Crispus Attucks

What is The Heartland Institute?
What is the history of The Heartland Institute?
What is the mission of The Heartland Institute?
Why rely on ideas that give less, rather than more, power to governments?
Why focus on building social movements?

Who is Joseph Bast?
Who is on the staff of The Heartland Institute?
Who serves on the Board of Directors of The Heartland Institute?
Who are The Heartland Institute's Policy Advisors?
Who are The Heartland Institute’s Senior Fellows?

What is Environment & Climate News?
What is Budget & Tax News?
What is Infotech & Telecom News?
What is Health Care News?
What is School Reform News?

How can I support The Heartland Institute?
Who funds The Heartland Institute?

Q: What is The Heartland Institute?

A: The Heartland Institute is a national nonprofit research and education organization, tax exempt under Section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code, headquartered in Chicago, and founded in 1984. It is not affiliated with any political party, business, or foundation.

Heartland’s mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems. Such solutions include parental choice in education, choice and personal responsibility in health care, market-based approaches to environmental protection, privatization of public services, and deregulation in areas where property rights and markets do a better job than government bureaucracies. [top]

Q: What is the history of The Heartland Institute?

A: The Heartland Institute is a national nonprofit organization headquartered in Chicago. It was founded in 1984 by Chicago businessman David H. Padden, who currently serves as the organization’s Chairman Emeritus.

The Heartland Institute is a genuinely independent source of research and commentary. It is not affiliated with any political party, business, or foundation. Its activities are tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.  [top]

Q: Why rely on ideas that give less, rather than more, power to governments?

A: During the final two decades of the twentieth century, the twin socialist ideals of statism (government management of the economy) and collectivism (groups, and only groups, have rights and obligations) were discredited by a series of events brought about by the tireless work of a small number of exceptional individuals. The collapse of the Soviet Union, the unification of Germany, and the embrace of democratic capitalism by the best and brightest minds in the world, and the growth of the digital economy . . . together, these events profoundly changed the public debate over public policy issues.

Today, there is widespread agreement that civil and economic freedoms are indivisible, and that we ought to rely less on government and more on individuals and the institutions of civil society. After two centuries of wars, experiments with communism, and detours into political correctness, we finally have learned the limits of politics.

We have returned, in many ways, to the insights of 1776: Adam Smith’s, that wealth and prosperity are most likely when governments are not allowed to interfere in the operations of markets; and the Founding Fathers’, that centralized authority and powerful governments are the gravest threats to our life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness.  [top]

 Q: Why focus on building social movements?

A: The intellectual battle for classical liberal ideas property rights, individual freedom, and limited government has been won. To be sure, the battle must be continuously refought, lest we return to conditions as they were from about 1930 until the 1960s, when the vision of a free society failed to stimulate the imagination of the next generation’s best and brightest. (See Friedrich Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom for a lone voice in opposition to the spirit of those times.) But for the moment, at least, freedom and not servitude is the dominant value, and the need is less for books and scholarly articles proving the point, than for tools and tactics to implement our victorious ideas.

For despite the victory of libertarian ideas in universities and in the realm of public opinion, governments are refusing to step aside to allow free and empowered individuals to solve problems with property rights, markets, and contracts. In fact, we are witnessing the opposite: governments are growing even larger and more powerful than in the past, taking record shares of our income and interfering in ever-larger parts of our lives.

Large majorities of the American public want less government, not more. But as Mancur Olson and others have shown, all large groups are slow to organize, lazy about expressing their opinions, and easily divided against themselves. Smaller interest groups, which seek to profit at the expense of others by commandeering the powerful institutions of government, easily out-maneuver and defeat an unorganized and "rationally ignorant" general public. The mobilization of those who love freedom and justice requires deliberate intervention, by organizations such as The Heartland Institute, to make it happen.  [top]

Q: Who funds The Heartland Institute?

A: The Heartland Institute is a publicly supported charity under Section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code. Its funding comes from tax-deductible contributions from approximately 2,700 individuals, foundations, and corporations.

Heartland does not solicit or accept grants from government agencies, does not conduct contract research, and it does not rely on direct mail to raise money. No corporate donor contributes more than 5 percent of its annual budget.

People contribute to The Heartland Institute because they share our belief that better information and understanding can improve public policies in such important areas as education, environmental protection, and health care. For more than two decades, Heartland authors have discovered and promoted free-market solutions to social and economic problems.

We do not take positions in order to appease or avoid losing support from individual donors. We have, in fact, a long record of standing behind our research even when it means losing the support of major donors.

For many years, we provided a complete list of Heartland’s corporate and foundation donors on this Web site and challenged other think tanks and advocacy groups to do the same. To our knowledge, not a single group followed our lead.

After much deliberation and with some regret, we now keep confidential the identities of all our donors for the following reasons:

  • People who disagree with our views have taken to selectively disclosing names of donors who they think are unpopular in order to avoid addressing the merits of our positions. Listing our donors makes this unfair and misleading tactic possible. By not disclosing our donors, we keep the focus on the issue.
  • We have procedures in place that protect our writers and editors from undue influence by donors. This makes the identities of our donors irrelevant.
  • We frequently take positions at odds with those of the individuals and companies who fund us, so it is unfair to them as well as to us to mention their funding when expressing our point of view.
  • No corporate donor gives more than 5 percent of our budget, and most give far less than that. We have a diverse funding base that is too large to accurately summarize each time we issue a statement.

If you do not approve of this policy, your argument is not with us but with those who would abuse a sincere effort at transparency. We urge anyone who sees the need for objective research and commentary on public policy issues to join us as a Member or donor.  [top]