The Novak Family Foundation is a charitable organization that supports projects in the spirit of its founders, Michael Novak and Karen Laub-Novak.


“The line of belief and unbelief is not drawn between one person and another, normally, but rather down the inner souls of all of us.”

– Michael Novak


Areas of Interest

The Novak Family Foundation was created by Karen Laub-Novak and Michael Novak in 1994 to support work in areas that contribute to the development of the whole person.

During their lifetime, the Foundation supported Catholic education and cultural projects for the advancement of great art and, more broadly, the Catholic culture of our time. Such as:

  • Catholicism and Creativity

  • Arts and the Philosophy of Beauty

  • Religion and the American Founding

  • Free society

  • Belief and Unbelief

  • Intersection of philosophy, theology, and economics


Catholic University of America

Wanting to make a larger impact in Catholic education and cultural projects, upon their death, the founders bequeathed the majority of Novak Family Foundation’s funds to The Catholic University of America.

Fittingly, its final bequest seeded two separate time-limited endowments at Catholic University: The Karen Laub-Novak Art & Faith Scholarship in the Rome School of Music, Drama and Art and The Michael Novak Distinguished Visiting Scholar in Residence in the Busch School of Business.

Acton Institute

In addition, the Novak Family has also supported the legacies of Michael and Karen through the Acton Institute, especially through their Novak Award, which rewards “new outstanding scholarly research concerning the relationship between religion, economic freedom and the free and virtuous society.”

About the Founders

Karen Laub-Novak

Karen Laub-Novak (1937-2009) was a painter, sculptor, and printmaker. She studied under Oskar Kokoschka and Mauricio Lasansky, and received an MFA from the University of Iowa. She taught art and humanities at Carleton College, Stanford, Syracuse, Georgetown, Mount Vernon College, the University of California – Riverside, Impressions Studio in Boston, and CIDOC in Cuernavaca, Mexico. Her work has been exhibited across the U.S. and internationally.

Michael Novak

Michael Novak (1933-2017) held for thirty-two years the chair in religion and public policy at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, DC. He was the 1994 recipient of the Templeton Prize, bestowed on him in Buckingham Palace, and was on three occasions U.S. ambassador under Ronald Reagan. Novak authored and edited numerous influential books on economics, philosophy, and theology. His masterpiece, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism, was republished underground in Poland in 1984, and in Czechoslovakia, Germany, Hungary, Bangladesh, Korea, China, and many times in Latin America. He taught at Harvard, Stanford, SUNY Old Westbury, Syracuse, Notre Dame, Ave Maria University, and the Catholic University of America. For his work, he received many international awards.


The Novak Family Foundation will continue to support the legacies of its Founders through these and other charitable projects that honor areas close to their hearts.

The Novak Family Foundation 501(c)(3)

The Novak Family Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charity and your donation is deductible to the full extent of the law. All donations will be used to fund existing charitable projects in areas of special importance to its founders. Tax ID: 52-1909174