Neal Freeman of the Foundation Management Institute called Michael Joyce "the chief operating officer of the conservative movement.... Over the period of his Bradley service, it's difficult to recall a single, serious thrust against incumbent liberalism that did not begin or end with Mike Joyce."
From his perch at the top of the John Olin Foundation, another conservative heavyweight, Mr. Joyce took over the brand-new Bradley Foundation in 1985 when it began with $280 million from the sale of Milwaukee electronics giant Allen-Bradley to Rockwell. Despite giving away almost $300 million in grants, Mr. Joyce is turning over the keys to a foundation that now lists assets of $700 million. It's the 68th largest foundation in America, and Mr. Joyce oversaw $44 million in grants last year.
"I had no immediate offers or opportunities" upon retirement, he said, but "I did place my trust in providence." Just then, along came Paul Fleming, the Phoenix magnate of P.F. Chang's Chinese Bistro, a 25-state restaurant chain. "From his many years seeing faith heal in the center city of Phoenix, he was enriched in his own faith by what can be done." Together, they decided to form a tax-deductible group to educate corporations on faith-based charities. "I talked him out of putting it in Washington," Mr. Joyce said. "I visit Washington often, but when I leave, I always say, 'I'm going back to America.' I told him, be proud of your city."
Mr. Joyce continues to apply his vision of keeping the country from becoming a "prisoner to a hopeless progressivism" with his new enterprise. "At the end of the 19th century, liberals considered themselves the new Founding Fathers," he said. "They had their 100 years, and they made a mess of things. At the start of a new millennium, they are out of gas."