“A real education is a liberation.” — Friedrich Nietzsche

On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther nailed his Ninety-Five Theses to a church door in Wittenberg to protest the sale of indulgences. These were pieces of paper the establishment church sold at great cost, telling people it would save their souls. The church made a fortune doing it. Likewise, universities today are selling a piece of paper at great cost and telling people that buying it is the only way they can save their souls. Universities call it a diploma, and they’re making a fortune doing it. Call us heretical if you like, but the 1517 Fund is dedicated to dispelling that paper illusion. Extraordinary careers are possible outside tracked institutions. 

1517 marks a turning point in history where great social transformations were wrought by technology. Though Gutenberg’s revolution had been in action for more than fifty years, the mass adoption and diffusion of the printing press meant Luther’s message could influence all of Europe, and not only the people of a small town in Germany. Authority on questions of great importance no longer had to come from priests or royalty. It could come from books, and even more dangerously for the establishment, from an individual’s own judgment. Many current technological and social trends point to our future rhyming with this past. We intend to make it so.