First launched in 2019 as an initiative of Atlas Network’s Center for U.S. and Canada, the 2022 Smart Bets class represents 10 rising and established stars in our network who have all been selected to receive $35,000 in funding, with the opportunity to compete for an additional $50,000 in the Investors Summit for Liberty, held the day after Liberty Forum & Freedom Dinner 2021 in Miami, Florida. The two organizations that took top honors in the 2019 Investors Summit—the Property and Environment Research Center and the Cardinal Institute for West Virginia Policy—went on to become finalists for the prestigious Templeton Freedom Award in 2020 and 2021, respectively.
The 2022 Smart Bets encompass three U.S. states and seven countries representing five continents. Without further ado, here are this week’s featured 2022 Smart Bets:
Government-run single-payer healthcare is hotly debated in American politics, but the U.S.’s northern neighbor has already implemented it. Unfortunately, not all Canadians are happy with it. The nature of the program essentially only the government can provide services it deems “medically necessary,” forcing everyone to wait for the government to provide care often results in long waiting lists. Sometimes patients die while waiting for treatment. Individuals have little recourse unless they have the money to cross the border to the U.S. or travel to other nations to seek healthcare. Atlas Network partner SecondStreet.org works to bring attention to this issue and show Canadians how the system can be improved, and they launched their Health Care Choice Project to do just that.
When SecondStreet.org was launched in 2019, they set out to do things differently—they sought to tell the stories of real people, not just analyze data. Health Care Choice takes the same approach. In this initiative, the organization’s plan is to collect and publish the stories of real Canadians who have suffered as a result of long health care waiting lists. These stories will be accompanied by original research and policy recommendations from SecondStreet.org. Ultimately, this project will show how Canadians could benefit through healthcare reform.
Smart Bets funding will contribute significantly to SecondStreet.org’s budget for the project. Their current plan entails using funds to access government data on patients dying while waiting for health procedures, creating and promoting policy briefs, collecting stories from patients, filming and promoting those stories, and more. Additional funding through a larger Smart Bets grant will allow them to tell more stories, attract more media attention, and optimize their promotion strategy further. This project will move the needle one province at a time toward giving patients the right to access the care of their choosing—public or private—without having to cross borders to do it.
Atlas Network supports SecondStreet.org through grant funding.
Pelican Institute for Public Policy
Baton Rouge, Louisiana, United States
Pelican Institute for Public Policy, a Louisiana-based Atlas Network partner, has dedicated part of its growth plan to solving a problem many nonprofits face: showing the real-world impact of their work. Pelican Institute believes they have found the solution in an “owned-audience” strategy. This approach allows the organization to attract a group of private individuals excited about Pelican Institute’s approach to making Louisiana a better place to live and work. These individuals can multiply the reach of their messaging across multiple platforms. This ensures that Pelican can be a powerful player in winning hearts and minds to the cause of freedom.
The owned-audience plan involves using targeted advertising to win individuals’ attention with small calls-to-action, such as signing petitions. Pelican Institute can build on these minor interactions to form a relationship and eventually create an informal network of supporters with stratified levels of engagement. These supporters help make Lousisiana a better by getting the organization’s work and everyday impact in front of new audiences who might otherwise be politically disengaged or uninterested in Pelican Institute. This strategy has already led to a measurable increase in receptivity to Pelican’s “A School That Fits” education reform campaign.
Smart Bets grant funding will allow Pelican Institute to utilize content and advertising experts to create, run, and analyze tests to determine the most effective content strategy. By honing their advertising, the organization will increase the efficiency of their marketing efforts and grow their owned audience. Initial tests have shown promising results—a previous $7,000 investment in this strategy yielded a 60 percent increase in their audience across Louisiana. Winning a larger Smart Bets grant would allow Pelican Institute to accelerate and expand their owned-audience campaign and reach their goal of 135,000 brand ambassadors ahead of the start of the 2023 gubernatorial race. Pelican Institute sees this as a critical opportunity to change the course of Louisiana politics in favor of a better, freer future.
Atlas Network supports Pelican Institute for Public Policy through grant funding.