Heritage Foundation

Heritage Foundation


The Heritage Foundation was founded in 1973 by Paul Weyrich to “formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense.” [1]

Heritage has been a fervent opponent of the Kyoto protocol. It runs a searchable online database of “policy experts” (www.policyexperts.org) that includes renowned climate change skeptics Patrick Michaels, Sallie Baliunas, Thomas Gale Moore, Robert Balling, and Fred Singer.

The Heritage Foundation has had considerable influence over Republican politicians. It is estimated that two-thirds of the policy recommendations it made in 1981 were adopted by the Reagan Administration [2]. The Heritage Foundation has been described as “the most effective media operation in American politics.” [3]

Jim DeMint, former South Carolina Republican Senator, became Heritage Foundation president in 2013. According to The New York Times, this marked a shift in the foundation: “Long known as an incubator for policy ideas and the embodiment of the party establishment, it has become more of a political organization feeding off the rising populism of the Tea Party movement.” [25]

Heritage is a former member of the Cooler Heads Coalition. Thomas A. Roe, a member of the board of trustees of the Heritage Foundation, founded the State Policy Network in 1991 as a way to promote conservative policies at the state level.

It also runs the right-wing news website Townhall.com.

Stance on Climate Change

Ben Lieberman, Senior Policy Analyst for Energy and Environment at The Heritage Foundation said the following about climate change:

“What I conclude from a policy standpoint is that global warming is clearly not a crisis and should not be addressed as one … None of the scary stuff about global warming is true, and what is true about global warming, what the science actually tells us about man's role in changing the climate, is far from terrifying.” [4]

Heritage has also concluded that “global warming will not hurt the U.S. economy.” [5]


The following is based on data compiled by the Conservative Transparency Project. Note that not all funding information has been verified by DeSmogBlog for accuracy.  [8]

View attached .xls sheet for additional information on funding by year.

Donor Contribution
Sarah Scaife Foundation $24,235,000
Howard Charitable Foundation $19,000,000
The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation $16,072,202
The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation $15,000,000
Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation $13,300,000
John M. Olin Foundation $8,620,835
Herrick Foundation $7,530,000
Lillian S. Wells Foundation $5,742,428
Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation $5,262,571
Castle Rock Foundation $3,098,760
The Carthage Foundation $2,544,000
Jaquelin Hume Foundation $1,725,000
F.M. Kirby Foundation $1,545,000
The Roe Foundation $1,481,000
Allegheny Foundation $1,350,000
Searle Freedom Trust $1,275,000
Aequus Institute $1,155,000
Deramus Foundation $1,100,000
Philip M. McKenna Foundation $1,025,000
National Christian Foundation $1,017,175
The Galbraith Foundation $1,000,000
William E. Simon Foundation $952,500
John Templeton Foundation $930,821
Barney Family Foundation $870,000
Armstrong Foundation $770,000
John Dawson Foundation $725,400
Scaife Family Foundation $702,640
The Thirteen Foundation $700,000
Stuart Family Foundation $657,500
Exxon Mobil* $680,000
William H. Donner Foundation $527,000
Robert S. and Star Pepper Foundation $495,000
Holman Foundation $431,971
Robert and Audrey Zinser Charitable Foundation $429,707
Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation $389,274
Peter G. Peterson Foundation $350,000
Bill and Berniece Grewcock Foundation $345,000
DonorsTrust $308,265
Fairchild-Martindale Foundation $285,000
Dorothy D. and Joseph A. Moller Foundation $260,000
Pierre F. and Enid Goodrich Foundation $245,000
Sidney A. Swensrud Foundation $234,812
Stiles-Nicholson Foundation $222,700
Lovett and Ruth Peters Foundation $200,000
JM Foundation $185,000
Same Line Foundation $170,250
John William Pope Foundation $150,000
Orville D. and Ruth A. Merillat Foundation $150,000
PhRMA $150,000
Ruth & Lovett Peters Foundation $150,000
The Vernon K. Krieble Foundation $143,400
Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation $120,000
The Challenge Foundation $120,000
The Weiler Foundation $120,000
Joyce and Donald Rumsfeld Foundation $116,000
Fairbrook Foundation $100,000
Donors Capital Fund $96,000
Ed Uihlein Family Foundation $85,000
The McWethy Foundation $80,000
Kantner Foundation $71,000
Robert and Marie Hansen Foundation $70,000
Tepper Family Foundation $68,250
Walton Family Foundation $65,000
Richard F. Aster Jr. Foundation $64,000
The Rodney Fund $62,000
The Opportunity Foundation $53,000
Lowndes Foundation $52,000
The Whitcomb Charitable Foundation $51,000
George Edward Durell Foundation $50,000
MyWireless.org $50,000
Arthur N. Rupe Foundation $48,500
Leadership Institute $45,935
The Shelby Cullom Davis Foundation $45,000
Earhart Foundation $40,000
Bochnowski Family Foundation $20,000
Neal and Jane Freeman Foundation $20,000
Woodhouse Family Foundation $12,000
True Foundation $11,000
Barbara and Barre Seid Foundation $5,000
The Randolph Foundation $5,000
Dunn's Foundation for the Advancement of Right Thinking $1,000
Thewes Family Foundation $1,000
Foundation for Economic Education $300
Gilder Foundation $100
It Takes A Family Foundation $35
Grand Total $147,638,331

*According to ExxonSecrets, Heritage Foundation has received $680,000 from ExxonMobil since 1998. [6]

According to Greenpeace, The Heritage Foundation recieved $2,738,571  from Koch foundations between 2005 and 2011, with total Koch foundation grants between 1997 and 2011 adding up to $4,551,571.  [7]

Key People

Board of Trustees (2015)

As of September, 2015, the following people were listed as members of the Heritage Foundation's Board of Trustees (notable affiliations have been included): [26]

  • Thomas A. Saunders III (Chairman) — Heritage Trustee Since 2005.
  • Barb Van Andel-Gaby (Vice-Chairman) — Heritage Trustee Since 1996
  • Meg Allen — Heritage Trustee Since 2009 
  • Larry P. Arnn, Ph.D. — Heritage Trustee Since 2002. Prior president of the Claremont Institute.
  • The Hon. Belden H. Bell — Heritage Trustee Since 2000.
  • Midge Decter — Heritage Trustee Since 1981
  • Jim DeMint (President, the Heritage Foundation) — Heritage Trustee Since 2013
  • Edwin J. Feulner (Founder, the Heritage Foundation)— Heritage Trustee Since 1973. Former director of the Republican Study Committee in the House of Representatives. Past pesident of both the Mont Pelerin Society and the Philadelphia Society, and as chairman of both the Intercollegiate Studies Institute and the Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy.
  • Steve Forbes — Heritage Trustee Since 2001. President and Chief Executive Officer, Forbes Inc.
  • Todd W. Herrick — Heritage Trustee Since 2007
  • Jerry Hume — Heritage Trustee Since 1993
  • Kay Coles James — Heritage Trustee Since 2005
  • Mark A. Kolokotrones — Heritage Trustee Since 2015
  • Rebekah A. Mercer — Heritage Trustee Since 2014
  • The Hon. J. William Middendorf II — Heritage Trustee Since 1989
  • Abby Moffat — Heritage Trustee Since 2009. Also Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Media Research Center and a member of the Board of Overseers of the Atlas Economic Research Foundation. Also served in that role for the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, Radio America, the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship, the Center for Security Policy and the Institute for World Politics. Affiliated with the Philanthropy Roundtable and Capital Speakers Group. 
  • Nersi Nazari, Ph.D. — Heritage Trustee since 2006
  • Robert Pennington — Heritage Trustee Since 2009
  • Anthony J. Saliba — Heritage Trustee Since 2012
  • William E. Simon, Jr. — Serves as Co-Chairman of the William E. Simon Foundation and the Cynthia L. and William E. Simon, Jr., Foundation.
  • Brian Tracy — Heritage Trustee since 2003. 
  • William L. Walton — Heritage Trustee Since 2015
  • Marion Wells — Heritage Trustee since 2003. Long-time member of the Board of Trustees of Capital Research Center, which is headed by Heritage's former Vice-President, Terry Scanlon. Also a trustee of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute. 

Honorary Trustees

  • The Hon. Frank Shakespeare — Heritage Trustee Since 1979. Heritage's Board Chairman from 1981 to 1985. He currently serves as a Trustee of the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation.

Society of Emeritus Trustees

  • Phillip N. Truluck — Heritage Trustee 2001 to 2015. Chairman, Society of Emeritus Trustees, Since 2015. Served as Deputy Director of the Republican Study Committee. He is a founding director and past member of the Board of Directors of the Center for International Private Enterprise, an affiliate of the National Endowment for Democracy. He is also the former Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Capitol Hill Business Improvement District and a member of the Board of Directors of Ready, Willing and Working. Truluck is a member of the Mont Pelerin Society and the Philadelphia Society.

Board of Trustees (2011)

The Heritage Foundation listed the Board of Trustees, as of December, 2011: [24]

  • Thomas A. Saunders III — (Chairman). Past director of Morgan Stanley & Co.
  • Richard M. Scaife — Vice Chairman.
  • J. Frederic Rench — (Secretary). Former Chairman and CEO of Racine Industries Inc.
  • Meg Allen — Co-founded the partnership, DRAMLA Consulting U.K.
  • Douglas F. Allison — Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Allison-Fisher, Inc.
  • Larry P. Arnn — President, Hillsdale College, Michigan.
  • Belden H. Bell — Past Counselor to President of the Heritage Foundation.
  • Midge Decter
  • Edwin J. Feulner — President, The Heritage Foundation, Washington, D.C.
  • Steve Forbes — President and Chief Executive Officer, Forbes Inc.
  • Robert J. Herbold — Retired Chief Operating Officer, Microsoft.
  • Todd W. Herrick — Retired chairman, president and CEO of Tecumseh Products Co.
  • Jerry Hume — Chairman of the Board, Basic American Inc.
  • Kay Coles James — Former director of the federal Office of Personnel Management.
  • J. William Middendorf II — Chairman, Middendorf and Company, Washington, D.C.
  • Abby Moffat — Treasurer, Atlas Economic Research Foundation.
  • Nersi Nazari — Founder & President, Pacific General Ventures.
  • Robert Pennington —  Overseer of Whitman College in Walla Walla, Wash.
  • William E. Simon, Jr. —  Executive Director of William E. Simon & Sons LLC.
  • Brian Tracy — Heritage Associate, Founder, Brian Tracy International.
  • Phillip N. Truluck — Executive Vice President, The Heritage Foundation.
  • Barb Van Andel-Gaby CEO, Peter Island Resort.
  • Marion Wells — Member of the Board of Trustees, Capital Research Center. 

Policy Experts

According to ExxonSecrets, Heritage Foundation's Policy experts have included notable climate change deniers such as: [6]


July 7, 2015

The Heritage Foundation's Nicolas Loris published a research report titled “The Many Problems of the EPA’s Clean Power Plan and Climate Regulations: A Primer,” one month prior to President Obama's and the EPA's announcement of the Clean Power Plan. [19],[20]

In the report's abstract, Loris writes the “Obama Administration’s proposed climate-change regulations will exact a high price on Americans and have a negligible impact—if any—on global temperatures.” [19] Loris continues, stating that “Higher energy bills for families, individuals, and businesses will destroy jobs and strain economic growth—and it will all be for naught.” [19]

July 7-9, 2014

The Heritage Foundation is listed as an official Co-sponsor of the Heartland Institute's Ninth International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC9). [22],[23]

August 28, 2012

The Heritage Foundation's Nicolas Loris published a research report titled “Hydraulic Fracturing: Critical for Energy Production, Jobs, and Economic Growth.” [21]

Within the report, Loris states that much of the “public concern” over hydraulic fracturing “has been over the possibility of contaminated drinking water, the chemicals used in fracking, the potential to create earthquakes, and wastewater management.” [21]  Loris then lists what he refers to as the “four most prevalent myths” about hydraulic fracturing:

Myth #1: Hydraulic fracturing threatens underground water sources and has led to the contamination of drinking water.

Myth #2: The chemicals used in the fracking process are foreign chemicals that industry hides from the public.

Myth #3: Wastewater from hydraulic fracturing is dangerous and unregulated.

Myth #4: Fracking causes earthquakes.” [21]

May 21 - 23, 2012

The Heritage Foundation is listed as an official Co-sponsor of the Heartland Institute's Seventh International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC7).

November 16, 2011

The Heritage Foundation's Nicolas Loris, who was formerly an associate at the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation, published a report in the Heritage Foundation's “Energy and Environment” section of its website titled, “New EPA Inspector General Report: One More Reason to Reject Climate-Change Regulation.” [18]

Loris writes that “Congress should vote to prevent the EPA from regulating greenhouse-gas emissions, and foster a transparent debate about the EPA’s endangerment finding and climate change generally.” Citing Richard Lindzen as a “respected climatologist,” Loris continues by stating “there has been plenty of dissent among the scientific community on the causes and magnitude of climate change.” [18]

October 1, 2010

The Heritage Foundation claimed that the Royal Society had “significantly softened its position on global warming[9], but this was a misrepresentation of the Society's actual position.  

Heritage selectively edited the report in a way that manufactured doubt about man-made climate change by editing out 10 pages and 48 paragraphs of text that had provided context in the report. [10]  

The Royal Society's accurate view that man-made climate change is a problem is evidenced in the report summary “[This report] shows that there is strong evidence that over the last half century, the earth's warming has been caused largely by human activity.”

Nicolas Loris, the author of Heritage's controversial post, is a former associate of the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation.

May 4, 2009

Heritage held a panel titled “Busting the Myth of Green Jobs” that aimed to “explore the lessons of Spain, and examine some of the fundamental flaws in the green jobs-as-an-economic-salve line of argument.”  [11]

Media Matters found that the entire Heritage panel had received money from ExxonMobil. [12]

The Heritage Foundation's senior policy analyst Ben Lieberman joined Robert Murphy, an economist at the Institute for Energy Research (IER), on a panel to discuss the study (PDF) done by economist Gabriel Calzada that suggested green jobs were harmful to the economy.  
Calzada's study has been debunked on numerous occasions.

November 5, 2008

In a “WebMemo” published on November fifth by the Heritage Foundation, Dr. Donald Kreutzer claimed that policy initiatives to advance green investment hurt economic growth and employment.

Kreutzer pointed to three studies that contended made false claims that green investment can promote job creation. Robert Pollin, the co-author of one of the studies (“Green Recovery”) responded here. See a PDF version of his response here[13]


The Heritage Foundation reportedly encouraged conservatives to work together to “[s]trangle the environmental movement.” [14]

This originally presented in a blueprint for policy in the 1990s and published in its journal “Policy Review.”

Related Organizations


  1. About Us,” Heritage Foundation. Accessed December 23, 2011.

  2. Carl Deal. The Greenpeace guide to anti-environmental organizations. Odonian Press, Emeryville, Calif. Distributed through Publishers Group West, 1993.

  3. Norman Solomon. “The Media's Favorite Think Tank,” Extra!”, July/August 1996.

  4. Ben Lieberman.”The Economics of Global Warming Policy,” The Heritage Foundation, June 16, 2010.

  5. Conn Carroll. “Study Shows Global Warming Will Not Hurt U.S. Economy,” The Foundry, January 6, 2009.

  6. ExxonSecrets Factsheet: Heritage Foundation.

  7. The Heritage Foundation: Koch Industries Climate Denial Front Group,” Greenpeace USA. Archived September 25, 2015. 

  8. Search for “The Heritage Foundation,” Conservative Transparency. Accessed September, 2015. 

  9. U.S. Could Learn from U.K.’s Global Warming Reversal,” The Foundry, September 30, 2010.

  10. Dan Lashof. “Heritage Gate,” Switchboard, October 1, 2010.

  11. Busting the Myth of Green Jobs,” The Heritage Foundation, May 4, 2009.

  12. Heritage Foundation Green Jobs Panel - Bought and Paid For By ExxonMobil,” politicalcorrection.org, May 4, 2009.

  13. Robert Pollin. “Green Investments and Jobs: A Response to the Heritage Foundation,” Center for American Progress, November 7, 2008.

  14. Andrew Rowell. Green Backlash: Global Subversion of the Environmental Movement. Page 52. Routledge; 1 edition (Sep 24 1996)

  15. Heritage Foundation,” SourceWatch profile.

  16. Greenpeace research documents on the Heritage Foundation (Page A), (Page B).

  17. Pete Altman. “Heritage Foundation Fools Itself on Carbon Taxes,” Switchboard, April 2, 2009.

  18. New EPA Inspector General Report: One More Reason to Reject Climate-Change Regulation.” Heritage Foundation, November 16, 2011. Archived September 22, 2015.

  19. The Many Problems of the EPA’s Clean Power Plan and Climate Regulations: A Primer,” Heritage Foundation, July 7, 2015. Archived September 23, 2015.

  20. Clean Power Plan,” EPA, August 3, 2015. Archived September 23, 2015.

  21. Hydraulic Fracturing: Critical for Energy Production, Jobs, and Economic Growth,” Heritage Foundation, August 28, 2012. Archived September 23, 2015.

  22. ICCC9 CoSponsors,” Heartland Institute. Archived September 23, 2015.

  23. Return of Climate Denial-a-Palooza: Heartland Institute Hitches Anti-Science Wagon to Vegas FreedomFest,” DeSmogBlog, July 7, 2014.

  24. Board of Trustees,” The Heritage Foundation. Archived December 22, 2011.

  25. Jennifer Steinhauer and Jonathan Weisman, “In the DeMint Era at Heritage, a Shift From Policy to Politics,” New York Times, February 23, 2014. Accessed September 25, 2015.

  26. Board of Trustees,” The Heritage Foundation. Archived September 25, 2015. WebCite URLhttp://www.webcitation.org/6boVP7U7h