The Center for National Policy (now called the Truman Center for National Policy) was founded by former liberal cabinet members and other officeholders after electoral defeats of the Democratic Party in the late twentieth century. In the early 2010s, the group partnered with the Truman National Security Project (TNSP) to serve as the Truman Project’s 501(c)(3) educational arm, becoming the Truman Center for National Policy.
The Center was originally led by Carter administration Secretary of State Cyrus Vance, former Duke University President and North Carolina Gov. Terry Sanford (D), and Ted Van Dyk, who would become CNP’s president. Van Dyk had served as Vice President Hubert Humphrey’s former assistant in the White House of President Lyndon Johnson and an active participant in Democratic party politics through much of the latter half of the 20th century.
According to Van Dyk, the
“Center for National Policy drew on every Democratic faction. A rethinking [after the 1980 election], we believed, could only be effective if consensus was reached internally.”
CNP attracted many notable figures in the Democratic party throughout the years, including former U.S. Representative Timothy J. Roemer (D-Indiana), who also served as U.S. Ambassador to India in the Obama administration. Madeleine Albright worked with CNP before she became Secretary of State under President Bill Clinton. 
CNP was over the course of its existence a left-of-center think tank predominantly focused on national security policy. It’s most up-to-date interest areas listed on its partially out of date home page include “understanding global threats,” “strengthening national resilience” in the face of “periodic catastrophes,” and “building next-generation infrastructure.”  CNP also focuses on issues of economic security, cyber espionage, energy independence, and U.S. foreign relations. 
Truman Project Merger
CNP formally joined with the Truman Project, a group founded in 2005 to develop national and foreign policy leadership  whose first office space was sublet from CNP, in 2013. The two organizations retained separate boards and kept both of their entire staffs, though the staff would thenceforth be shared.  Both organizations kept their names. 
Yet tax documents reveal that CNP’s IRS Employer Identification Number (EIN) remained linked to the “Center for National Policy” until 2014,  but the name formally changed to the “Truman Center for National Policy” in 2015. 
There is no complete list of donors to the Center for National Policy, however the center counted on the support of major left-wing foundations. From 1982 to 2007, the MacArthur Foundation, a traditional giver to left-wing organizations, gave the Center for National Policy over half a million dollars, including $25,000 in 1983, $250,000 in 2005, and $250,000 in 2007.
Meanwhile, the Carnegie Corporation of New York donated $500,000 in 2012 and $700,000 in 2014 to what it labeled as the “Truman Center for National Policy (formerly Center for National Policy).” Carnegie’s giving continued even after the Center for National Project’s Employer Identification Number transferred to the Truman Center for National Policy, donating $500,000 in 2016.
Below is a list of CNP’s Presidents:
- Founding-1986: Ted Van Dyk, former assistant to Vice President Humphrey 
- 1986-1989: Kirk O’Donnell, former chief counsel to Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill (D-Massachusetts) 
- 1989-1992: Madeleine Albright, former member of President Carter’s National Security Council and later Secretary of State under President Bill Clinton 
- 1993-2003: Maureen Steinbruner,  a longtime researcher for CNP 
- 2003-2010: former U.S. Rep. Timothy J. Roemer (D-Indiana) 
- 2010-2011: Dr. Stephen Flynn,  former senior fellow for National Security Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations and member of the presidential transition team for President Barack Obama 
- 2011-2015: Scott Bates,  former senior policy advisor to the House Homeland Security Committee 
Former U.S. Senator and Secretary of State under President Carter Ed Muskie (D-Maine)  as well as former Secretary of Defense under President Obama Leon Panetta  also served on the board of CNP.