January 10, 2008
WASHINGTON , SEPT. 5, 2007-The Heritage Foundation is one of the 12 most effective non-profits in America according to Forces for Good, a new book that tries to answer the question: "What makes great non-profits great?"
In Forces for Good, authors Leslie Crutchfield and Heather McLeod Grant present Heritage as an "exemplary organization" that has been extraordinarily effective in advancing conservative public policy. One reason, they note, is that the think tank has never been a stereotypical "ivory tower" where experts produce lengthy, unreadable reports that never relate to the concerns and everyday lives of ordinary citizens.
That had been the norm in the think tank world until "Heritage turned this traditional model on its head," the authors write. "From the beginning, it built a grassroots constituency and a large base of individual donors who are actively engaged in its work."
To select the 12 non-profit "forces" analyzed in their book, the authors surveyed CEOs of nearly 3,000 nonprofits and conducted hundreds of interviews over four years. Heritage was the only full-service think tank included in the final dozen, which included both widely known non-profits such as Habitat for Humanity and The National Council for La Raza as well as less well-known operations such as San Francisco's Exploratorium, a museum of "science, art and human perception."
Crutchfield and Grant, both nonprofit consultants, analyzed Heritage and the other non-profits to discover common management philosophies, practices and structures that could help explain how they were able to achieve such high levels of impact. From this, they developed a list of six approaches the 12 non-profits held in common, including "sharing leadership" and "inspiring evangelists."
"We chose to study these dozen organizations because they have created real social change," the authors write. "They have come up with innovative solutions to pressing social problems, and they have spread these ideas nationally or internationally."
Founded in 1973, The Heritage Foundation is a research and education institute dedicated to "building an America where freedom, opportunity, prosperity, and civil society flourish." Over the years, its research and policy recommendations have paved the way for new directions in both domestic and foreign policy, including the dramatically successful welfare reforms of 1996, a series of growth-inducing tax cuts that lifted the nation out of two recessions and the beginnings of a national missile defense system. Forces for Good also notes that Heritage ideas informed 1994's "Contract with America" which produced a conservative majority in Congress for the first time in more than 40 years.
"It's wonderful to be recognized not only as an incubator of innovative, conservative policy ideas but as a force of positive change for our nation," said Heritage President Edwin Feulner. "It's one reason Heritage enjoys the financial support of more than 312,000 members nationwide - the broadest support of any think tank."
Located on Capitol Hill since its founding, Heritage has grown steadily through the years. Today it boasts more than 200 staffers and an annual budget of $40 million.
Forces for Good, published by Jossey-Bass, is scheduled for release Oct. 26. It is available for advance purchase on www.amazon.com.