foundation National Awards Program began over 40 years ago with a grant to the Joint (National) Council on Economic Education.
In keeping with the Kazanjian Foundation’s philosophy, the National Economic Education Awards Program sponsorship was first transferred to the International Paper Company Foundation and later to the NASDAQ Foundation. This freed up the Kazanjian Foundation’s resources for other projects, including the William A. Forbes Award, named for a charter member of the Foundation’s board. The award is given annually to individuals and/or an organization that does the most to promote economic education.
In 1977, with the support of the Kazanjian Foundation, the National Council on Economic Education published a Framework for Teaching Economics. The Framework rapidly became the foundation upon which all new classroom materials and curricula were built.
With the interest in National Standards for various subject matters, the Foundation once again took a leadership role with a gift to The National Council on Economic Education to produce the National Content Standards in Economics. It is also supported by the AT & T Foundation, The Foundation for Teaching Economics, The National Council on Economic Education and others. The new Standards took their place among those of math, science, geography, and other core subjects taught in the schools. TheStandards now shape all quality economic education materials and programs. The National Content Standards in Economics helps assure that economics is not just a curriculum luxury, but also a core subject. It is, as Mr. Kazanjian would have wanted, a subject for all to understand.