John Locke Foundation

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The John Locke Foundation is a 501(c)3 that was established in 1990 by a group of North Carolina citizens who pledged to work “for truth, for freedom, and for the future of North Carolina.”[1]

The mission statement for the organization reads as:

"The John Locke Foundation employs research, journalism, and outreach programs to transform government through competition, innovation, personal freedom, and personal responsibility. JLF seeks a better balance between the public sector and private institutions of family, faith, community, and enterprise."[2]


The John Locke Foundation envisions a North Carolina of responsible citizens, strong families, and successful communities committed to individual liberty and limited, constitutional government.[3]

Identified areas of concern

The following are public policies that are addressed by the foundation:[4]

  • Government corruption and wasteful spending.
  • Providing a sound, basic education to every child.
  • Crushing tax burdens on families and businesses.
  • Crime and the demise of safe, civil communities.
  • The costly, immoral, and destructive welfare state.
  • Oppressive rules and regulations on business.
  • Traffic congestion and transportation safety.
  • Lack of economic opportunities for all citizens.
  • A decline of individual freedom and self-reliance.

Transparency work

In the spring of 2008, the John Locke Foundation published its 2008 Transparency Report Card, an evaluation that assessed the state's fidelity to government transparency. The report evaluated North Carolina's many state agency websites, its 10 largest cities, 10 largest counties, and 10 highest-spending school districts.[5][6]

As a group, the cities earned the highest marks, with an overall grade of C-minus on the report’s 2008 Transparency Report Card, while individual city grades ranged from a B in sharing information about crime rates to an F for government contracts. Counties earned an overall D-plus grade; local school districts, D; and state agencies, D-minus.[7]

Report card co-author Chad Adams, JLF Vice President for Development and director of the Center for Local Innovation, said:

“Taxpayers and voters should react to these grades the same way parents would react to bad grades on their child’s report card. We can’t take away their iPods, but we can call on local and state government to clean up this mess and improve their transparency. It shouldn’t be a demand; it’s an obligation.”[8]

Guilford County

Guilford County's website earned a grade of D-minus from the foundation. Guilford County Schools earned the highest mark, a C-minus. No website earned better than a C. As a result of the report card the city and county leaders were taking steps to open their government to residents by working to provide easily accessible, accurate information on their websites.[9] Some officials did not believe the information would "interest residents," while others, like school board candidate Paul Daniels, believed that more information to residents was a good thing.


Area specific sites

JLF runs a number of websites specifically targeting news in different parts of the state. These include Charlotte, Piedmont Triad, Triangle, Western N.C., and Wilmington.

Center for Local Innovation

In 1999 ex-Mayor of Raleigh Tom Fetzer joined JLF and created the Center for Local Innovation. The project works to bring together local leaders to discuss issues such as privatization, fiscal restraint, and growth management. It also publishes papers to advocate efficiency of local government.[10]

North Carolina Education Alliance

The North Carolina Education Alliance was created in 1998 with the mission of identifying and publicizing innovative and effective solutions to educational issues. The Alliance "is dedicated to fundamental reform of our state's education system. We believe that the focus of education should be on students rather than the system, because the system exists to serve the students."[11]

Faculty Affiliate Network

A project of JLF, The Faculty Affiliate Network supports informal networking opportunities for faculty and student development through internships and educational opportunities. Affiliate scholars will have the opportunity to attend seminars, colloquia and faculty and guest events on campus, as well as having a web outlet for their research and interests."[12] It focuses on interest and research within the classical liberal tradition.

Emerging scholars

The E.A. Morris Fellowship for Emerging Leaders is the latest project from JLF. "Underwritten by the E.A. Morris Charitable Foundation and the John William Pope Foundation, the Morris Fellowship program encourages committed, diverse, and principled North Carolinians to pursue greater leadership roles within their professions and communities." Fellows explore public policy and the principles of classical liberalism and a free society.[13]

North Carolina History Project

The North Carolina History Project is a free online encyclopedia of the state's history. It also includes commentaries and lesson plans.[14]

Environment NC

JLF hosts Environment NC, a blog and website that aims to be a database of information and insight related to current environmental issues facing the state. Contributors include experts in the fields of science, public policy, economics, and law. Environment NC's purpose "is to be a voice for sound science, economic prosperity, and individual liberty in the greater debate over environmental policy. These are perspectives that are often lacking."[15]

See also

External links