The Heritage Foundation was established in 1973 by Paul Weyrich, Edwin Feulner and Joseph Coors to promote conservative principles including limited government, free enterprise, individual freedom, a strong national defense, and traditional American values. Since it’s formation, Heritage has become the most widely supported think tank in America, with over 710,000 individual members. It was ranked by the University of Pennsylvania’s 2011 Global Go To Think Tanks Report as the 13th most influential think tank in the world and 7th most influential think tank in the United States. This rating comes from a large quantity of criteria including, but not limited to, Heritage’s overall output, reputation with the media and policy makers, and the relationship between policy objectives and positive social change.
With its vast resources and manpower, the Heritage Foundation covers a wide range of policy areas. Its centers and projects include: Asian Studies Center, B. Kenneth Simon Center for Principles and Politics, Center for Data Analysis, Center for Health Policy Studies, Center for International Trade and Economics, Center for Legal and Judicial Studies, Center for Media and Public Policy, Center for Policy Innovation, DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society, Domestic Policy Studies, Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies, The Kathryn and Shelby Collum Davis Institute for International Studies, The Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom, and Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies.
One of the many influential publications of the Heritage Foundation is their Index of Economic Freedom, which appears annually in the Wall Street Journal. The index ranks the economic freedom of each nation based on the Rule of Law, Limited Government, Regulatory Efficiency, and Open Markets. According to the index, the United States currently ranks 10th, a sharp decline from its 5th place ranking in 2008.
Beginning in April 2007, the Heritage Foundation undertook a new ten year initiative called “Leadership for America.” According to their webpage this initiative is ”a campaign for freedom, a new effort to conserve liberty, and a sustained, clear-headed program to rebuild the foundations upon which our future rests.” It is designed to “Fulfill the Mandate of Liberty” by reinvigorating the first principles of liberty, restoring the primary institutions of our society, expanding our economy and economic freedom, and guaranteeing America’s place as a global power in a dangerous world.
The Heritage Foundation also has an acclaimed blog called The Foundry. With contributions from many different staff and fellows at the organization as well as original investigative reporting, The Foundry ranks among the top 6,000 most visited web pages in the US, and ranks 11th in Technorati’s list of Top 100 US Politics blogs.
Robert Bluey, Director of the Center for Media and Public Policy at Heritage, hosts The Bloggers Briefing event every Tuesday. These briefings were launched to provide center-right bloggers with greater understanding of policy debates, and easier access to Heritage scholars. They can be attended in person by invitation, or via internet live stream, often with conservative leaders as guest speakers.
With many well-respected scholars, researchers, staffers, and achievements, the Heritage Foundation will continue to be the powerhouse of the conservative movement for many years to come, leading the fight in a return to the principles our great nation was founded upon.