State Policy Network
State Policy Network presents the 2019 Thomas A. Roe Award to Kim Dennis of Searle Freedom Trust

At the 27th annual Thomas A. Roe Award Dinner on October 30, 2019, State Policy Network honored Kim Dennis of Searle Freedom Trust with the 2019 Thomas A. Roe Award.

SPN president and CEO Tracie Sharp and SPN board chairman Carl Helstrom present the Roe Award to Kim Dennis.

Established in 1992, the Roe Award is named after SPN’s late founder, Thomas A. Roe, Jr., who was a loyal supporter of state-based think tanks and a leading visionary for building a 50-state Network of state think tanks that could champion freedom, opportunity, and federalism. The Roe Award pays tribute to those in the state public policy movement whose achievements have greatly advanced free-market philosophy and policy solutions. It recognizes leadership, innovation, and accomplishment in public policy.

Few are more deserving of this award than Kim Dennis. Like Thomas Roe, Kim is a hardworking, entrepreneurial, principled, and humble leader. Kim has served as president and CEO of the Searle Freedom Trust, a grantmaking foundation established by the late Daniel C. Searle to support public policy research, since 1996. For five of those years, she also directed the National Research Initiative, a Searle-funded program of American Enterprise Institute.

Kim has a passion for honoring donor intent. As president and CEO of the Searle Freedom Trust, Kim works daily to fulfill Dan Searle’s vision for how his resources can make the world a better place.

“We’re so fortunate at Searle to be in a position where we’re trying to improve the country,” said Kim. “We’re able to get up every day and think about how we can use Dan Searle’s resources to do that.”  

In addition to her work in foundations, Kim joined forces with a dear friend and late SPN board member, Whitney Ball, to create DonorsTrust, an organization that enables philanthropists to more easily channel their charitable resources toward the liberty movement. Throughout her extensive career, she has changed the way donors and nonprofits think about donors’ resources and has built countless bridges between donors’ intentions and organizations who can help these donors bring their philanthropic goals to life.  

“Kim, I want to say congratulations,” said SPN’s president and CEO, Tracie Sharp. “Thank you for blazing the trail. You need to be celebrated because you have worked very hard for all these years.”

SPN’s senior director of policy advancement, Kathleen O’Hearn, echoed the importance of Kim’s contributions: “Without the work that she and the Searle Freedom Trust have done, SPN would not be where we are today.”

Thank you, Kim, for your dedication and leadership! You have been instrumental in empowering the Network to become the force for good that it is today.  

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