A large group of scholars seated at a horseshoe of tables having a discussion in a room with oil paintings and chandeliers

The Loeb Institute is housed within GW's Columbian College of Arts and Sciences through the philanthropy of Ambassador John L. Loeb, Jr. and the George Washington Institute for Religious Freedom

Ambassador Loeb founded the New York City-based George Washington Institute for Religious Freedom in 2009. The original institute offered educational programs based in New York and Newport, Rhode Island, and partnered with civic organizations to reach tens of thousands of students. Following a 2016 donation of $2.5 million by the John L. Loeb Jr. Foundation and the Institute for Religious Freedom, those educational programs were transferred over to GW.

Learn more about the $2.5 million gift that established the Loeb Institute at GW.


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"It is now no more that toleration is spoken of as if it were the indulgence of one class of people that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights, for, happily, the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens in giving it on all occasions their effectual support."

Read George Washington’s Letter to the Hebrew Congregation of Newport, Rhode Island.

News from the Institute



Video: To Bigotry No Sanction

What did George Washington and other Founders believe about religion? TO BIGOTRY NO SANCTION is a short film that addresses this and other questions.

Multicolored globe drawing

Loeb Institute Maps Religious Freedom

The CCAS Loeb Institute for Religious Freedom and Democracy launched a first-of-its-kind data framework ranking countries that protect religious rights—and those that restrict them.