Non-profit

Aspen Institute

Location:

WASHINGTON, DC

Tax ID:

84-0399006

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Budget (2016):

Revenue: $120,298,699
Expenses: $114,454,026
Assets: $296,191,659

Aspen Institute is a think tank focusing on leadership, common ground, and exchanging discussions in a non-partisan and non-ideological manner. Aspen Institute operates Aspen Strategy Group, a group for former lawmakers, journalists, academics, and business leaders to discuss foreign policy and national security; Aspen Center for Physics, a non-profit focused on physics research including a summer retreat for physics academics; and a Communications and Society program. Aspen Institute also hosts Aspen Music Festival and co-hosts Aspen Ideas Festival along with the left-of-center publication The Atlantic. [1]

The current CEO is Daniel R. Porterfield, former president of Franklin and Marshall College and former Georgetown University administrator. [2]

History

Aspen Institute was founded in 1949 as the Aspen Institute for Humanistic Studies by Chicago business leader Walter Paepcke. In 1945, Paepcke traveled to Aspen to visit the home of prominent architect Herbert Mayer. Inspired by the Great Books program at the University of Chicago for whom he served on their Board of Trustees, Paepcke and Mayer envisioned Aspen as a place for business leaders to run their companies based on higher values allowing “the human spirit to flourish.” [3]

In 1949, Paepcke launched the Aspen Institute with a 20-day celebration of the 200th birthday of German poet and philosopher Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Later in the year, he launched the Aspen Music Festival to showcase classical musicians and along with Herbert Mayer and oil tycoon Robert O. Anderson launched the International Design Conference. Alongside Anderson, Paepcke created the Aspen Institute Executive Seminar specifically for business leaders. [4][5][6]

In 1951, Aspen Institute sponsored a national photography contest conference attended by left-leaning environmentalist photographer Ansel Adams and left wing artist Ben Shahn. [7]

Throughout the 1960s and 70s, Aspen hosted countless conferences on topics ranging from philosophy, environment, race, business, foreign affairs, and numerous other topics. It was during this time that the Aspen Strategy Group and Aspen Center for Physics was founded. [8]

In 2013, Aspen Institute joined with The Atlantic and Bloomberg Philanthropies to develop the Aspen Ideas Festival which is hosted annually. The Atlantic and Bloomberg Philanthropies sponsor the website CityLab, which focuses on ideas to address concerns surrounding urbanization. [9]

Leadership

The current CEO is Daniel R. Porterfield who joined the organization in 2017 resigning as president of Franklin and Marshall College in Pennsylvania. Prior to his presidency at Franklin and Marshall College, Porterfield was a professor of literature and senior Vice President at Georgetown University. Porterfield was previously a senior aide for Donna Shalala, Secretary of Health and Human Services under President Bill Clinton. [10]

Walter Isaacson served as CEO of the Aspen Institute from 2003 to 2018. Issacson was CEO of CNN from 2001 to 2003, where he was criticized for trying to make the network more open to Republican and conservative viewpoints. From 1978 to 1996, he worked for Time magazine eventually becoming managing editor. Upon leaving the Aspen Institute, Isaacson returned to his hometown of New Orleans to teach at Tulane University. [11] [12] [13] [14]

References

  1. “2019 Aspen Ideas Festival.” Aspen Institute. Accessed July 17, 2019. https://www.aspeninstitute.org/publicprograms/ ^
  2. Caroll, Rick. “ Aspen Institute names Dan Porterfield as president and CEO”. Aspen Times. November 30, 2017. Accessed July 17, 2019. https://www.aspentimes.com/news/aspen-institute-names-dan-porterfield-as-president-and-ceo/ ^
  3. ”About Us.” Aspen Institute. Accessed July 17, 2019. https://www.aspeninstitute.org/about/heritage/ ^
  4. Saxon, Wolfgang. “Elizabeth Paepcke, 91, a Force in Turning Aspen Into a Resort.” New York Times. June 18, 1994. Accessed July 17, 2019. https://www.nytimes.com/1994/06/18/obituaries/elizabeth-paepcke-91-a-force-in-turning-aspen-into-a-resort.html?mtrref=en.wikipedia.org&gwh=A06F9F26E23774A38EE014C1B188BAA3&gwt=pay ^
  5. Glueck, Grace. “Herbert Bayer, 85, A Designer and Artist of Bauhas School”. New York Times. October 1, 1985. Accessed July 17, 2019. https://www.nytimes.com/1985/10/01/arts/herbert-bayer-85-a-designer-and-artist-of-bauhaus-school.html ^
  6. Hechinger, Fred and Grace. “Aspen: A 4th Decade For Ancestor…Of A Growing Business Breed.” New York Times. August 30, 1981. Accessed July 17, 2019. https://www.nytimes.com/1981/08/30/education/aspen-a-4th-decade-for-ancestorof-a-growing-business-breed.html ^
  7. ”About Us.” Aspen Institute. Accessed July 17, 2019. https://www.aspeninstitute.org/about/heritage/ ^
  8. ”About Us.” Aspen Institute. Accessed July 17, 2019. https://www.aspeninstitute.org/about/heritage/ ^
  9. ”City Lab 2019”. The Atlantic. Accessed July 17, 2019. http://citylab2019.theatlantic.com/ ^
  10. ”Dan Porterfield Named Next Aspen Institute President and CEO”. Aspen Institute. November 30,2017. Accessed July 17, 2019. https://www.aspeninstitute.org/news/press-release/dan-porterfield-named-new-president-ceo-aspen-institute/ ^
  11. “Walter Issacson to Step Down as President and CEO of the Aspen Institute.” Business Insider. March 14, 2017. Accessed July 17, 2019.  https://markets.businessinsider.com/news/stocks/walter-isaacson-to-step-down-as-president-and-ceo-of-the-aspen-institute-1001835424 ^
  12. “New CNN Chief Trying to Please GOP elite”. Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting. August 15, 2001. Accessed July 17, 2019. https://fair.org/take-action/action-alerts/new-cnn-chief-trying-to-please-gop-elite/ ^
  13. Pogrebin, Robin. “At Work and At Play, Time’s Editor Seeks To Keep Magazine Vigorous At 75.” New York Times. March 9, 1998. Accessed July 17, 2019. https://www.nytimes.com/1998/03/09/business/at-work-and-at-play-time-s-editor-seeks-to-keep-magazine-vigorous-at-75.html ^
  14. Adelson, Jeff. “Walter Issacson to leave Aspen Institute, plans to teach at Tulane and serve as partner in financial firm.” The Advocate. March 14, 2017. Accessed July 17, 2019. https://www.nola.com/news/article_40349c79-50d6-555e-a91e-0b4fcafa9cf0.html ^

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Gary Delgado
    Former Board Member
  2. Brian Deese
    Member, Economic Strategy Group
  3. Wally Adeyemo
    Member, Economic Strategy Group
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: February 1, 1951

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2016 Dec Form 990 $120,298,699 $114,454,026 $296,191,659 $23,279,508 Y $85,321,334 $34,507,947 $222,180 $2,530,397
    2015 Dec Form 990 $142,854,526 $101,379,117 $278,242,256 $19,264,679 Y $111,928,714 $30,455,451 $268,197 $2,827,404 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990 $96,464,217 $91,362,830 $232,206,093 $16,794,826 Y $68,633,372 $28,384,520 $205,403 $2,619,714 PDF
    2013 Dec Form 990 $93,242,479 $82,126,112 $220,838,386 $14,337,183 Y $68,204,184 $24,769,782 $220,858 $2,742,688 PDF
    2012 Dec Form 990 $95,477,286 $72,751,605 $198,233,363 $12,229,433 Y $71,686,768 $23,406,105 $184,584 $2,638,236 PDF
    2011 Dec Form 990 $73,292,367 $73,880,949 $169,299,444 $11,571,805 Y $49,664,114 $22,627,623 $220,640 $2,538,518 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Aspen Institute

    1 DUPONT CIR NW STE 700
    WASHINGTON, DC 20036-1133