Public, Society Benefit

The Heritage Foundation

Quick Facts

aka THF

Washington, DC


The mission of The Heritage Foundation is to improve the lives of all Americans by formulating and promoting policies based on America's founding principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual liberty, traditional American values, and a strong national defense.

The Heritage Foundation allows you to speak directly to Washington, and say “no excuses" to elected officials who refuse to uphold America's founding principles, and our tradition of limited government. Heritage members help deliver specific, actionable policy solutions to Washington that will once again make America a place where freedom, opportunity, prosperity, and civil society flourish.

Ruling Year


Principal Officer

Kay Coles James

Main Address

214 Massachusetts Ave NE

Washington, DC 20002 USA


Conservative, Free-market, Think tank, Limited government, traditional American values, strong national defense, free enterprise, individual freedom





Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Public Finance, Taxation, Monetary Policy (W22)

Citizen Participation (W24)

Public, Society Benefit - Multipurpose and Other N.E.C. (W99)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Social Media

Programs + Results

What we aim to solve

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Our programs

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Strengthening the Conservative Movement

Getting Conservative Solutions into the Mainstream Media

Restoring Civil Society

Keeping America and Her Allies Safe

Restoring Economic Freedom and Opportunity

Where we work

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Our Results

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one. These quantitative program results are self-reported by the organization, illustrating their committment to transparency, learning, and interest in helping the whole sector learn and grow.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Number of states that have adopted Education Savings Accounts

Population(s) served

No target populations selected

Related program

Restoring Civil Society

Context notes

ESAs are parent-controlled accounts that allow parents to direct public education funds that the state would have spent on their child’s education.

Charting Impact

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?

What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?

How will they know if they are making progress?

What have they accomplished so far and what's next?

We believe that it is possible to rein in the power and reach of the federal government to within the constraints enumerated in the U.S. Constitution. We believe – because our research shows – that this can be done while still providing the hope and the innovation that Americans expect in the 21st Century.

America can be safe from terrorism and foreign enemies. Families, communities, businesses, and states can live in maximum freedom from interference from government. At The Heritage Foundation, we know this can be accomplished, and we are working to provide Congress and the president with the specific policies needed to do so.

The Heritage Foundation's strategy is simple: Formulate winning policy solutions, get these ideas into the mainstream, and deliver these solutions directly to lawmakers where and when it counts. We believe in shifting the window of what is politically possible, and know that doing so often takes many years. That's why Heritage is a permanent presence on Washington – the belly of the beast – and why we began expanding our multi-facility Freedom Center in 2013.

The Heritage Foundation's greatest capability is our reputation, built over the past 44 years, as a thought leader in Washington, across the country, and within the conservative movement.

We also have the expertise to get the job done. The Heritage Foundation is staffed by more than 100 policy analysts, economists, and scholars – with backgrounds ranging from private sector leaders to former members of the armed forces, CIA staff, high-level government officials, and academics. These great minds publish conservative policy solutions, brief lawmakers on Capitol Hill and candidates for public office, and testify before Congress and state legislatures.

Finally, more than any other think tank, The Heritage Foundation has the tools needed to get our ideas into the mainstream. Heritage has a top-notch team of journalists, market research experts, and communications professionals. This team publishes The Daily Signal, places Heritage analysis and commentary in Heritage's top news outlets, broadcasts our ideas on social media, and blazes new trails in videography and other media.

Heritage keeps track of its influence on public policy by looking at 1) heightened public support for our ideas; 2) actions by lawmakers; and 3) the translation of our policies into law. Our Policy Promotion team sees firsthand how our ideas are received on Capitol Hill, and our new Executive Branch Relations team sees how our ideas are faring in the many federal agencies and departments where Heritage now has key contacts.

The Heritage Foundation has had a major impact in recent years. Most recently, Heritage has:
• Saved the Supreme Court from being slanted to the left for decades by making the case against judicial activist judges and for a constitutional originalist like Justice Neil Gorsuch.
• Kept the repeal of Obamacare – and its replacement with patient-centered, free-market reforms – a political imperative. Most recently, Heritage's sharp critique of the American Health Care Act resulted in a better bill that is more in line with free-market principles.
• Changed the debate in Washington on energy subsidies, stopping new subsidies and special interest handouts for all forms of energy, and saw many of recommendations for reorganizing the Department of Energy adopted by the Trump administration.
• Alerted Americans to the weakened state of the U.S. military, and are now informing a historic effort by Congress and the Trump administration to rebuild it.
• Grew the school choice movement exponentially, defended programs such as Arizona's Education Savings Account program, and drummed up record support in Congress for restoring federalism in education.
• Defeated legislative amnesty for illegal immigrants in 2013 by alerting millions of Americans to the economic and social cost of amnesty.
• Made cronyism a major issue for the American people, jeopardizing the future of the Export-Import Bank, the federal farm bill, and more.
• Weakened Obama-era climate initiatives while he was in office, and are now helping eliminate them under Trump.

We realize that there is a tremendous amount of work ahead to restore our nation to the land of freedom and opportunity our Founding Fathers envisioned. The national debt still stands at nearly $20 trillion, cronyism is rampant in the federal government, America's students are struggling to learn in inferior schools, the world is on fire with terrorism and instability, and economic opportunity in America remains out of reach for many.

The Heritage Foundation and its hundreds of thousands of supporters will never stop fighting to restore our federal government to one that performs its core functions, stays within its constitutional limits, and shows favor to none. We do this not out of pride, or nostalgia for a time gone by, but out of an understanding that America is a unique political system that has created more prosperity for more people than any other system the world has ever known. We are truly the world's last, best hope, and a land of opportunity for all.

External Reviews


The Heritage Foundation

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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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FREE: Gain immediate access to the following:

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  • A Pro report is also available for this organization.

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Board Leadership Practices

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization


Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?



Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?



Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?



Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?



Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?