Donors and Think Tanks
John J. Miller’s September/October 2006 Philanthropy cover article, “Transforming Public Policy: The Evolving Relationship Between Donors and Think Tanks,” surveyed the history and development of public policy research think tanks in America well.
Considering the length of the article, I was disappointed by Mr. Miller’s cursory treatment of the market-oriented state think tank movement and State Policy Network, the national service organization that was created to assist it. To his credit, he gave the Mackinac Center in Michigan and the John Locke Foundation in North Carolina, both exemplary state policy organizations, a lot of ink.
It should also be noted that Tom Roe, a generous supporter of state think tanks and founder of State Policy Network, adamantly opposed franchising the Heritage Foundation or any other national group in the states. Tom knew independent, home-grown organizations run by local entrepreneurs were the only viable model for local markets. With 48 think tanks in 42 states, I believe history has proven him right.
New York, New York