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Phil Harvey (born April 25, 1938) is an American entrepreneur, philanthropist and libertarian who has set up large-scale programs that deliver subsidized contraceptives in poor countries. Harvey is the founder and former president of DKT International, the Washington, D.C.-based charity that implements family planning and HIV/AIDS prevention programs in 57 countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America. He is the chief sponsor of the DKT Liberty Project which raises awareness about freedom of speech issues in the U.S. Harvey is also the president of Adam & Eve, the North Carolina–based company that sells sex toys, adult films and condoms. Consequently, he has been called “one of the most influential figures in the American sex industry today”.
Over these years, Harvey has used profits from Adam & Eve to supplement support from international donors to protect millions of poor couples from unwanted pregnancies and HIV infections. In 2019, DKT International provided couples 47.8 million years of protection.
Harvey was born in Evanston, Illinois to William Dow Harvey and Lucy Smith Harvey as the youngest of five siblings on April 25, 1938. He attended Harvard College from 1957 and received his bachelor’s degree in 1961 in Slavic languages and literature. Between 1960 and 1962, he served in the army and was based at Ft. Meade, Maryland. He then joined the international charity CARE in 1963 to work in India. His five years’ work with CARE on large-scale feeding programs for rapidly growing numbers of Indian children convinced Harvey of the importance of family planning and planted the first seeds in his mind of starting an initiative that could address the issue on a global scale.
Harvey returned to the U.S. in 1969 and enrolled in the University of North Carolina’s master’s degree program in family planning administration. One of his classmates was Tim Black, a British physician (who went on to found Marie Stopes International, a large British charity also focused on family planning services). Harvey and Black founded Population Services International in 1970 which today works in almost 70 countries with an annual budget of $683 million (2011). Harvey served as executive director of PSI from 1970 to 1977 and remained on the PSI Board until 2003.
He co-founded Population Services International (PSI) with Tim Black in 1970. He co-founded Adam & Eve in 1972 and continues as its president. He founded DKT International in 1989 and stepped down as its president and chief executive on Dec. 31, 2013.
Harvey served as executive producer on the 2015 documentary about censorship in comedy, Can We Take a Joke?, and the 2020 free speech documentary about former ACLU Executive Director Ira Glasser, Mighty Ira.
The Human Cost of Welfare: How the System Hurts the People It’s Supposed to Help (2016) with Lisa Conyers – Drawing on research including interviews with men and women on welfare, this book shows how welfare programs keep people from working with crippling consequences not only for them but for our whole country.
Show Time (2012) – Harvey’s first novel is a psychological thriller that takes on reality shows.
Government Creep: What Government Is Doing That You Don’t Know About (2003) – Strip searches, confiscated homes, stolen children, denial of due process. Sounds like life in a Third World country, but this is our own federal government invading our personal lives, supposedly for our own good.
The Government vs. Erotica (2001) – Harvey traces the various prosecutions of his company, Adam & Eve, which started as a mail-order supplier of condoms, then branched into the distribution of adult films and sexual paraphernalia.
Let Every Child Be Wanted: How Social Marketing is Revolutionizing Contraceptive Use Around the World (1999) – This book provides the only comprehensive examination of contraceptive social marketing, documenting a form of international assistance that has attracted support from governments, foundations and other donors.
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