Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Society of Fellows

Founded in 1964, the Society of Fellows (SOF) originally consisted of 33 members who met in Elizabeth and Walter Paepcke’s living room in Aspen, Colorado in order to strengthen the humanities to deepen personal development and provide wiser direction to society. Today, the Society of Fellows is a national community of diverse, distinguished leaders who sustain the values-based work of the Aspen Institute.

What are the benefits of being a Society of Fellows member?

As a member of the Society of Fellows, you join a community of like-minded thought leaders whose intellectual curiosity and commitment to national and global impact drive the work of the Aspen Institute forward. Members receive invitations to more than 50 exclusive events every year in Aspen, New York City, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and other locations around the country. Members receive priority registration to the Aspen Institute’s premier public events, including Aspen Ideas Festival and Aspen Security Forum. Members have access to concierge-style event registration and receive the SOF newsletter which contains information about all upcoming Aspen Institute programs. Additional privileges are available at higher levels of membership.

Why should I join the Society of Fellows?

The work of the Aspen Institute is more critical now than ever before, because it uniquely convenes inclusive conversations with diverse thinkers and practitioners to solve the world’s greatest challenges. Members of the Society of Fellows help to ensure this work continues, and they are fully engaged with it through member-exclusive events curated specifically for them.

How does my gift support the Aspen Institute?

Members of the Society of Fellows provide vital unrestricted support that advances the Aspen Institute’s work to realize a free, just, and equitable society.

Is my Society of Fellows membership tax-deductible?
Most memberships are entirely tax-deductible donations. However, some members may choose to use non-tax-deductible benefits of the membership levels above $50,000. Tax receipts will be mailed to you following receipt of your donation. Please contact the SOF team for more information.

How can my corporation get involved with the Society of Fellows?
The Castle Peak Circle ($100,000) membership level provides the opportunity for a corporation and multiple employees to become involved with the Society of Fellows. Please contact Warwick Sabin, Executive Director of the Society of Fellows, to discuss the menu of benefit options available at this level. Corporations can also become involved as regional or national underwriters of SOF events.

How do I provide a membership as a gift to someone else?
Please contact Megan Bentzin at 970.544.7994 to learn about how to provide a membership as a gift.

How do I join or renew my membership?

Membership donations can be made via check, wire transfer, stock transfer, or online donation. Donations can also be made through a Donor Advised Fund or private foundation. The Aspen Institute tax ID is 84-0399006.

Checks can be made payable to “The Aspen Institute” and mailed to 1000 N. Third St., Aspen, CO 81611. You can also join or renew your membership by emailing sof@aspeninstitute.org, calling (970) 544-7980, or by contacting a member of the .

Where are Society of Fellows events hosted?

In 2020, SOF events will be hosted in Aspen, CO; Chicago, IL; Los Angeles, CA; Palm Beach, FL; New York, NY; San Francisco, CA; and Washington, DC.

What are the various types of SOF events?

The types of events include, but are not limited to:

Dialogues: Intimate discussions offered to Pearl Mountain Circle ($5,000) members and above that are hosted in a home or private venue that feature leading experts in their fields. These programs offer SOF members time to mingle and connect over refreshments before and after the discussion.

Discussion Receptions: Discussions hosted in a home or private venue that feature leading experts in their fields. These programs offer SOF members time to mingle and connect over refreshments before and after the discussion.

Luncheons: Lunch-hour programs featuring leading experts on a critical societal issue.

Private Dinners: Specially curated dinners for SOF members and special guests.

Symposia: Multi-day, round table discussions that are moderated by leading experts and provide an in-depth exploration of current events and enduring issues from arts and culture to foreign and domestic policy.

Where do I learn about upcoming events?

Information about upcoming events will be sent to all SOF members via the bi-weekly newsletter (which is weekly from June to August). We recommend adding the SOF team email address, sof@aspeninstitute.org, to your email contacts to ensure that our invitations and newsletter do not go to a spam folder. If you are a current member and have not received our newsletter, please contact us at sof@aspeninstitute.org or call 970.544.7980.

Can I bring a guest to an event?
SOF members at the Pearl Mountain Circle ($5,000) level and above are welcome to bring a guest to events when capacity allows. For more information about how many guests you are entitled to, please reference the membership benefits guide (link).

I have an idea for a program. Who can I send my idea to?

Please email all program ideas to sof@aspeninstitute.org. Since we receive a high volume of suggestions, we will only reach out to those whose ideas have been selected.

When can I get a hold of the SOF team?

The SOF team is available to be reached Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. MST.

How do I get more involved with The Aspen Institute?

Our Regional Directors will help you engage with the Institute in ways that align with your interests. Contact your regional representative for more information. If you don’t know your regional representative, please email SOF@aspeninstitute.org or call 970.544.7980.