A Think Tank for Family Reinforcement

  • Public-Policy Reform
  • 1988

When Michigan auto-parts executive Edgar Prince visited Christian radio personality James Dobson in Colorado in 1988, he learned that Dobson was trying to raise $1 million to jumpstart the Family Research Council, a small and languishing think tank. Prince immediately pledged the full amount, a contribution that allowed Gary Bauer to join FRC as its president. This launched a phase of rapid growth for FRC, giving religious conservatives and Americans concerned with family breakdown an institutional voice they previously lacked in Washington public-policy circles. By the late 1990s, the FRC had grown into a major organization, with a budget of $14 million, 120 employees, and its own building in the nation’s capital. The organization played a role in Supreme Court confirmation battles, passage of child tax credits, the ban on partial-birth abortion, and many other issue debates.