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This article is from the Encyclopedia of North Carolina edited by William S. Powell. Copyright © 2006 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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John Locke Foundation

by Robert Blair Vocci, 2006

The John Locke Foundation, named for the seventeenth century English philosopher whose writings are central to American political thought, is a Raleigh-based nonprofit and nonpartisan think tank, incorporated in 1989 for the purpose of shaping public policy in North Carolina. As with other conservative think tanks such as the Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute, the foundation's policy agenda centers on the supremacy of individual liberty, limited government, and free market principles.

The John Locke Foundation utilizes a variety of methods to influence state legislators and citizens to support lower taxes, deregulation of business, and other conservative initiatives. The resident scholars who comprise the Research Division study North Carolina policy and offer their recommendations in reports and during appearances before the legislature. The Communications Division acts as chief liaison to the public and the mainstream media and is responsible for distributing the Carolina Journal, a monthly newspaper spotlighting current policy issues. Luncheons, receptions, and other public events are organized by the Events and Outreach Division, which has secured leading conservatives such as Dick Cheney and Newt Gingrich as speakers.

As a nonprofit think tank, the John Locke Foundation is funded by private contributions rather than government aid, receiving support from some 1,500 individuals, businesses, and other foundations. Although still quite young compared with its ideological forebears-the American Enterprise Institute (founded in 1943), Heritage Foundation (1973), and Cato Institute (1977)-the John Locke Foundation has quickly become a leading North Carolina think tank by successfully supplementing its policy research with aggressive self-promotion and public relations efforts.

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