Non-profit

Think Freely Media

Website:

thinkfreelymedia.org

Location:

Chicago, IL

Tax ID:

27-1110796

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Budget (2017):

Revenue: $1,639,498
Expenses: $1,518,362
Assets: $219,387

Formation:

2010

Type:

Non-profit

President:

Eric Tubbs

President's Salary:

$89,283[21]

Think Freely Media (TFM) is a media organization that supports individual liberty and free enterprise. TFM advocates for these ideas in both law and culture[1] by producing content, making grants, and sponsoring tournaments. [2]

Think Freely Media is a former associate member of the State Policy Network (SPN) and continues to have a presence on SPN’s website. [3]

Activity

TFM hosts an annual Great Communicators Summit, which in 2019 featured speakers like John Tillman, CEO of the Illinois Policy Institute; Melissa Mann, vice president of communications of the Atlas Network; and Richard Lorenc, executive vice president of the Foundation For Economic Education. [4]

TFM produces the web series “American + Will” which features short documentary-style videos highlighting Americans who work hard and overcome obstacles in order to achieve their goals and improve their communities. [5] The videos are intended to show people who have achieved success through free enterprise, individual liberty, and less dependence on government. [6]

The Great Communicators Tournament has been held since 2014 in order to find speakers who can persuasively discuss and defend the benefits of the free market and individual liberty. TFM seeks speakers to advance its pro-liberty agenda in public policy and political debates. Criteria to participate include hopefulness, addressing issues of fairness, putting opponents of free enterprise on the defensive, persuading the audience to want more freedom, and “taking the moral high ground.” [7]  TFM defines this as positioning free enterprise as better for everyone by using personal stories as a way to appeal to an audience’s emotions instead of arguments based on facts and figures. [8]

The Think Freely Marketing program creates partnerships with other pro-liberty organizations to help amplify TFM’s message. [9]

Funding

Think Freely Media does not disclose its donors as is its right under federal tax law; however tax filings show the following donations:

People

President Eric Tubbs works as the secretary and treasurer of Think Freely Media and formerly served on the boards of the Sam Adams Alliance and the Sanilac County Economic Development Corporation. [16]
Board chair John Tillman is the CEO of the Illinois Policy Institute, co-founder and former president and COO of the Sam Adams Alliance, and the former president of Americans for Limited Government. [17] Tillman came under scrutiny in 2018 for alleged non-profit federal tax code violations to which he stated that all transactions were appropriate, “fully disclosed,” and at fair market value. Tillman also stated that he recused himself from any decisions involving any organizations with which he was affiliated. [18]

Scott Barbee serves on the boards of the Atlas Network, Young Voices, and the Donald and Paula Smith Family Foundation. [19] Other board members include Barry Burdiak and Carol Winfrey. [20]

References

  1. “About Us.” Think Freely, 2020. Accessed October 27, 2020. https://thinkfreelymedia.org/. ^
  2. “Great Communicators Summit.” Think Freely, 2020. Accessed October 27, 2020. https://thinkfreelymedia.org/great-communicators-summit/. ^
  3. “Think Freely Media.” State Policy Network, 2020. Accessed October 22, 2020. https://spn.org/organization/think-freely-media/. ^
  4. “Great Communicators Summit.” Think Freely, 2020. Accessed October 27, 2020. https://thinkfreelymedia.org/great-communicators-summit/. ^
  5. “About Us.” American + Will, 2020. Accessed October 27, 2020. https://americanwill.com/about-us/. ^
  6. “Think Freely Media Launches New Web Series.” State Policy Network, October 25, 2019. Accessed October 27, 2020. https://spn.org/think-freely-media-launches-new-web-series/. ^
  7. “Great Communicators Tournament.” Think Freely, 2020. Accessed October 27, 2020. https://thinkfreelymedia.org/great-communicators-tournament/. ^
  8. “Great Communicators Tournament: Frequently Asked Questions.” Think Freely, 2020. Accessed October 27, 2020.  https://thinkfreelymedia.org/great-communicators-tournament/faq/. ^
  9. “Programs.” Think Freely, 2020. Accessed October 27, 2020. https://thinkfreelymedia.org/. ^
  10. “Grants Awarded in 2016.” The JM Foundation, 2020. Accessed October 26, 2020. http://fdnweb.org/jm/grants/category/grants-awarded/. ^
  11. The Board of Trustees of the Leland Stanford Junior University, Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax (Form 990), 2017, Schedule I, Part II. ^
  12. Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, Return of Private Foundation (Form 990-PF), 2014-2016, Part XV, Item 3b. ^
  13. Donors Trust, Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax (Form 990), 2012-2017, Schedule I, Part II. ^
  14. Illinois Policy Institute, Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax (Form 990), 2012-2017, Schedule I, Part II. ^
  15. Ed Uihlein Family Foundation, Return of Private Foundation (Form 990-PF), 2014-2016, Part XV, Item 3b. ^
  16. “Eric Tubbs.” LinkedIn, 2020. Accessed October 26, 2020. https://www.linkedin.com/in/eric-tubbs-3437824/. ^
  17. “John Tillman.” LinkedIn, 2020. Accessed October 26, 2020. https://www.linkedin.com/in/john-tillman-7762234/. ^
  18.  Dumke, Mick and Sfondeles, Tina. “As Conservative Group Grows In Influence, Financial Dealings Enrich Its Leaders.” ProPublica, February 8, 2018. Accessed October 30, 2020. https://www.propublica.org/article/illinois-policy-institute-john-tillman-transactions. ^
  19. “Our People.” Atlas Network, 2020. Accessed October 26, 2020. https://www.atlasnetwork.org/about/people/board. ^
  20. “About Us.” Think Freely, 2020. Accessed October 26, 2020. https://thinkfreelymedia.org/. ^
  21. Think Freely Media, Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax (Form 990), 2018, Part VII, Section A, Line 1a. ^

Coalition Memberships

  1. State Policy Network (SPN)
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: May 1, 2010

  • 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 Dec Form 990 $1,639,498 $1,518,362 $219,387 $127,588 N $1,639,482 $0 $16 $110,000 PDF
    2016 Dec Form 990 $1,034,377 $1,844,391 $94,114 $123,451 N $954,377 $80,000 $0 $117,202 PDF
    2015 Dec Form 990 $1,396,996 $1,173,757 $874,590 $93,913 N $1,394,673 $0 $2,323 $0 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990 $1,125,056 $1,037,676 $708,203 $150,765 N $1,124,024 $0 $1,032 $0 PDF
    2013 Dec Form 990 $765,308 $253,641 $481,529 $11,471 N $765,000 $0 $308 $0 PDF
    2012 Dec Form 990 $685,138 $726,747 $13,406 $55,015 N $685,038 $0 $100 $60,000 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Think Freely Media

    190 S LASALLE STREET NO 1500
    Chicago, IL 60603-0000