The Reason Foundation is a self-described libertarian think tank that professes to promote “choice, competition, and a dynamic market economy as the foundation for human dignity and progress.” An associate member of the right-wing State Policy Network (SPN), the group is also part of the libertarian Atlas Network. It is in favor of privatization and limited government and against providing social security. The foundation publishes Reason, a longstanding monthly print magazine of “free minds and free markets,” and backs ReasonTV, a series of online videos on libertarianism made in conjunction with comedian and mainstream TV personality Drew Carey.
Founded in 1978 as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, the Reason Foundation has deep ties to the Koch brothers. The late David Koch was a trustee of the foundation, which has received significant funding from Koch family sources.
In the context of their work around pension reform, Reason produces considerable anti-ESG content, including model legislation. In November 2022, its Senior Policy Analyst Steven Gassenberger shared that legislation with the Louisiana treasurer’s office and noted that he hopes to work with Louisiana State Rep. Phillip DeVillier (R) “to have some of these policies included in the few policy bills being introduced during the upcoming fiscal session,” according to an email obtained by the Center for Media and Democracy.
In September 2022, Reason hosted a webinar opposing ESG that featured Paul Atkins, a former SEC commissioner and current CEO of Patomak Global Partners, and Andy Puzder, the retired CEO of Carl’s Jr./Hardees who is also a member of SFOF’s national advisory committee.
- Quantitative Analyst Jordan Campbell
- Senior Policy Analyst Steven Gassenberger
- Vice President Leonard Gilroy
- Searle Freedom Trust: $10,475,100 (2006–21)
- Dunn Foundation: $8,825,000 (2002–21)
- DonorsTrust: $4,120,975 (2010–21)
- Sarah Scaife Foundation: $3,675,000 (2012–21)
- Stand Together Fellowships: $2,852,569 (2015–21)
Note: Reason is not required by law to disclose its donors. The Center for Media and Democracy identified its top funders through an examination of IRS filings.
- Total revenue: $15,233,016
- Total expenses: $14,980,930
- Net assets: $14,635,071
Source: 2021 IRS 990 filing
For more information, visit the Reason Foundation page on SourceWatch.