"That idea of hardships being good for character and of talent always being able to break through is an old fallacy. Talent alone is helpless today. Any success requires both talent and luck. And the “luck” has to be helped along and provided by someone. … Talent does not survive all obstacles. In fact, in the face of hardships, talent is the first one to perish; the rarest plants are usually the most fragile. Our present-day struggle for existence is the coarsest and ugliest phenomenon that has ever appeared on earth. It takes a tough skin to face it, a very tough one. Are talented people born with tough skins? Hardly. In fact, the more talent one possesses the more sensitive one is, as a rule. And if there is a more tragic figure than a sensitive, worthwhile person facing life without money – I don’t know where it can be found. …
[H]elp for young talent …. not only provides human, decent living conditions which a poor beginner could not afford anywhere else, but it provides that other great necessity of life: understanding. It makes a beginner feel that he is not, after all, an intruder with all the world laughing at him and rejecting him at very step, but that there are people who consider it worthwhile to dedicate their work to helping and encouraging him. Isn’t such an organization worthy of everyone’s support? … So many gamble on roulette, and slot machines, and horses. Why not gamble for a change on human beings and human futures?"
Answer - no surprise really! - below the fold:
Ayn Rand, in Letter to Marjorie Williams (18 June 1936); in Letters of Ayn Rand, pp. 31-33.
(Hat tip to Neil Parille)