Non-profit

John Locke Foundation

Location:

RALEIGH, NC

Tax ID:

56-1656943

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Budget (2017):

Revenue: $3,621,482
Expenses: $3,396,192
Assets: $1,225,923

The John Locke Foundation is a right-of-center think tank based in Raleigh, North Carolina. It is named for John Locke, the 17th century English classical liberal political philosopher. [1]

In December 2020, the John Locke Foundation merged with the Civitas Institute, which began in North Carolina with a similar mission in 2005. The combined organization will keep the John Locke Foundation name. [2]

Background

The John Locke Foundation is a North Carolina-based free-market think tank established in 1990. The John Locke Foundation is a member of the State Policy Network, a coalition of free-market state-level policy organizations. [3]

In December 2020, the John Locke Foundation merged with the Civitas Institute, which began in North Carolina with a similar mission in 2005. The combined organization will keep the John Locke Foundation name. [4] Both the John Locke Foundation and the Civitas Institute were financially supported by the family of Art Pope, chairman of the John William Pope Foundation. [5]

Journalism and Commentary

The John Locke Foundation operates media outlet that claim to reach 185,000 people. [6] The organization publishes the Carolina Journal as a monthly newspaper, which has a readership of 130,000 people, including online readers and those who receive the paper by mail and through partnerships with local newspapers. The Foundation aims to use the paper to fill a “void” in investigative journalism as traditional newspapers and mainstream media outlets cut print budgets. [7]

In 1997, the Carolina Journal’s executive editor, Don Carrington, reported on the existence of a  $21 million slush fund for North Carolina lawmakers, making news across the state. The Carolina Journal was also the first media outlet to report on questionable real estate dealings by North Carolina Governor Mike Easley (D) in 2006. The publication has claimed that the report spurred further investigations that eventually led former Gov. Easley to be convicted of a felony for campaign finance violations in 2010. [8]

The Foundation also organizes podcasts including HeadLocke and Carolina Journal Radio. [9] In addition to its paper, the John Locke Foundation publishes several blogs, including “Environment NC”;[10] “Right Angles, Squall Lines”;[11] and the “Locker Room.” [12]

Former John Locke Foundation president John Hood wrote a syndicated column carried by 50 newspapers in North Carolina. One column about Obamacare, entitled, “I Will Not Comply,” gained national attention when conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh read it on the air. [13]

Financing

As a journalism student at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, John Hood founded the right-of-center Carolina Critic magazine. This drew the attention of businessman and philanthropist John William Pope, which led to the founding of the John Locke Foundation. [14]

In 1989, three years after the John William Pope Foundation was incorporated, the Foundation allocated funding to create the John Locke Foundation. The John Locke Foundation then received major funding from the Pope Foundation for several decades, with the John Locke Foundation being among the Pope Foundation’s largest donation recipients. [15] In 2016 alone, the Pope Foundation donated $2,812,500 to the John Locke Foundation. Contributions to the Locke Foundation made up nearly 30% of the Pope Foundation’s total grants in 2016. [16]

In 2019, the John Locke Foundation reported $3,624,420 in revenue from grants and contributions. [17] That same year, the Pope Foundation reported $2,581,250 in grants made to the John Locke Foundation, providing over 71% of the John Locke Foundation’s total revenue from contributions in 2019. [18]

Leadership

Amy Cooke became the president of the John Locke Foundation in January 2020, overseeing an organization with a $3.5 million budget and staff of 26. [19] Cooke was previously the executive vice president for the Independence Institute, a free-market think tank in Colorado. Before that, she founded the Coalition of Ratepayers. [20] After the merger between Locke and Civitas, Cooke remained the CEO of the John Locke Foundation. [21]

After the merger, Civitas Institute CEO Donald Bryson became the John Locke Foundation president and chief strategy officer. [22] Before the Civitas position, Bryson was the state director of Americans for Prosperity’s North Carolina chapter. [23]

Brian Balfour is the senior vice president of research for the John Locke Foundation. He previously worked for the Civitas Institute. [24] Rick Henderson is the editor-in-chief of the Carolina Journal. He previously worked as an editor for Investor’s Business Daily, the Los Angeles Business Journal, and Reason. [25]

References

  1. About. John Locke Foundation. Accessed January 23, 2021. https://www.johnlocke.org/about-john-locke/ ^
  2. Associated Press. “North Carolina Right-Leaning Think Tanks Are Merging.” WUNC. December 10, 2020. Accessed January 23, 2021. https://www.wunc.org/post/north-carolina-right-leaning-think-tanks-are-merging ^
  3. John Locke Foundation. State Policy Network. Accessed January 23, 2021. https://spn.org/organization/john-locke-foundation/ ^
  4. Associated Press. “North Carolina Right-Leaning Think Tanks Are Merging.” WUNC. December 10, 2020. Accessed January 23, 2021. https://www.wunc.org/post/north-carolina-right-leaning-think-tanks-are-merging ^
  5. News Service Report. “Right-leaning think tanks John Locke Foundation, Civitas Institute merging.” Salisbury Post. December 11, 2020. Accessed January 23, 2021. https://www.salisburypost.com/2020/12/11/right-leaning-think-tanks-john-locke-foundation-civitas-institute-merging/ ^
  6. John Lock Foundation. CauseIQ. Accessed January 23, 2021. https://www.causeiq.com/organizations/the-john-locke-foundation,561656943/#section_programs ^
  7. John Locke Foundation. John William Pope Foundation. Accessed January 23, 2021. https://jwpf.org/stories/the-john-locke-foundation/ ^
  8. John Locke Foundation. John William Pope Foundation. Accessed January 23, 2021. https://jwpf.org/stories/the-john-locke-foundation/ ^
  9. John Locke Foundation. State Policy Network. Accessed January 23, 2021. https://spn.org/organization/john-locke-foundation/ ^
  10. John Locke Foundation. Ballotpedia. Accessed January 23, 2021. https://ballotpedia.org/John_Locke_Foundation ^
  11. John Locke Foundation. WRAL. Accessed January 23, 2021. https://www.wral.com/john-locke-foundation/12148346/ ^
  12. John Locke Foundation. John William Pope Foundation. Accessed January 23, 2021. https://jwpf.org/stories/the-john-locke-foundation/ ^
  13. Mayer, Jane. “State for Sale.” The New Yorker. October 10, 2011. Accessed January 23, 2021. https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2011/10/10/state-for-sale ^
  14. John Locke Foundation. John William Pope Foundation. Accessed January 23, 2021. https://jwpf.org/stories/the-john-locke-foundation/ ^
  15. Gold, Matea. “In N.C., Conservative Donor Art Pope Sits at Heart of Government He Helped Transform.” The Washington Post. WP Company, July 19, 2014. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/in-nc-conservative-donor-art-pope-sits-at-heart-of-government-he-helped-transform/2014/07/19/eece18ec-0d22-11e4-b8e5-d0de80767fc2_story.html. ^
  16. John William Pope Foundation. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax, (Form 990-PF), 2016. Part XV Attachment. ^
  17. John Locke Foundation. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax, (Form 990), 2019. Part I, Line 8. ^
  18. John William Pope Foundation. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax, (Form 990-PF), 2019. Part XV Attachment. ^
  19. Huffman, Dane. “Raleigh’s John Locke Foundation Hires New CEO.” Business Journal. January 23, 2020. Accessed January 23, 2021. https://www.bizjournals.com/triangle/news/2020/01/23/raleighs-john-locke-foundation-hires-new-ceo.html ^
  20. Amy O. Cooke. John Locke Foundation. Accessed January 23, 2021. https://www.johnlocke.org/person/amy-o-cooke/ ^
  21. News Service Report. “Right-leaning think tanks John Locke Foundation, Civitas Institute merging.” Salisbury Post. December 11, 2020. Accessed January 23, 2021. https://www.salisburypost.com/2020/12/11/right-leaning-think-tanks-john-locke-foundation-civitas-institute-merging/ ^
  22. News Service Report. “Right-leaning think tanks John Locke Foundation, Civitas Institute merging.” Salisbury Post. December 11, 2020. Accessed January 23, 2021. https://www.salisburypost.com/2020/12/11/right-leaning-think-tanks-john-locke-foundation-civitas-institute-merging/ ^
  23. Donald Bryson. John Locke Foundation. Accessed January 23, 2021. https://www.johnlocke.org/person/donald-bryson/ ^
  24. Brian Balfour. John Locke Foundation. Accessed January 23, 2021. https://www.johnlocke.org/person/brian-balfour/ ^
  25. Rick Henderson. John Locke Foundation. Accessed January 23, 2021. https://www.johnlocke.org/person/rick-henderson/ ^
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: June - May
  • Tax Exemption Received: February 1, 1990

  • 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
    2017 Jun Form 990 $3,621,482 $3,396,192 $1,225,923 $152,953 N $3,573,792 $3,996 $0 $132,400
    2016 Jun Form 990 $3,959,669 $3,425,195 $965,884 $106,041 N $3,927,153 $9,440 $0 $135,414 PDF
    2015 Jun Form 990 $3,370,975 $3,700,408 $432,610 $114,656 N $3,252,298 $101,624 $0 $714,323 PDF
    2014 Jun Form 990 $3,335,424 $3,335,981 $760,225 $119,319 N $3,267,466 $51,082 $0 $282,747 PDF
    2013 Jun Form 990 $3,425,041 $3,383,535 $748,434 $104,904 N $3,370,380 $34,817 $0 $276,075 PDF
    2012 Jun Form 990 $3,446,927 $3,401,906 $739,355 $138,532 N $3,383,236 $40,513 $318 $266,744 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    John Locke Foundation

    200 W MORGAN ST STE 100
    RALEIGH, NC 27601-1563