May 16, 2019


Introducing Matt Warner–2019 Buckley Award Winner

By: AF Editors

America’s Future Foundation is excited to introduce the fourth of five 2019 Buckley Award winners: Matt Warner. Matt has made a significant impact in the understanding of free-market ideas internationally. Through his work at the Atlas Network, he created the “Doing Development Differently” initiative, which reexamines foreign aid and the developing world, as well as expanded the impact of their training programs, strengthening the worldwide freedom movement.

His nominator writes, “Matt has been the fire behind Atlas Network’s growth over the past several years. He does all this in a quiet way that is easy to miss but was recently recognized with his promotion to president.”

Because of his innovative ideas and effective leadership in the effort to bring free-market ideas to others around the globe, Matt has earned this award for “significantly contributing to the advancement or understanding of the ideas of a free society.”

Celebrate with Matt at the Annual Gala and Buckley Awards on Thursday, May 23, at 7:00 pm at Nationals Park in Washington, DC. Purchase your tickets here.

One of the judges notes, “Only in his 30s, [Matt] is leading one of the most important organizations on the Right today. The Atlas Network has become one of the most influential groups educating, inspiring, and helping others learn about liberty. Running a substantial organization like this does not happen by accident but through brilliance and determination.”

Get to know Matt!

What moment or opportunity in your life do you believe played the largest part in getting you to where you are today?

Introducing Matt Warner–2019 Buckley Award Winner 2

Photo: Matt Warner

My wife got a job in DC a year after we got married so I came along…

What piece of work or accomplishment are you most proud of (besides this Buckley Award)?
Launching our Doing Development Differently project has already led to increased economic freedom in many low-income places around the world. It’s thrilling to learn the stories of everyday people whose lives benefited as a result of our work.

What inspired the above work or accomplishment?
There has been so much introspection among the aid industry on how to help the world’s poor and a recognition that top-down plans are problematic. There is a real opportunity right now to argue for increased economic freedom as the key to tackling poverty and to demonstrate it by supporting high-impact, independent think tanks around the world.

In your words, why are you a conservative/libertarian?

Introducing Matt Warner–2019 Buckley Award Winner 3

Photo: Matt Warner

Libertarian solutions have always appealed to my sense of justice. There is just something obnoxious and troubling to me when someone thinks they know best how others should live their lives.

What does a typical day at the office look like for you?
Reading, writing, researching, troubleshooting, learning, laughing, emailing, emailing, and more emailing!

What do you believe is the biggest challenge facing America today?
Achieving the kind of social changes that seem desirable without always turning to government as the vehicle for all change and, by extension, using government more and more as the primary way all sides attempt to get everything they want out of life.

Hobbies/side gigs/secret skills no one knows about?
Old cars and junk shops.

What advice do you have for those who want to advance liberty and make a difference in our society?
Introducing Matt Warner–2019 Buckley Award Winner 5Make sure you aren’t just reading things you agree with. Learn as much as you can about different points of view and beware the difference between passion and certitude.

What are you watching on Netflix/Amazon/Hulu right now?
Would I Lie to You? On YouTube


Hot Takes with Matt

Brewed coffee or latte/mocha/etc.?
Celsius energy drink from 7-11, the institution most effectively bringing communities together every morning across this great nation.

Cat or dog?
Dog, if I’m not allergic to it

Android or Apple?

Email or GChat or Slack?
Email, GChat makes me crazy

Audiobook or podcast?

Wine or beer?

Hamilton or Jefferson?

Uber or Lyft?

Today’s hits or classic rock?
Classic Rock

Go to a movie or rent a movie?

Pizza or tacos?

Introducing Matt Warner–2019 Buckley Award WinnerMatt Warner is president and senior fellow of Atlas Network. Under the direction of the CEO, he is responsible for strategy, programming, and personnel management. Matt also leads the development of a research agenda to further demonstrate the invaluable role of think tanks in achieving freedom around the world. Matt writes, speaks, and consults internationally on the topics of economics, institution building, nonprofit management, measurement, and impact philanthropy. Matt coined the term “the outsider’s dilemma” to describe the challenge of helping low-income countries develop without inadvertently and perversely getting in the way of their most viable paths to prosperity. His work has appeared in Cato Journal, Forbes, Harvard’s Education Next, Real Clear Markets, Foundation for Economic Education, EconTalk, and Washington Times, among others.

Prior to joining Atlas Network in 2010, Matt served in various policy leadership positions at nonprofit think tanks with a focus on energy, education, and property rights. Matt has a master’s degree in economics from George Mason University and is certified by Georgetown University in organizational development consulting.

Matt and his wife Chrissy, an attorney, live in Vienna, Virginia with their four children.

The 2019 Buckley Award winners were chosen by a selection committee including: Christopher Malagisi, executive director of outreach at Hillsdale College and former president of the Young Conservatives Coalition (founder of the Buckley Awards); Claire Kittle Dixon, executive director of Talent Market and member of AF’s board of directors; Cindy Cerquitella, executive director of America’s Future Foundation; and Brian Wilson, founder CrossFit Walter Reed, CrossFit for Hope on the National Mall, and Combat & Classics and member of AF’s board of directors.