State Policy Network

About State Policy Network

State Policy Network is a national nonprofit organization pursuing a vision of an America where personal freedom, innovation, opportunity, and a more peaceful society help all Americans flourish.

State Policy Network was founded to support the growth of a collaborative and entrepreneurial network of state think tanks. The network of state think tanks is committed to delivering results that strengthen working families and defend our rights by promoting policies that create a level playing field and safeguard personal freedom, economic liberty, rule of law, property rights, and limited government.

While our mission appropriately focuses our efforts on building a movement, our vision guides us to fight for real issues—such as worker freedom and better options in education and healthcare for all Americans.

State Policy Network promotes state-based solutions so that they achieve national impact. We believe that real and lasting positive change—where all Americans thrive—originates in communities and emanates from effective networks of leaders and activists with the capabilities to accomplish change at the state level.

Increasingly the deck is stacked against average, hard working Americans. They are overlooked and ignored while Washington favors those with money and influence. We champion federalism—the balance of power that exists between the states and the federal government—because it protects average Americans. We believe that devolving power from the nation’s capital to the state capitals strengthens our democracy.

SPN works side-by-side with these leaders to catalyze thriving, durable freedom movements in every state, anchored with high performing independent think tanks so that every American has a voice.

Founded in 1992 by South Carolina entrepreneur Thomas Roe at the urging of Ronald Reagan, SPN supports a powerful movement of 64 independent state think tank affiliates and over 90 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.


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 Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation

Tracie J. Sharp (President)
State Policy Network

Stanford D. Swim (Secretary)
The GFC Foundation

Thomas L. Willcox (Treasurer)
The Roe Foundation

Theodore D. Abram
American Institute for Full Employment

Lawson Bader
DonorsTrust and Donors Capital Fund

Karen Buchwald Wright
Ariel Corporation and Ariel Foundation

John Hood
John William Pope 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 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.

SPN has earned the highest Charity Navigator rating. State Policy Network is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, and any contributions are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law. No goods or services are provided in exchange for contributors’ generous financial donation.

State Policy Network and SPN are registered trademarks with the US Patent and Trademark Office.