Non-profit

Independent Institute

The logo of the Independent Institute as of 2015. (link)
Website:

independent.org

Location:

OAKLAND, CA

Tax ID:

94-3008370

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Budget (2019):

Revenue: $4,179,442
Expenses: $3,903,889
Assets: $8,473,988

Formation:

1986

Type:

Nonprofit

Executive Director:

Graham Walker

Executive Director's Salary:

$168,071[36]

The Independent Institute is a nonpartisan public policy think tank that seeks to advance peaceful, free societies through its research and publications. The Independent Institute has seven educational centers that conduct research and present findings as public policy solutions for a wide range of social and economic issues. [1]

The Independent Institute is an associate member of the State Policy Network (SPN), a coalition of free-market state-level policy organizations. [2] While the Independent Institute is nonpartisan, members of its board of advisors have affiliations with the Republican Party. [3]

Activity

The Independent Institute is a nonpartisan public-policy think tank that publishes research, commentary, videos, and books covering a wide range of social and economic issues. [4]

The Independent Institute has seven educational centers: the Center on Culture and Civil Society, the Center on Educational Excellence, the Center on Entrepreneurial Innovation, the Center on Global Prosperity, the Center on Health and the Environment, the Center on Law and Justice, and the Center on Peace and Liberty. Each center’s goal is to create objective and fact-based discourse based on its research and proposed policy solutions. [5]

In 2021, the Independent Institute filed an amicus brief in support of Second Amendment rights. In its brief to the U.S. Supreme Court, the Independent Institute argued that the Second Amendment allows for individuals to carry a firearm outside of one’s home, despite current restrictions. The Independent Institute further argued in the brief that gun-free zones should be more narrowly confined, as the Second Amendment does not allow the government to declare broad, public gun-free zones. [6]

The Independent Institute has promoted free market economic policy and claimed that government stimulus programs, like the $1.9 trillion “coronavirus relief” bill, do not actually stimulate economic growth. The institute supports center-right economist Milton Friedman’s “Permanent Income Hypothesis,” which states that an unexpected boost to income will not stimulate the overall economy, as that money is usually saved or used to pay down debt. The Independent Institute claimed that there was a false correlation between government-enacted economic stimulus programs and economic growth following the COVID-19 pandemic, arguing that economies would recover naturally after shutdowns were lifted. [7]

The Independent Institute has supported efforts to depoliticize education policy. In response to curriculum proposed by the left-of-center 1619 Project, which stresses a race-centric approach to teaching American history, and the center-right 1776 Project, which formed as a response to the 1619 Project, the Independent Institute proposed the “490 B.C. Project.” The 490 B.C. Project seeks to implement a classical curriculum model. The Independent Institute claims that teaching classical history has the potential to close the current partisan divide in education by presenting the United States as being founded upon human accomplishments, including the Roman Republic, the Magna Carta, and the Enlightenment. [8]

The Independent Institute has also advocated for a decentralized education system, including the implementation of school choice programs and increased charter schools. [9]

The Independent Institute’s other projects include Catalyst, a solutions-oriented website aimed at promoting free market ideals in the younger generation;[10] MyCostGov.org, an online tool that calculates an individual’s lifetime federal tax liability;[11] FDAReview.org, which serves as a watchdog of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA);[12] and OnPower.org, a collection of publications discussing the impact of government control on individuals. [13] The Independent Institute also publishes a quarterly newsletter, “The Independent,” and a and weekly email newsletter, “The Lighthouse.” [14]

Funding

The Independent Institute is funded by donations from individuals, foundations, and corporations. Tax filings confirm donations from the Chicago Community Trust (CCT) ($421,430 in 2018), [15] the Dupage Community Foundation ($105,000 in 2018), [16] and the David H. Koch Charitable Foundation ($50,000 in 2001). [17]

Staff

David Theroux is the founder, president, and CEO of the Independent Institute. Theroux formerly worked as founding vice president and director of academic affairs at the libertarian Cato Institute and as president of the Pacific Research Institute. [18]

Graham Walker is the executive director of the Independent Institute. Walker sits on the board of the Institute on Religion and Democracy and is a former research fellow at Pew Charitable Trusts. [19]

Burton Abrams is a research fellow at the Independent Institute and the director of MyGovCost.org. Abrams formerly worked as a staff economist at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and as a national fellow at the right-of-center Hoover Institution. [20]

Ivan Eland is a senior fellow and director of the Center on Peace and Liberty at the Independent Institute. Eland formerly worked as the director of defense policy studies at the Cato Institute. [21]

Williamson Evers is a senior fellow and director of the Center on Educational Excellence at the Independent Institute. Evers formerly worked as the U.S. Assistant Secretary of Education for Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development and as a research fellow at the Hoover Institution. Evers was the head of the Trump administration’s agency review team for the U.S. Department of Education. [22]

Lawrence McQuillan is a senior fellow and director of the Center on Entrepreneurial Innovation at the Independent Institute. McQuillan formerly worked as the chief economist at the Illinois Policy Institute and as the director of business and economic studies at the Pacific Research Institute. McQuillan is a former research fellow at the Hoover Institution. [23]

Board of Advisors

The Independent Institute board of advisors includes a number of think tank affiliates, including Robert Crandall, a senior fellow in economic studies at the Brookings Institution; Richard Epstein, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution; Victor Davis Hanson, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution; and Richard Stroup, a co-founder and senior fellow emeritus at the Property and Environment Research Center. [24] [25] [26] [27]

Board of Directors

Independent Institute board member Steve Hanke is a senior fellow and the director of the Troubled Currencies Project at the Cato Institute. Hanke formerly worked as a senior economist for the Council of Economic Advisers and as a senior advisor to the Joint Economic Committee during the Reagan administration. [28]

Fellow board member Lawrence Kudlow formerly worked as the director of the National Economic Council, and board member Paul Rubin was also a senior staff economist to the Council of Economic Advisers in the Reagan administration. [29] [30] Thomas Gale Moore, now an Independent Institute Board member and senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, also served as a member of the Council of Economic Advisers during the Reagan administration. [31]

Independent Institute board member Wendy Kaminer sits on the boards of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, and the Secular Coalition for America. [32]

June O’Neill is a former member of the National Bureau of Economic Research, a former program director at the Urban Institute, and a former research associate in economic studies at the Brookings Institution. [33]

Charles Phelps is a fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research. [34]

Todd Zywicki is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute. Zywicki serves on the boards of the Institute for Humane Studies, the Bill of Rights Institute, the Foundation for Research on Economics and the Environment, the Center for Excellence in Higher Education, and the Competitive Enterprise Institute. [35]

References

  1. “About the Independent Institute.” Independent Institute, 2021. Accessed August 18, 2021. https://www.independent.org/aboutus/. ^
  2. “The Network: California.” State Policy Network, 2021. Accessed August 18, 2021. https://spn.org/directory/#CA. ^
  3. “The Network: California.” State Policy Network, 2021. Accessed August 18, 2021. https://spn.org/directory/#CA. ^
  4. “Issues.” Independent Institute, 2021. Accessed August 18, 2021. https://www.independent.org/issues/. ^
  5. “Centers.” Independent Institute, 2021. Accessed August 18, 2021. https://www.independent.org/centers/. ^
  6. “Independent Institute Files Amicus Curiae Brief in Second Amendment US Supreme Court Case.” Independent Institute, July 23, 2021. Accessed August 23, 2021. https://www.independent.org/news/news_detail.asp?newsid=2289. ^
  7. “Does Government ‘Stimulus’ Really Stimulate” Independent Institute, March 30, 2021. Accessed August 23, 2021. https://www.independent.org/news/news_detail.asp?newsid=2282. ^
  8. Hunter, Morgan E., Evers, Williamson M., and Hanson, Victor Davis. “Is It Time for a ‘490 B.C. Project’?” Independent Institute, September 23, 2020. Accessed August 23, 2021. https://www.independent.org/publications/policy_reports/detail.asp?id=13268#s2. ^
  9. “Education.” Independent Institute, 2021. Accessed August 23, 2021. https://www.independent.org/issues/detail.asp?id=5. ^
  10. “About Catalyst.” Catalyst, 2021. Accessed August 23, 2021. https://catalyst.independent.org/about/. ^
  11. “About.” MyGovCost.org, 2021. Accessed August 23, 2021. http://www.mygovcost.org/about/. ^
  12. “About FDAReview.org.” FDAReview.org, 2021. Accessed August 23, 2021. https://www.fdareview.org/about-fdareview/. ^
  13. “Home.” OnPower.org, 2021. Accessed August 23, 2021. http://www.onpower.org/index.html. ^
  14. “About the Independent Institute.” Independent Institute, 2021. Accessed August 18, 2021. https://www.independent.org/aboutus/. ^
  15. The Chicago Community Trust, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990), 2018, Schedule I, Part II. ^
  16. The Dupage Community Foundation, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990), 2018, Schedule I, Part II. ^
  17. David H. Koch Charitable Foundation, Return of Private Foundation (Form 990-PF), 2001, Part XV, Line 3a. ^
  18. “David J. Theroux.” Independent Institute, 2021. Accessed August 18, 2021. https://www.independent.org/aboutus/person_detail.asp?id=531. ^
  19. “Graham H. Walker.” Independent Institute, 2021. Accessed August 18, 2021. https://www.independent.org/aboutus/person_detail.asp?id=3959. ^
  20. “Burton A. Abrams.” Independent Institute, 2021. Accessed August 18, 2021. https://www.independent.org/aboutus/person_detail.asp?id=1562. ^
  21. “Ivan Eland.” Independent Institute, 2021. Accessed August 18, 2021. https://www.independent.org/aboutus/person_detail.asp?id=487. ^
  22. “Williamson M. Evers.” Independent Institute, 2021. Accessed August 18, 2021. https://www.independent.org/aboutus/person_detail.asp?id=270. ^
  23. “Lawrence J. McQuillan.” Independent Institute, 2021. Accessed August 18, 2021. https://www.independent.org/aboutus/person_detail.asp?id=1654. ^
  24. “Richard L. Stroup.” Independent Institute, 2021. Accessed August 18, 2021. https://www.independent.org/aboutus/person_detail.asp?id=318. ^
  25. “Victor Davis Hanson.” Independent Institute, 2021. Accessed August 18, 2021. https://www.independent.org/aboutus/person_detail.asp?id=4125. ^
  26. “Richard A. Epstein.” Independent Institute, 2021. Accessed August 18, 2021. https://www.independent.org/aboutus/person_detail.asp?id=836. ^
  27. “Robert W. Crandall.” Independent Institute, 2021. Accessed August 18, 2021. https://www.independent.org/aboutus/person_detail.asp?id=128. ^
  28. “Steve H. Hanke.” Independent Institute, 2021. Accessed August 18, 2021. https://www.independent.org/aboutus/person_detail.asp?id=516. ^
  29. “Lawrence A. Kudlow.” Independent Institute, 2021. Accessed August 18, 2021. https://www.independent.org/aboutus/person_detail.asp?id=383. ^
  30. “Paul H. Rubin.” Independent Institute, 2021. Accessed August 18, 2021. https://www.independent.org/aboutus/person_detail.asp?id=542. ^
  31. “Thomas Gale Moore.” Independent Institute, 2021. Accessed August 18, 2021. https://www.independent.org/aboutus/person_detail.asp?id=503. ^
  32. “Wendy Kaminer.” Independent Institute, 2021. Accessed August 18, 2021. https://www.independent.org/aboutus/person_detail.asp?id=382. ^
  33. “June O’Neill.” Independent Institute, 2021. Accessed August 18, 2021. https://www.independent.org/aboutus/person_detail.asp?id=392. ^
  34. “Charles E. Phelps.” Independent Institute, 2021. Accessed August 18, 2021. https://www.independent.org/aboutus/person_detail.asp?id=394. ^
  35. “Todd J. Zywicki.” Independent Institute, 2021. Accessed August 18, 2021. https://www.independent.org/aboutus/person_detail.asp?id=1035. ^
  36. The Independent Institute, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990), 2019, Part VII, Section A, Line 1a. ^

Coalition Memberships

  1. State Policy Network (SPN)
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: June - May
  • Tax Exemption Received: May 1, 1986

  • 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
    2019 Jun Form 990 $4,179,442 $3,903,889 $8,473,988 $194,293 N $3,590,505 $114,009 $219,305 $227,629 PDF
    2018 Jun Form 990 $3,013,395 $3,196,579 $8,256,487 $85,156 N $2,772,324 $37,599 $163,207 $231,479 PDF
    2017 Jun Form 990 $2,289,924 $2,776,763 $8,407,846 $109,575 N $2,134,796 $69,642 $93,648 $222,406 PDF
    2016 Jun Form 990 $4,736,407 $2,721,389 $8,643,887 $77,608 N $4,604,999 $52,206 $205,001 $104,074 PDF
    2015 Jun Form 990 $3,130,588 $2,694,303 $6,474,417 $79,746 N $2,750,499 $168,553 $201,443 $117,046 PDF
    2014 Jun Form 990 $2,775,869 $2,521,854 $5,952,282 $88,367 N $2,388,547 $245,680 $153,606 $114,756 PDF
    2013 Jun Form 990 $3,063,847 $2,387,482 $5,137,460 $125,617 N $2,265,086 $183,379 $73,326 $114,066 PDF
    2012 Jun Form 990 $2,496,265 $2,400,305 $4,892,216 $143,619 N $2,294,528 $169,707 $79,382 $112,774 PDF
    2011 Jun Form 990 $2,647,561 $2,308,840 $4,201,404 $79,596 N $2,307,595 $157,989 $79,950 $114,758 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Independent Institute

    100 SWAN WAY STE 200
    OAKLAND, CA 94621-1459