The Heartland Institute is an American conservative and libertarian public policy think tank with the mission "to discover and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems." In 2015, Heartland left Chicago and bought a new building in Arlington Heights, Illinois In 2016, Heartland named the event space in its new building the Andrew Breitbart Freedom Center.
Heartland works chiefly on education reform, government spending, taxation, entitlement reform, healthcare, tobacco policy, hydraulic fracturing, constitutional reform, and global warming. In 2012, The Economist called Heartland "the world’s most prominent think tank promoting skepticism about man-made climate change."
Heartland is probably most-well-known for its efforts to educate legislators about free-market environmentalism, the tenuous link between passive smoking and serious health risks, and the dangers of Common Core education policy.
Heartland was founded in Chicago in 1984 by David Padden.
Staff and structure
Joseph Bast is president and CEO. Dr. Herbert Walberg is chairman of the board. Heartland’s Science Director is Jay Lehr.
The organization has a full-time staff of 39, including 30 working in Arlington Heights, Illinois. Heartland also counts 250 academics and professional economists who serve as Policy Advisors — including Dennis Avery, Fred Singer, Apollo 17 astronaut Harrison Schmitt, Apollo 7 astronaut Walter Cunningham, Dr. Sallie Baliunas, Lord Christopher Monckton, RedState Co-founder Ben Domenech, Neal McCluskey, Brian Wesbury, Association of American Physicians and Surgeons President Dr. Jane Orient, Lewis Uhler, and former Reagan Era administration official Peter Ferrara.
Heartland counts more than 200 elected officials who pay dues to serve on Heartland’s Legislative Forum. Heartland is a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council and is active in helping ALEC promoting policies that embrace free markets, individual liberty, and smaller government.
The Heartland Institute has hosted 11 International Conferences on Climate Change since 2008. These events have attracted extensive international attention to the debate taking place in the scientific community over the causes, extent, and consequences of climate change.
The International Conferences on Climate Change are a project of The Heartland Institute’s Center on Climate and Environmental Policy, which produces an ambitious program of research and educational projects in defense of free-market environmentalism. That effort has brought together hundreds of scientists and economic experts to participate in the production of books (including four volumes in the Climate Change Reconsidered series rebutting the alarmist reports of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), policy studies, videos, a monthly public policy newspaper, a weekly e-newsletter, events, and other educational activities.
The 10th International Conference on Climate Change — held in Washington, DC on June 11 and 12, 2015 — attracted some 450 scientists, economists, policy experts, and guests willing to question whether man-made global warming is a problem worth addressing. The event was hosted by The Heartland Institute, had 20 cosponsors, and featured 45 keynoters and panelists.
Five awards were given for life-time achievement, courage in defending climate science, effective communication, and more during five plenary sessions.
Heartland sends four monthly public policy newspapers – Budget & Tax News, Health Care News, Environment & Climate News, and School Reform News – to every national and state elected official in the U.S. and thousands of civic and business leaders. They can be all be read at the Heartlander digital magazine. The organization also produces books, policy studies, booklets, videos, and the Heartland Daily Podcast.