Mensa Foundation Celebrates 50 Years of Unleashing Intelligence

  • Apr 8, 2021

Since 1971, we’ve provided scholarships, promoted research, championed gifted youth, and empowered educators

Mensa Foundation 50th anniversary logo
Learn more about the Mensa Foundation’s history and our promising future.

HURST, Texas, April 8, 2021 — In an era when education and research add so much practical value to our lives, the Mensa Education and Research Foundation is celebrating 50 years of fostering intelligent solutions to real-world problems. Five decades of service have touched many lives, from scholarship and award winners to educators and researchers to our generous and thoughtful donors.

The Mensa Foundation has the unique charge of unleashing intelligence for the benefit of society. A monthslong celebration of that good work will culminate with festivities in Houston as part of American Mensa’s World Gathering.

“We're excited to celebrate what the Foundation has accomplished, tell how it has evolved, and highlight the great opportunities we see in its future,” said Charlie Steinhice, President of the Mensa Foundation Board of Trustees. “The 50th anniversary also gives us a platform to showcase impactful Foundation programs that may not be as familiar to Mensans or the public as our well-established scholarship program.”

While founded in 1971, inspiration for the Foundation dates to 1967 when Buckminster Fuller, speaking at an American Mensa event, motivated members to contemplate an organization with deeper goals than those of American Mensa.

Those goals have evolved and expanded over the decades. Today, the Foundation awards about $150,000 annually to college-bound students around the globe, promotes research with awards and through its Mensa Research Journal, and supports gifted youth and educators with awards, grants, and resources on It sponsors the Colloquium, an annual symposium open to the public that explores topics in depth such as the health care of catastrophes, privacy in the 21st century, and advances in food science.

In 2017, the Mensa Foundation expanded its awards program to create the Mensa Foundation Prize, a $10,000 biennial award for the best scientific discovery in the field of intelligence or creativity. Past winners include Dr. David Silver, who led Google’s efforts to develop the first computer program to defeat the world’s best Go players, and Dr. Aron K. Barbey, whose innovative research advanced the neuroscience of brain connectivity.

“When people ask how Mensans can make a difference, we feel our programs provide a strong, positive answer,” Steinhice said. “The Mensa Foundation offers Mensans and other like-minded individuals a way to give back, to help others in the broader community realize the full potential of their intelligence.”

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For 50 years, the Mensa Education and Research Foundation has been an advocate for intelligence. Governed by a volunteer Board of Trustees, the Mensa Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization funded by American Mensa, Mensa members, and other charitable donations.