Arts, Culture, and Humanities

Institute for Policy Studies

Ideas Into Action

aka IPS

Washington, DC


The Institute's public scholars support social justice campaigns worldwide with research, talking points, convenings, and strategic counsel. Other think tanks serve elites; IPS works to connect progressive decision-makers and opinion leaders with grassroots campaigners working on issues from climate justice to extreme inequality to human rights.

Ruling Year



John Cavanagh

Associate Director

Kathleen Gaspard

Main Address

1301 Connecticut Avenue NW Suite 600

Washington, DC 20036 USA


justice, economic justice, environmental justice, climate justice, peace, multipolar, IFIs, International institutions, Letelier-Moffett, Human Rights, Racial Wealth Divide, Inequality





Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Research Institutes and/or Public Policy Analysis (A05)

Research Institutes and/or Public Policy Analysis (B05)

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (C01)

IRS Filing Requirement

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Programs + Results

What we aim to solve New!

The IPS mission is to turn ideas into action to speed the transition from a speculative Wall Street economy to a green and fair Main Street economy, and from militarized diplomacy to a politics based on peace and internationalism. Our approach is focused on addressing power, changing the rules, and shifting the narrative. IPS works closely with labor, consumer, anti-war, environmental, racial and economic justice, and other movements to offer research, writing, policy analysis, communications, and educational work that help them build power. In recent years we have shifted more of our focus to state and local initiatives and this will continue in the wake of the election results, while at the same time we will seek ways to provide support to groups engaged in the most critical defense battles at the federal level.

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

IPS Programs

Where we workNew!

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 and haven't they accomplished so far?

1. We're fighting extreme inequality by shifting narratives around poverty and wealth toward a systemic conversation. 2. We're promoting diplomacy over war. 3. We're fighting unchecked corporate dominance in trade and energy. 4. We're mentoring a diverse range of young public scholars, & ensuring they have access to opportunity. 5. We're fighting for worker and racial justice. 6. We're turning weapons into windmills by providing the leading resource on the US Federal Budget. 7. We're taking on Wall Street. 8. We're ending the drug war. 9. We're building a more inclusive progressive movement space, with specific attention given to a wide range of historically marginalized groups. 10. We're spreading progressive ideas to millions in local outlets across the country.

We persuade opinion leaders by publishing their work in widely read books, journals, magazines, newspapers, and websites by working with the media, and by appearing on popular radio television shows, and webcasts. We provide visionary policy ideas to leading figures in the executive and legislative branches of government (mindful of the limits imposed on lobbying activities by our tax-exempt status). We work with progressive movements, helping their participants sharpen their policy demands and map out coherent strategies. We help community leaders – elected officials and activists – develop improve, and spread successful local policies. We link up progressive thinkers and activists internationally, which increases the global resonance and power of our ideas while opening the Institute to new ideas and practices. We encourage all employees to express their views and contribute to the work of IPS.

IPS is the nation's oldest progressive multi-issue think tank. We have incubated dozens of movements and spin-off organizations, many of which have become our allies in the pursuit of social change. Today, we play a unique bridging role in the vibrant and broad progressive infrastructure working with local, national, and global movements to continue the fight for civil, political, social, economic, and cultural rights. Institutional funders have referred to IPS as the research arm of modern social movements. We provide independent policy research support and communications capacity to support movement-building organizations. IPS has 11 core projects and 4 affiliate projects which work in concert to support these goals. 2 of our project websites, and, are the foremost online resources in their fields. Our Otherwords op-ed service reaches 176 small and medium-sized heartland newspapers, with a total print circulation of over 2.1 million.

IPS tracks progress each year by convening all program, communications, development and operations staff to evaluate our achievements against our objectives and to review our budgets. We also solicit feedback from stakeholders in all our work, including external partners and funders.

We currently have 11 projects that help us fulfill our larger organizational goals. We measure each project in terms of fulfillment of major activities, impact on movements and policy change, as well as how well we expanded media attention to our issues. We also use the opportunity to decide what aspects of each project plan should be changed to ensure we stay on track to reach our larger goals.

In the past year, IPS served as the research partner for the revived Poor People's Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival. We published an audit which explored the myriad ways that the campaigns pillars of poverty, militarism, racism, and ecological devastation have only grown worse in the 50 years since the original Poor People's Campaign. We also integrated the National Priorities Project, a long-time ally, as a part of IPS - expanding our capacity for hard-hitting, facts-based policy analysis. In the next year, IPS plans to deepen its work with the Poor People's Campaign, continuing in its intra-movement, grassroots focus. We are expanding our Black Worker Initiative's work connecting German apprenticeship programs to Black communities in Alabama, and working to maintain a conversation through and past mid-term elections that focuses on long-term, systemic problems over catastrophic, moment-to-moment issues raised by the administration.

External Reviews


Institute for Policy Studies

Fiscal year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

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

Need more info?

FREE: Gain immediate access to the following:

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  • Forms 990 for 2016, 2015 and 2014
A Pro report is also available for this organization for $125.
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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?


Organizational Demographics

In order to support nonprofits and gain valuable insight for the sector, GuideStar worked with D5—a five-year initiative to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in philanthropy—in creating a questionnaire. This section is a voluntary questionnaire that empowers organizations to share information on the demographics of who works in and leads organizations. To protect the identity of individuals, we do not display sexual orientation or disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff. Any values displayed in this section are percentages of the total number of individuals in each category (e.g. 20% of all Board members for X organization are female).

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization


This organization reports that it does not collect this information for Senior Staff, Part-Time Staff and Volunteers.

Race & Ethnicity

This organization reports that it does not collect this information for Senior Staff, Part-Time Staff and Volunteers.

Middle Eastern

Sexual Orientation

This organization reports that it does not collect this information for Senior Staff, Part-Time Staff and Volunteers.


This organization reports that it does not collect this information for Senior Staff, Part-Time Staff and Volunteers.

Diversity Strategies

We track retention of staff, board, and volunteers across demographic categories
We track income levels of staff, senior staff, and board across demographic categories
We track the age of staff, senior staff, and board
We track the diversity of vendors (e.g., consultants, professional service firms)
We have a diversity committee in place
We have a diversity manager in place
We have a diversity plan
We use other methods to support diversity