About SPN

State Policy Network is the only organization in the country dedicated solely to building and mobilizing a durable state-based infrastructure for freedom.

Founded in 1992 by South Carolina entrepreneur Thomas Roe at the urging of Ronald Reagan, SPN has catalyzed the growth of a vibrant, collaborative, results-focused network of state think tanks committed to restoring America’s constitutional balance of power by promoting and safeguarding the principles of limited government, federalism, rule of law, property rights, personal freedom, and economic liberty.

In 25 years, SPN has cultivated and led a powerful movement to achieve one of Tom Roe’s goals: a think tank advancing limited government and free enterprise in every state. Today SPN supports a powerful movement of 65 independent state think tank affiliates and over 80 associate partners. We do this by:

  • Incubating think tanks and accelerating their development through strategic planning, training, and coaching;
  • Connecting talented state leaders so they can learn, challenge, and grow together, with the aim of cultivating state solutions that collectively yield national impact; and,
  • Defending the 50-state think tank network by disseminating best legal practices, providing critical resources when members are attacked, and fighting organized assaults on free speech and donor privacy.

In addition, SPN works alongside our independent state think tanks on critical policy issues, deploying strategic planning, communications, legal, and other expertise to help our partners make the best possible case for freedom. We also gather intelligence from across the American freedom movement in order to replicate, tailor, and deploy winning strategies state-by-state. In this way, what might otherwise be isolated wins contribute to multi-state momentum towards enduring national impact.


State Policy Network’s vision is an America where personal freedom, opportunity, and a more peaceful society flourish because collaborative and entrepreneurial leaders in the network secured lasting social change at the state and local level.


State Policy Network’s mission is to catalyze thriving, durable freedom movements in every state, anchored with high-performing, independent think tanks.


State Policy Network works with our think tank affiliates to cultivate thriving free-market movements in every state that are deeply rooted in and committed to economic and political freedom. With its national network of state think tanks as the backbone, SPN advances a free society by executing on five priorities:

  1. Leadership: Raising up strong leaders with the vision, diligence, and humility required for transformational victory
  2. Infrastructure: Cultivating stable yet nimble state-level organizations working in collaboration to advance principled reforms
  3. Message: Delivering powerful, moving messages targeted to the right audience at the right time
  4. Intelligence: Leveraging research and information into smart engagement in key policy areas
  5. Transformational donors: Inspiring partnerships that fund and drive wins.


Carl O. Helstrom, III (Chairman)
The JM Foundation

Tracie J. Sharp (President)
State Policy Network

Stanford D. Swim (Treasurer)
The GFC Foundation

Thomas L. Willcox (Secretary)
The Roe Foundation

Theodore D. Abram
American Institute for Full Employment

John W. Jackson
Adolph Coors Foundation

Adam Meyerson
Philanthropy Roundtable

Bridgett G. Wagner
The Heritage Foundation


A strength of our community is that the affiliates of State Policy Network are all fiercely independent entities, with entirely separate legal and financial structures, staff, support bases, and boards of directors. Each of these innovative partners was founded on a unique vision for its state’s future, and designed to be highly relevant and responsive to the needs and concerns of its citizens.

SPN neither dictates nor officially endorses the individual decisions of our think tank affiliates, but instead focuses on ensuring a robust and diverse advocacy of liberty across this independent 50-state network. Reports of this network’s activities and successes here on SPN.org do not constitute a formal authentication or coordination, but rather are presented to publicly share methods to remove barriers to opportunity and choice for all Americans.