To Empower Americans to understand, enjoy and preserve the freedom and moral responsibility embodied in America's founding principles.
Art Thompson - Chairman
Art Thompson was born in Seattle, Washington in 1938. Art attended the University of Washington, the Washington Military Academy and other business-related institutions, before going into business for himself. He joined the staff of the John Birch Society in May, 1964 and became a successful Area Coordinator for the Society in the 1970's. He left the staff to go back into business in 1981 and returned to the staff again in the 1990's. In the 1980's and early 90's, Mr. Thompson's business took him all over the United States. A frequent visitor to Western Europe on business, as a tourist, and once on a political fact-finding tour for the JBS, Mr. Thompson was at the Berlin Wall as it was coming down. During this tour, he became acquainted with many businessmen, academics, and members of the German cabinet and European Union. Mr. Thompson has also served on his small town City Council, as the chairman of his local Chamber of Commerce, as an official and an elector for the Republican Party, and as a local leader in the state of Washington for the Christian Coalition. He also served as an officer in the Select Reserve Force of the Army and National Guard.
John F. McManus - President
John F. McManus joined the staff of The John Birch Society in 1966, serving originally as a field coordinator for several New England states. In 1968, he was transferred to a position at the Society’s national headquarters. In 1973, Mr. McManus accepted appointment by Robert Welch, the Society’s Founder, as the organization’s Director of Public Affairs. In this post, he became and remains the Society’s chief media representative throughout the nation. Mr. McManus has written and produced numerous audiovisual programs. He is in wide demand as a speaker and is the author of several books. In addition to being a regular contributor of articles to The New American magazine, he serves as its Publisher. He is also the Publisher of the Society’s monthly Bulletin sent to all members and subscribers. Mr. McManus was named President of The John Birch Society in 1991. Over the years since its summer camp program was launched in 1970, Mr. McManus has served as an instructor. He was instrumental in arranging that this valuable program is now a project of the American Opinion Foundation. As President of this educational foundation since its inception in 2005, he will continue to instruct at the camps as well as ensure that each grows in quality and influence. Born in 1935 in Brooklyn, New York, he is a graduate of Holy Cross College in Massachusetts. He served on active duty as a lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps for three years. For six years before accepting a staff position with the Society, he was employed as an electronics engineer. The father of four and grandparent of several, Mr. McManus has been married to the former Mary Helen O’Reilly of Boston since 1957.
Alan Scholl - Executive Director & Vice President
Mr. Alan J. Scholl is Executive Director, and Vice President of American Opinion Foundation, and a member of the Board of Directors. Mr. Scholl has been involved in youth education for over 25 years. He has served as Director or primary speaker at over 50 week-long youth seminars. He has been a keynote speaker for many homeschool, constitutional, and political conferences and gatherings, and has conducted numerous individual live seminars on American Heritage, History, Government, and Culture, among other topics. He has previously served as the National Director of a busy nation-wide Speakers Bureau, and as Chief Operations Officer and Director of Mission and Campaigns for JBS Corporate Operations. Prior to his service with American Opinion and his JBS career, for five years Mr. Scholl was Manager Training Supervisor and Internal Auditor for Patton Vending, a large diversified corporation in California, and was the Western Division Manager for By-Products Corp/St. Louis Serum Co. (Sister divisions of Dexter Corp.) for eight years. Earning his initial Associate in Arts at Yuba State College in California in 1975, Mr. Scholl earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration in 2005, and his MBA in Business Administration in June of 2008, at the University of Phoenix.
Gary Benoit - Member of the Board
Gary Benoit is the editor of The New American, a biweekly magazine affiliated with the John Birch Society. The New American’s mission is encapsulated by the slogan on its cover — “That Freedom Shall Not Perish.” Mr. Benoit has been on the staff of John Birch Society since 1977, and over the years his positions with the organization have included eastern manager of the Society’s speakers bureau, director of the Society’s tax-reform program, director of the research department, and editor of The John Birch Society Bulletin. He has been associated with the magazine since its inception in 1985 and has been editor for most of its existence. Since 1977, Mr. Benoit has taught classes on the principles of freedom and the importance of the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights, at more than three dozen week-long youth camps for teenagers held at various locations throughout the country. Those camps, originally sponsored by the John Birch Society, are now sponsored by the American Opinion Foundation. Mr. Benoit was appointed to the board of the American Opinion Foundation at its inception in 2005. Mr. Benoit graduated from the University of Lowell (now the University of Massachusetts – Lowell) magna cum laude in physics in 1976. Between his junior and senior years, he worked through the summer at a nuclear power plant. Gary Benoit and his wife Laurie reside in Wisconsin, where they enjoy being close to their 11 children and 10 grandchildren.
Larry Greenley - Member of the Board
Larry Greenly was born in Independence, Iowa, in 1941. He grew up in the Waterloo, Iowa, area, then went to college at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Graduating in 1964, Mr. Greenley received a B.S. degree in Humanities (philosophy) and Science (molecular biology) from M.I.T. After two years of graduate studies in philosophy and psychology at the University of Iowa, Mr. Greenley started his career as a science and math teacher in a public school in southwest Iowa. Although he never returned to college full time, he did study American and European history on the graduate level for many years as a part-time student at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. Mr. Greenley spent 24 years of his career in marketing and sales of scientific products for biological research labs. He joined the staff of The John Birch Society in 1996 and is currently the Director of Marketing. In 2005, Mr. Greenley was appointed to the Board of Directors for the American Opinion Foundation and uses his marketing skills to benefit the marketing initiatives of the Foundation. Although Larry lived most of his adult life in the Northern Virginia area near Washington, D.C., since 1998 he and his wife Rosalie have resided in Appleton, Wisconsin.
Jeff LeClaire - Treasurer
Jeff LeClaire, Corporate Finance Director for The John Birch Society, has served as the Finance Director for the American Opinion Foundation from its inception in late 2005. Mr. LeClaire brings to American Opinion Foundation 30 years of Accounting/Business related experience in manufacturing, insurance, consulting, wholesale/retail distribution, magazine publishing, construction, non-profits, and income tax accounting. Mr. LeClaire holds Associate Degrees in both Accounting and Marketing, a Bachelors Degree in Business Management, and currently possesses a Certified Public Accountant certificate. He has implemented many Accounting software packages over his years of employment, and has attended numerous management and accounting training seminars/workshops over the past 30 years. Mr. LeClaire has recently designed and implemented a non-profit software package for American Opinion Foundation which will be utilized on 1/1/08. He has received training from the Foundation Center in New York City for proposal budgeting. Mr. LeClaire has served as a member of the board of directors of Community First Credit Union for ten years. He has also held volunteer positions on his local church finance committee as well as many other church related positions. He was personally entrusted with the safekeeping of weekly church offerings. Mr. LeClaire served in the United States Army from 1974 – 1977 and received his honorable discharge.