The Heritage Foundation is one of the most influential right-wing think tanks in the country. It advocates for policies that are uniformly “anti-woke,” federalist, pro-privatization, and in denial about the climate emergency. Through Heritage Action for America, its advocacy arm, Heritage has bankrolled and coordinated the widespread adoption of voter suppression laws in the wake of the 2020 election.
Ever since the Reagan administration (1981–89), Heritage has published an influential “transition playbook” every four years. Called Mandate for Leadership, it functions as a conservative blueprint for presidential administrations.
Based in Washington, The Heritage Foundation employs hundreds of staff members and fellows, and develops policy based on its professed commitment to “free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense.”
In addition to receiving significant funding from dark money sources, Heritage leaders have significant ties to the fossil fuel industry: Kevin Roberts, who took over as president in 2021, previously led the fossil fuel-bankrolled Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF) for five years. Before joining Heritage, Executive Vice President Derrick Morgan had been a senior vice president of the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers.
The Heritage Foundation is vehemently anti-ESG, referring to these investment practices as the “Left’s political tool for pushing businesses and financial institutions to advance progressive ideology in American society.” Heritage Action publishes esghurts.com, which it promoted at the 2022 States and Nation Policy Summit hosted by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).
At that meeting, Heritage Action also endorsed the Eliminate Political Boycotts Act, a proposed piece of model legislation introduced by ALEC that would authorize state governments to blacklist corporations promoting either ESG or diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives—or both. Heritage Action’s Jessica Anderson also offered her organization’s support in helping ALEC legislators to move the model bills through their state houses. Heritage Action employs 10 regional lobbyists working in the states listed in a pamphlet it distributed at the meeting.
For the past 40 years, Heritage has hosted an annual conference called Resource Bank, which consistently brings together conservative lawmakers, media pundits, and right-wing activists. At its 2022 Resource Bank meeting, Heritage gave SFOF and the fight against woke capitalism center stage. It also awarded SFOF, the Alliance Defending Freedom, and the Independent Women’s Forum $100,000 innovation prizes for projects pushing back against ESG and DEI efforts.
In November 2022, Heritage hosted the last day of the SFOF Fall National meeting at its offices. The agenda featured a three-part session on the ESG fight and a closing keynote from their favorite orator on “woke” capitalism, Vivek Ramaswamy, the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) reported. In the evening, Heritage “hosted” a dinner for the sponsors of the conference, an email obtained by CMD shows.
Heritage disseminates news through its site The Daily Signal, which provides “policy and political news as well as conservative commentary and policy analysis,” as well as a podcast called Heritage Explains.
- Heritage Action Executive Director Jessica Anderson
- Center for Energy, Climate, and Environment Director Diana Furchtgott-Roth
- Vice President for Outreach Andy Olivastro
- Visiting Fellow in Business and Economic Freedom Andy Puzder
- Chief Executive Officer Kevin Roberts
- Executive Director of the Edwin J. Feulner Institute Bridgett Wagner
- National Christian Charitable Foundation: $21,042,050 (2013–21)
- Sarah Scaife Foundation: $9,930,000 (2012–21)
- Fidelity Investments Charitable Gift Fund: $3,656,352 (2017–20)
Note: Heritage Foundation 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: $106,329,524
- Total expenses: $93,668,116
- Net assets: $331,987,871
Source: 2022 IRS 990 filing
For more information, visit the Heritage Foundation page on SourceWatch.