Public, Society Benefit

BARRY GOLDWATER INSTITUTE FOR PUBLIC POLICY RESEARCH

  • Phoenix, AZ
  • www.goldwaterinstitute.org

Mission Statement

The Goldwater Institute drives results by working daily in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and strengthen the freedom guaranteed to all Americans in the constitutions of the United States and all fifty states.

With the blessing of its namesake, the Goldwater Institute opened in 1988. Its early years focused on defending liberty in Barry Goldwater's home state of Arizona. Today, the Goldwater Institute is a national leader for constitutionally limited government respected by the left and right for its adherence to principle and real world impact.

In the Federalist Papers, James Madison wrote that federal and state governments, each with explicit protections for liberty, would provide a “double security" for the people. Alexander Hamilton argued that if either government violated the peoples' rights, they could “make use of the other as the instrument of redress."

The Goldwater Institute leads the nation in employing state constitutions to check and balance Washington and restore freedom. The U.S. Constitution provides a floor for freedom, not a ceiling. State constitutions can augment freedoms far above the federal baseline.

With 200 legislative, ballot box and recent court victories to our name, the Institute has earned a reputation as a principled, effective voice for liberty: freedoms that provide terminal patients new hope through access to potentially life-saving investigational medicines, freedoms so families can choose schools that challenge and prepare their children for the future, economic freedoms that lower taxes, and simplify regulations to accelerate small business growth, and freedoms that create greater prosperity for all Americans.

The Goldwater Institute's mission is based on principle, not partisanship or personalities. Our attorneys boast a perfect win rate in the United States Supreme Court, and a 70 percent victory rate on average.

The Goldwater Institute is where freedom wins.

Main Programs

  1. Free enterprise
  2. Educational Freedom
  3. Center for Constitutional Litigation
  4. Constitutional Government & Federalism
  5. Healthcare Freedom
  6. Investigative Reporting
Service Areas

Self-reported

National

Through research, investigations, policy reform development, and advocacy, strategic litigation and education, the Goldwater Institute advances public policy and rule of law under which individuals can shape their own destinies as free men and women. We help citizens understand and adopt policies that sustain and restore economic liberty, educational freedom, personal responsibility and constitutional limits on government power consistent with the founding principles of our constitutional republic.

ruling year

1989

President and CEO

Self-reported

Ms. Darcy Olsen

Executive Vice President

Self-reported

Ms. Christina Sandefur

Keywords

Self-reported

Public Policy, Watchdog, Independent, Free Market, Limited Government, School Choice, Transparency, Constitution, Litigation, Research, Libertarian, Conservative, Federalism, Arizona, Freedom, Liberty

Notes from the Nonprofit

Please join us in our latest initiative to advance individual freedom: The Right To Try.

From her sickbed, Edie Bacon wrote of the travails a terminal patient faces and made a final plea for the only medication that might save her. “The government wants proof of efficacy before it will allow me to take this drug outside of an approved trial. But the 'proof' is years away, and I need the drug now. It's safe. It might work. Johnson & Johnson would let me have it if they could do so without the threat of a government hassle. But they're so caught up in the FDA web that the life of an individual patient has no importance whatsoever. Without ET 743, I'm a dead woman walking. Five kids are going to wonder why they're left without a mother. Won't somebody help me get this drug?" Edie died two years later, but there are thousands of patients who face this same battle every day – patients who have to make the same pleas that Edie did for a chance to try to protect their own lives.

Such pleas should anger anyone who believes in the concept of personal liberty. No free person should have to come to the government as a supplicant to beg to try to save his or her own life. In a country dedicated to the idea that all people have certain “unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness," no government official should have the power to deny a person's last chance at all three – life, liberty, and happiness. Yet that is the power the FDA wields today. States should challenge this regulatory authority by passing Right to Try and returning medical decision-making back to the rightful hands of patients and doctors.

Simply put, the Right to Try allows those suffering from a terminal disease access to medications that have not passed through the full FDA approval process. However, to ensure patient safety, the medications must pass FDA's phase one safety testing before they are eligible for use under the Right To Try.

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Also Known As

Goldwater Institute

EIN

86-0597661

 Number

5622614685

Contact

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Research Institutes and/or Public Policy Analysis (W05)

Research Institutes and/or Public Policy Analysis (P05)

Research Institutes and/or Public Policy Analysis (B05)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Programs + Results

How does this organization make a difference?

Overview

Self-reported by organization

The Goldwater Institute measures its impact by examining the results of its work to defend and enhance the freedom guaranteed to all Americans by the U.S. Constitution and all 50 states. Since 2003, the Goldwater Institute has spurred over 250 reforms nationwide. A total of 31 states have adopted our Right to Try initiative. We have won 74 percent of our court cases. Others have recognized and honored these accomplishments. The Goldwater Institute has received a Templeton Freedom Award for innovation in public relations. President and CEO Darcy Olsen has been honored with the prestigious Roe Award for achievement in state public policy. The Goldwater Institute was the recipient of the Arizona Capitol Times “Best Capitol Watchdog" award in 2008, 2009 and 2010, and also was named by the Capitol Times as "Leader of the Year" for Policy Development in 2009. As Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist George Will has said, "The Goldwater Institute is simply in the liberty business, and there's no institution in the country that performs that business better."

Programs

Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Program 1

Free enterprise

The Goldwater Institute publishes research, and hosts policy forums, lectures, luncheons, and other events with the goal of advancing ideas that benefit all Americans.

Since 1988, the Goldwater Institute has published at least 266 policy reports, and hundreds of additional memos, briefings, and essays on various topics related to good governance based on founding principles of the United States.

The Goldwater Institute is working in state capitols and courtrooms to protect one of the essential elements of the American Dream: the right to earn an honest living free from unreasonable government interference.

Category

Community, Business & Industry

Population(s) Served

General Public/Unspecified

Poor/Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent, General

None

Budget

Program 2

Educational Freedom

The Goldwater Institute publishes research, and hosts policy forums, lectures, luncheons, and other events with the goal of advancing ideas that benefit all Americans.

Since 1988, the Goldwater Institute has published at least 266 policy reports, and hundreds of additional memos, briefings, and essays on various topics related to good governance based on founding principles of the United States.

The Goldwater Institute has designed, spearheaded the adoption of, and vindicated in court the most cutting-edge school choice reforms of the 21st Century. To date, 5 states have adopted Education Savings Accounts. Our goal is to create a modern education system where funds follow students, the education market is driven by parents and the private sector, and the government monopoly over the funding and provision of education is broken.

Category

Education

Population(s) Served

Children and Youth (infants - 19 years.)

None

Budget

Program 3

Center for Constitutional Litigation

In 2007, the Goldwater Institute established a legal center to uphold individual rights and to hold government accountable to state and federal constitutions. The center's mission is to advance sound principles of public policy while defending and highlighting constitutionally protected freedoms.

Beyond individual cases, the center's attorneys work closely with Goldwater Institute policy analysts and other staff to develop proposed policy solutions for state and local governments to advance freedom and protect the Constitution. By integrating policy research and legal analysis, the Goldwater Institute develops innovative policy solutions that have a far greater likelihood of withstanding court challenge.

Category

Civil Rights, Social Action & Advocacy

Population(s) Served

Poor/Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent, General

General Public/Unspecified

None

Budget

Program 4

Constitutional Government & Federalism

The Goldwater Institute publishes research, and hosts policy forums, lectures, luncheons, and other events with the goal of advancing ideas that benefit all Americans.

Since 1988, the Goldwater Institute has published at least 266 policy reports, and hundreds of additional memos, briefings, and essays on various topics related to good governance based on founding principles of the United States.

Father of the Constitution James Madison wrote that federal and state governments, each with explicit protections for liberty, would provide a “double security” for the people. The U.S. Constitution provides a floor for freedom – not a ceiling – and states can strengthen freedoms far above the federal baseline. The Goldwater Institute is dedicated to defending the freedom guaranteed to all Americans in the United States Constitution, but our goal is to remain a national leader in checking government abuses through the power of the states.

Category

Civil Rights, Social Action & Advocacy

Population(s) Served

Poor/Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent, General

General Public/Unspecified

None

Budget

Program 5

Healthcare Freedom

The Goldwater Institute publishes research, and hosts policy forums, lectures, luncheons, and other events with the goal of advancing ideas that benefit all Americans.

Since 1988, the Goldwater Institute has published at least 266 policy reports, and hundreds of additional memos, briefings, and essays on various topics related to good governance based on founding principles of the United States.

The healthcare market, traditionally regulated (and protected) by the states, has increasingly become dominated by federal control. But state constitutions, capitols, and courtrooms still provide a wealth of promising opportunities to protect healthcare freedom.

Category

Health Care

Population(s) Served

Poor/Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent, General

Physically Disabled nec

None

Budget

Program 6

Investigative Reporting

The Goldwater Institute publishes research, and hosts policy forums, lectures, luncheons, and other events with the goal of advancing ideas that benefit all Americans.

Since 2009, the Goldwater Institute has published least 21 special investigative reports exposing government waste, illegal government activities, and abuses of power that threaten public treasuries and personal freedoms.

The Goldwater Institute uses traditional investigative reporting techniques to research public records and interview sources to hold government agencies accountable. This reporting reveals waste of tax dollars and harmful government policies. This reporting identifies opportunities for policy analysts and legal experts to propose solutions that would advance freedom and promote constitutionally limited government.

Category

Social Science

Population(s) Served

General Public/Unspecified

None

Budget

Results

Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one. These quantitative program results are self-reported by the organization, illustrating their committment to transparency, learning, and interest in helping the whole sector learn and grow.

1. Number of briefings or presentations held

Target Population
General/Unspecified

Connected to a Program?
Constitutional Government & Federalism
TOTALS BY YEAR
Context notes for this metric
This is the total number of public presentations that featured the Institute's analysts and/or attorneys in a calendar year. The topics covered are wide-ranging and pertain to all of our programs.

2. Number of research or policy analysis products developed, e.g., reports, briefs

Target Population
General/Unspecified

Connected to a Program?
Center for Constitutional Litigation
TOTALS BY YEAR
Context notes for this metric
This is the number of original policy or investigative reports that the Institute published in a calendar year.

3. Number of policies formally established

Target Population
General/Unspecified

Connected to a Program?
Center for Constitutional Litigation
TOTALS BY YEAR
Context notes for this metric
This is the number of victories for freedom, defined as the adoption of key legislative reforms or final court decisions in a calendar year.

4. Number of list subscribers

Target Population
General/Unspecified

Connected to a Program?
Constitutional Government & Federalism
TOTALS BY YEAR
Context notes for this metric
This is the number of individuals who subscribe to the Institute's mailing list and receive a quarterly magazine, monthly e-newsletter, and event invitations.

5. Total revenue earned to support advocacy efforts

Target Population
General/Unspecified

Connected to a Program?
Constitutional Government & Federalism
TOTALS BY YEAR
Context notes for this metric

6. Number of press releases developed and distributed

Target Population
General/Unspecified

Connected to a Program?
Constitutional Government & Federalism
TOTALS BY YEAR
Context notes for this metric

7. Number of media articles reflecting preferred issue framing

Target Population
General/Unspecified

Connected to a Program?
Constitutional Government & Federalism
TOTALS BY YEAR
Context notes for this metric

8. Average number of active cases handled

Target Population
Economically disadvantaged, low-income, and poor people, General/Unspecified

Connected to a Program?
Center for Constitutional Litigation
TOTALS BY YEAR
Context notes for this metric
This is the average number of active public-interest, liberty-advancing lawsuits Institute attorneys handled each year. The Institute has filed 53 cases since it began litigating in 2007.

9. Number of cases resulting in final judicial victories

Target Population
General/Unspecified, Economically disadvantaged, low-income, and poor people

Connected to a Program?
Center for Constitutional Litigation
TOTALS BY YEAR
Context notes for this metric
This is the number of lawsuits that we won each year, meaning we achieved a favorable final outcome for freedom.

10. Number of cases resulting in final favorable out-of-court settlements

Target Population
General/Unspecified, Economically disadvantaged, low-income, and poor people

Connected to a Program?
Center for Constitutional Litigation
TOTALS BY YEAR
Context notes for this metric
This is the number of lawsuits that we settled favorably each year, meaning we achieved a favorable final outcome for freedom that didn't require a judicial decision.

11. Number of letters demanding government cease unlawful behavior

Target Population
General/Unspecified, Economically disadvantaged, low-income, and poor people

Connected to a Program?
Center for Constitutional Litigation
TOTALS BY YEAR
Context notes for this metric
This is the number of "litigation by letterhead" letters we sent, alerting government officials to their unlawful behavior and asking them to cease the unlawful action.

12. Number of favorable responses to letters demanding government cease unlawful behavior

Target Population
No target populations selected

Connected to a Program?
n/a
TOTALS BY YEAR
Context notes for this metric
This is the number of times that governments ceased unlawful behavior after request that they do so, without our having to take them to court.

13. Number of interns and law clerks employed

Target Population
General/Unspecified

Connected to a Program?
Center for Constitutional Litigation
TOTALS BY YEAR
Context notes for this metric
Through policy research, mentoring, and educational seminars, interns and clerks gain a foundational understanding of classical liberal principles.

Charting Impact

Self-reported by organization

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

  1. What is the organization aiming to accomplish?
    The Goldwater Institute is a national organization working to preserve liberty, one freedom at a time. Founded in 1988 with the blessing of the late Senator Barry Goldwater, we have taken the lead in combining policy and legal research with education of the public to restore the founding principles that made America a beacon of opportunity and prosperity.

    With the gridlock that grips the nation's capital, the Goldwater Institute is looking outside of Washington to revive the principles of free markets and constitutionally limited government. We are focused on encouraging the 50 states to use their constitutional powers in this regard. After all, the states can go much further to protect individual rights and even to push back against federal overreach. As Frayda Levy, a board member for the Club for Growth and Americans for Prosperity, said recently, “The Goldwater Institute has made federalism everything that our founding fathers hoped it would be."
  2. What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?
    The Goldwater Institute was originally established as an Arizona policy think tank. Over time, the Institute has developed a unique model for advancing freedom that combines research with policy and legal solutions to develop government reform proposals that are embraced by at least one state. Then, the Institute duplicates those reforms in other states through public education initiatives and, if necessary, defends our reforms in court. Today, the Goldwater Institute is a national leader in the movement to restore America as a compound republic, where states exercise their constitutional authority to check and limit federal power.

    Various program services at the Goldwater Institute are fully integrated so that every staff expert has the opportunity to examine policy concerns in-depth while working closely with colleagues from other disciplines to develop fully vetted reform proposals.

    The Goldwater Institute establishes informal strategic alliances with national, state, and local organizations who share our values to inform the public and policymakers about proposed reforms from a variety of perspectives. The Institute extends such alliances, when possible, to defend its reforms in court.
  3. What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?
    The Institute's physical headquarters is located near the state Capitol in downtown Phoenix. The staff includes at least ten policy and legal experts with experience in economic liberty; taxes, government budgets, and fiscal policy; early childhood education and K-12 education; property rights; health care policy; constitutional and civil rights law; government union policy; government employee pensions; and federalism. The staff includes one full-time investigative reporter as well as seven attorneys.

    Our nationally recognized experts include Darcy Olsen, president & CEO of the Goldwater Institute; Christina Sandefur, executive vice president, attorney, author, and co-drafter of the Institute's Right to Try initiative; Timothy Sandefur, vice president for litigation with more than 15 years of experience in the public interest legal movement and author of four books and dozens of scholarly articles; and Jon Riches, general counsel and director of national litigation, a nationwide leading advocate and litigator for public sector union reform.

    The Goldwater Institute also has a robust college internship component called the Ronald Reagan Fellows program. About 30 young adults work at the Institute each year to receive a hands-on education in public policy. Assigned throughout the Institute, these college interns and law clerks receive active mentoring, are required to complete an academic reading curriculum, and attend weekly presentations by Institute staff, independent policy experts, and elected government officials.
  4. How will they know if they are making progress?
    The Goldwater Institute measures progress primarily by examining results. The Institute strives to have impact through government policy reforms that advance freedom and protect the Constitution. The Institute identifies and tracks proposed legislation based on its policy research and special investigations. The Institute identities and tracks lawsuits filed or defended by the Institute, as well as cases initiated by other government watchdogs based on legal strategies originally developed at the Institute.
  5. What have and haven't they accomplished so far?
    Over 250 laws and legal precedents have been inspired or changed across the country because of policy research and legal strategies developed by the Goldwater Institute. A total of 31 states have adopted the Institute's Right to Try initiative. The Institute has won intermediate or final, favorable judgments in 74 percent of its legal cases.

    But the fight for freedom continues. The Goldwater Institute will continue its policy research and legal work as long as individual rights are threatened and government at all levels continues to ignore the traditional limits on power established in state and federal constitutions.
Service Areas

Self-reported

National

Through research, investigations, policy reform development, and advocacy, strategic litigation and education, the Goldwater Institute advances public policy and rule of law under which individuals can shape their own destinies as free men and women. We help citizens understand and adopt policies that sustain and restore economic liberty, educational freedom, personal responsibility and constitutional limits on government power consistent with the founding principles of our constitutional republic.

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Financials

Financial information is an important part of gauging the short- and long-term health of the organization.

BARRY GOLDWATER INSTITUTE FOR PUBLIC POLICY RESEARCH
Fiscal year: Jan 01-Dec 31
Yes, financials were audited by an independent accountant.

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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

BARRY GOLDWATER INSTITUTE FOR PUBLIC POLICY RESEARCH

Leadership

NEED MORE INFO ON THIS NONPROFIT?

Free: Gain immediate access to the following:
  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2014, 2014 and 2013
  • Board Chair, Board Co-Chair and Board Members
  • Access to the GuideStar Community
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President and CEO

Ms. Darcy Olsen

Executive Vice President

Ms. Christina Sandefur

BIO

Darcy A. Olsen is president and CEO of the Goldwater Institute since 2001. Before heading the Institute, Olsen served as Director of Education and Child Policy at the Washington D.C.-based Cato Institute where she became a leading proponent for parental responsibility and educational freedom.

Olsen's vision has made the Goldwater Institute a national leader in the movement to restore America as a compound republic, where states exercise their constitutional authority to check and limit federal power.

An authority on education reform, economic policy, and government reform, Olsen is a regular guest on national media programs. Her opinions have been widely published in outlets such as the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and National Review.

Olsen has received numerous awards and recognitions including a 2014 Bradley Prize, which recognizes individuals of extraordinary talent and dedication who seek to preserve and defend the institutions of free government and private enterprise, and the national Roe Award for achievement in public policy. One of her most unexpected awards was when Hockey Magazine named her the “64th most powerful person in hockey" for her leading role in blocking a multi-million-dollar subsidy to an NHL team.

A graduate of Georgetown University and New York University, Olsen unofficially started her public policy career at 11 years old, when she went door-to-door gathering signatures on a homemade petition to stop animal abuse. Born in Vermont, raised in Utah, Olsen resides in Arizona. She is a foster mother and an adoptive mother of three.

STATEMENT FROM THE President and CEO

"The Goldwater Institute is an independent organization supported by people who are committed to expanding free enterprise and liberty. The Institute develops innovative, principled solutions to pressing issues facing the states and focuses on expanding economic freedom, educational opportunity, and protecting the rights guaranteed to Americans by the U.S. and state constitutions.

Through research, investigations, strategic litigation, testimony, advocacy, and education, the Goldwater Institute advances public policy and rule of law under which individuals can shape their own destinies as free men and women. We help citizens understand and adopt policies that sustain and restore economic liberty, educational freedom, personal responsibility and constitutional limits on government power consistent with the founding principles of our constitutional republic.

100% of our revenue is dedicated to advance our mission."

Governance

BOARD CHAIR

Eric Crown

Goldwater Institute

BOARD LEADERSHIP PRACTICES

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices. Self-reported by organization

No

BOARD ORIENTATION & EDUCATION

Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?

No

CEO OVERSIGHT

Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?

Yes

ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY

Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?

Yes

BOARD COMPOSITION

Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?

No

BOARD PERFORMANCE

Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?