Non-profit

Civitas Institute

Tax ID:

20-2454741

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Budget (2020):

Revenue: $2,006,379
Expenses: $1,580,160
Assets: $2,386,582

Website:

nccivitas.org

Location:

Raleigh, NC

Formation:

2019

Type:

Non-Profit

President:

Donald Bryson

President's Salary:

$160,400 [14]

The Civitas Institute (formerly the John William Pope Civitas Institute) was a conservative public policy think tank based in Raleigh, North Carolina. The Institute aimed to remove barriers to freedom, hold elected officials accountable, and increase transparency in state government and mainstream media. [1]

As of January 1, 2021, the Civitas Institute merged with the John Locke Foundation, another right-leaning public policy organization in North Carolina. Civitas Action, a 501(c)(4) non-profit, is its sister organization. [2]

The Civitas Institute is a former affiliate member of the State Policy Network, a coalition of free-market state-level policy organizations. [3]

Activity

The Civitas Institute advocates for conservative tax reform and in an October 2020 article claimed that reductions in North Carolina’s sales tax rate, enacted under a Republican majority, had helped working families. The Institute further claimed that the larger standard deduction eliminated a state tax bill for low-income households. Additionally, the Civitas Institute claimed that lowering North Carolina’s business tax to 2%, the lowest of any state with a corporate tax, has made the state more competitive for jobs and investment. The Institute points to research from the Tax Foundation showing that North Carolina’s state business tax climate changed from 7th-worst in the U.S. in 2012 to 17th-best in 2013. [4]

The Civitas Institute advocates for education reforms that include school choice and the use of statewide education savings accounts (ESA). A 2020 study conducted with the Reason Foundation found that enacting ESAs in North Carolina could empower parents to choose better educational options, increase high school graduation rates, and increase lifetime earnings for students who benefit from the program. Additionally, the study found that ESAs have the potential to reduce crime, save taxpayers money, and positively affect local economies. [5]

In 2020, the Civitas Institute introduced the Civitas Partisan Index (CPI) as a way to measure the partisan leanings of state legislative districts compared to North Carolina as a whole. The Institute notes that court-mandated redistricting has changed the CPI of many House and Senate districts and the CPI is not meant to predict elections. Rather, CPI creates a baseline measure for journalists and researchers in their examinations of legislative races in North Carolina. [6]

Funding

The Civitas Institute is funded by donations from individuals, foundations, and corporations. The Civitas Institute has not disclosed its donors since its formation in 2019. Prior to that, the John William Pope Civitas Institute was organized as a private foundation and required to disclose its donors and in 2015, tax filings confirm notable donations from the John William Pope Foundation ($1.1 million), [7] the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation ($550,000), [8] and the State Policy Network ($44,000). [9]

Staff

Donald Bryson is president and CEO of the Civitas Institute and a member of the American Enterprise Institute’s Leadership Network. Bryson formerly worked as North Carolina state director of Americans for Prosperity. [10]

Michael Harden is the director of agriculture studies and outreach. Harden formerly worked as the senior director of development at the State Policy Network and the Georgia state director of Americans for Prosperity. Harden served two terms in the Georgia House of Representatives as a Republican. [11]

Board of Trustees

Art Pope, son of John William Pope, is the chair of the board of the Civitas Institute, the John William Pope Foundation, and the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation. Pope currently sits on the board of the Institute for Humane Studies at George Mason University and formerly sat on the boards of Americans for Prosperity, the John Locke Foundation, the Atlas Economic Research Foundation, the Jesse Helms Center, the Institute of Political Leadership, the North Carolina FreeEnterprise Foundation, and the North Carolina Institute for Constitutional Law. Pope served four terms in the North Carolina House of Representatives as a Republican. [12]

Paul “Skip” Stam is the vice chair and secretary of the board of the John Locke Foundation. Stam served North Carolina House of Representatives as the House Republican Leader. [13]

References

  1. “Mission.” Civitas Institute, 2021. Accessed December 1, 2021. https://www.nccivitas.org/mission/. ^
  2. Medina, Brooke. “John Locke Foundation and Civitas Institute to Join Forces.” Civitas Institute, December 10, 2020. Accessed December 5, 2021. https://www.nccivitas.org/2020/john-locke-foundation-civitas-institute-join-forces/. ^
  3. “The Network: North Carolina.” State Policy Network, 2019. Archived from the original April 1, 2019. Accessed December 1, 2021. http://web.archive.org/web/20190401062846/https://spn.org/directory/#NC. ^
  4. Balfour, Brian. “Conservative tax reforms paying off for NC families.” Civitas Institute, October 27, 2020. Accessed December 6, 2021. https://www.nccivitas.org/2020/conservative-tax-reforms-paying-off-nc-families/. ^
  5. Luebke, Bob. “Civitas-Reason study highlights how ESAs can help parents, students and taxpayers.” Civitas Institute, October 7, 2020. Accessed December 6, 2021. https://www.nccivitas.org/civitas-review/civitas-reason-study-highlights-esas-can-help-parents-students-taxpayers/. ^
  6. “Introducing the 2020 Civitas Partisan Index.” Civitas Institute, March 10, 2020. Accessed December 6, 2021. https://www.nccivitas.org/2020/introducing-2020-civitas-partisan-index/. ^
  7. John William Pope Foundation, Return of Private Foundation (Form 990-PF), 2015, Part XV, Line 3a. ^
  8. Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, Return of Private Foundation (Form 990-PF), 2015, Part XV, Line 3a. ^
  9. State Policy Network, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990), 2019, Schedule I, Part II. ^
  10. Civitas Action Inc, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990), 2017, Part IV. ^
  11. “Michael Harden.” Civitas Institute, 2021. Accessed December 1, 2021. https://www.nccivitas.org/team/donald-bryson/. ^
  12. “James Arthur ‘Art’ Pope.” John William Pope Foundation, 2021. Accessed December 1, 2021. https://jwpf.org/team/james-arthur-art-pope/. ^
  13. “Paul ‘Skip’ Stam.” John Locke Foundation, 2021. Accessed December 1, 2021. https://www.johnlocke.org/about/team/paul-skip-stam/. ^
  14. Civitas Institute Inc, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990), 2019, Part VII, Section A, Line 1a. ^
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: June - May
  • Tax Exemption Received: January 1, 2019

  • 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
    2020 Jun Form 990 $2,006,379 $1,580,160 $2,386,582 $76,615 N $1,971,948 $23,788 $90 $258,912 PDF
    2019 Jun Form 990 $1,346,135 $1,375,235 $782,229 $79,704 N $1,313,999 $17,281 $562 $202,534 PDF
    2015 Jun Form PF $1,906,327 $2,091,529 $510,034 $87,278 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2014 Jun Form PF $1,703,881 $1,537,092 $675,066 $75,307 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2013 Jun Form PF $1,861,191 $1,722,789 $480,315 $51,410 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2012 Jun Form PF $1,583,410 $1,489,622 $368,763 $78,260 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2011 Jun Form PF $1,384,584 $1,599,000 $255,763 $59,048 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)