The OpenSky Policy Institute is a left-of-center public policy think tank and advocacy organization based in Nebraska. The institute focuses on promoting left-of-center budget and tax policies in the state of Nebraska. 1
The group is associated with the national left-of-center think tank the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities as one of more than 40 left-of-center think tanks in CBPP’s State Priorities Partnership. 2
The OpenSky Policy Institute advocated for and against tax and fiscal policy bills before the unicameral Nebraska Legislature. Members of the Nebraska Legislature are technically non-partisan, but most of the policies pushed by the institute support traditionally left of center policies such as higher taxes and increased government spending. 3
In 2015, the institute announced that seven former Nebraska legislators would serve as an advisory committee to provide advice on the tax and budget measures it frequently takes up in the legislature. They included former state Sens. Annette Dubas, a former candidate for the Democratic Party nomination for Governor of Nebraska;4 John Wightman; Steve Lathrop; Vickie McDonald; Don Pederson; Joel Johnson; and John Harms. 5
Renee Fry is the president and CEO of the Open Sky Policy Institute. Prior to joining OpenSky, Fry held a variety of roles in Nebraska politics and policy, including as the director of government affairs for the University of Nebraska Medical Center. 7 Fry earned a salary of approximately $145,000 in 2017. 8
Open Sky Policy Institute receives funding from a number of Nebraska-focused left-of-center funders, including the Sherwood Foundation run by Warren Buffett’s daughter Susan, the Weitz Family Foundation, and the Lozier Foundation. 9
- “OpenSky Policy Institute Fall Symposium” Nebraska Innovation Campus. Accessed October 2, 2019. https://innovate.unl.edu/events/opensky-policy-institute-fall-symposium
- “About.” State Priorities Partnership. Accessed October 3, 2019. http://statepriorities.org/about/.
- “Areas of Research”. Open Sky Policy Institute. Accessed October 2, 2019. https://www.openskypolicy.org/category/areas-of-research
- Tysver, Robynn. “State Sen. Annette Dubas Opens Campaign for Governor.” Omaha.com, September 22, 2013. https://www.omaha.com/news/state-sen-annette-dubas-opens-campaign-for-governor/article_22932857-5476-5a77-bddd-6c47ca565d7e.html.
- Associated Press. “7 former senators to advise OpenSky Policy Institute”. Omaha World Herald. June 15, 2015. Accessed October 2, 2019. https://www.omaha.com/news/legislature/former-senators-to-advise-opensky-policy-institute/article_cc1a81b4-1398-11e5-a9c9-a3c0c67748dc.html
- “State Priorities Partners”. State Priorities Partnership. Accessed October 2, 2018. https://statepriorities.org/state-priorities-partners/
- “Staff”. Open Sky Policy Institute. Accessed October 2, 2019. https://www.openskypolicy.org/about-us/staff
- Open Sky Policy Institute. IRS Form 990. 2017. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/453327969/201800649349300410/IRS990
- Data compiled by FoundationSearch.com subscription service, a project of Metasoft Systems, Inc., from forms filed with the IRS. Queries conducted October 3, 2019.
- Annie E. Casey Foundation, Return of a Private Foundation (Form 990-PF), 2013, Part XV Line 3
- Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990), 2017, Schedule I