Better Business Bureau Report for
The Heartland Institute

Better Business Bureau Report issued January 2012
Better Business Bureau Report expires January 2014

Does not meet one or more standards
This charity does not meet one or more of the 20 standards for Charity Accountability. Find out more...

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Charity Contact Information

Name: The Heartland Institute
Address: 19 South LaSalle Street #903
  Chicago, IL 60603
Phone: 312-377-4000
Web Address:
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Better Business Bureau Comments

Year, State Incorporated: 1984, Illinois
Affiliates: None
Stated Purpose: The mission of The Heartland Institute is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems. Such solutions include parental choice in education, choice and personal responsibility in health care, market-based approaches to environmental protection, privatization of public services, and deregulation in several areas.

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Evaluation Conclusions


The Heartland Institute does not meet the following 4 Standards for Charity Accountability.

Standard 4: Compensated Board Members - Not more than one or 10% (whichever is greater) directly or indirectly compensated person(s) serving as voting member(s) of the board. Compensated members shall not serve as the board's chair or treasurer.

The Heartland Institute does not meet this Standard because:

  • THREE (3) member(s) out of the 13 member board of directors (23%) is/are compensated either directly or indirectly.

Standard 6: Board Policy on Effectiveness - Have a board policy of assessing, no less than every two years, the organization's performance and effectiveness and of determining future actions required to achieve its mission.

The Heartland Institute does not meet this Standard because:

  • The board of directors does not have a written policy stating that, at least every two years, an appraisal be done assessing the organization’s performance and effectiveness and determining future actions required to achieve its mission.

Standard 16: Annual Report - Have an annual report available to all, on request, that includes: (a) the organization's mission statement, (b) a summary of the past year's program service accomplishments, (c) a roster of the officers and members of the board of directors, (d) financial information that includes (i) total income in the past fiscal year, (ii) expenses in the same program, fund raising and administrative categories as in the financial statements, and (iii) ending net assets.

The Heartland Institute does not meet this standard because:

  • The organization states it does not have an annual report covering activities conducted in the past year.

Standard 17: Web Site Disclosures - Include on any charity websites that solicit contributions, the same information that is recommended for annual reports, as well as the mailing address of the charity and electronic access to its most recent IRS Form 990.

The Heartland Institute does not meet this Standard because the organization's website,, does not include all of the recommended information for those charity websites that solicit for donations. Specifically, it does not include:

  • A summary of program service accomplishments.
The Heartland Institute meets the remaining 16 Standards for Charity Accountability.
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Policy Advisors: Approximately 130 academics and professional economists participate in its peer review process, and more than 200 elected officials serve on its Legislative Forum. Publications: Heartland sends six monthly public policy newspapers addressing the major domestic public policy issues to every national and state elected official in the U.S. plus 8,400 county and local officials and thousands of civic and business leaders. It also produces books, policy studies, and booklets. Communications: We appeared in print and on television or radio nearly 1,400 times in 2010. More than one million people visited our Web sites in the last 12 months. Our Facebook page registers nearly 53,000 fans and approximately 300,0000 post views every week. Government Relations: Our government relations staff made more than one million contacts with elected officials in 2010, 14,715 of those contacts were one-on-one either in person, by phone, or by one-to-one emails. Survey Results: A telephone survey of randomly selected state and local elected officials conducted in 2011 found 79% of state legislators and 63% of local elected officials read at least one of our publications. 45% of state legislators say a Heartland publication changed their mind or led to a change in public policy. Funding: Approximately 1,800 supporters support an annual budget of $6 million. Heartland does not accept government funding. Contributions are tax-deductible under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2010, The Heartland Institute's program expenses were:

Public Relations 2,372,624
Publications/Editorial 2,030,772
Government Relations 723,338
Total Program Expenses: $5,126,734
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Chief Executive : Joseph Bast, President

Chair of the Board: Dr. Herbert J. Walberg
Chair's Profession / Business Affiliation: Distinguished Visiting Faculty Member, Stanford University and Professor Emeritus and University Scholar, University of Illinois

Board Size: 13

Paid Staff Size: 42

*Compensation includes annual salary and, if applicable, benefit plans, expense accounts, and other allowances.
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Fund Raising


Method(s) Used:

telephone, invitations to fund raising events, print advertisements, grant proposals, internet, membership
Fund raising costs were 8% of related contributions. (Related contributions, which totaled $6,008,402, are donations received as a result of fund raising activities.)
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Tax Status


This organization is tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. It is eligible to receive contributions deductible as charitable donations for federal income tax purposes.
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The following information is based on The Heartland Institute's audited financial statements for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2010.

Source of Funds  
Contributions 5,963,887
Other Events 99,472
Fundraising events 35,003
Publications/research 23,513
Advertising 17,879
In-Kind Contributions 9,512
Interest income 8,537
Premiums 101
Gain/loss Market Value
Total Income $6,157,904


Uses of Funds as a % of Total Expenses

Programs: 83%  Fund Raising: 8%  Administrative: 9% 

Total income $6,157,904
Program expenses $5,126,734
Fund raising expenses 483,571
Administrative expenses 536,192
Total expenses $6,146,497
Income in Excess of Expenses 11,407
Beginning net assets 154,588
Ending net assets 688,439
Total liabilities 126,923
Total assets $815,362

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An organization may change its practices at any time without notice. A copy of this report has been shared with the organization prior to publication. It is not intended to recommend or deprecate, and is furnished solely to assist you in exercising your own judgment. If the report is about a charity and states the charity meets or does not meet the BBB Standards for Charity Accountability, it reflects the results of an evaluation of information and materials provided voluntarily by the charity. The name Better Business Bureau is a registered service mark of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, Inc.

This report is not to be used for fund raising or promotional purposes.

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