Atlas Network's U.S. Investors Summit for Liberty awards $500,000 to free-market think tanks

Liberty awards

The Property and Environment Research Center (PERC) and the Cardinal Institute for West Virginia Policy were both awarded grants of $75,000 at Atlas Network’s inaugural U.S. Investors Summit for Liberty, which gave ten pre-selected, U.S.-based organizations a platform to compete for a total of $500,000 in general support funding. The ten organizations, dubbed “2020 Smart Bets,” because of their potential for success, pitched a small group of possible supporters on Friday, November 8 in New York City.

Three men in discussion at the Liberty Awards.
Cardinal Institute Executive Director Garrett Ballangee speaks about his organization at the U.S. Investors Summit for Liberty.

Emcee John Tillman, who directs Atlas Network’s new Center for U.S and Canada, spoke of the importance of the Smart Bets’ work to advance human freedom and human prosperity. Tillman explained the idea behind the summit, noting that it was modeled on venture capital investor summits where a curated selection of capital seekers pitch their “undervalued” companies to high-capacity investors during one concentrated networking event.

Taliesin Nexus filmmaker Patrick Reasonover told the audience that the fight for freedom needs to reach people’s emotional cores. “Arguments and data are not enough,” he said. “Liberty must have an impassioned feeling.” He spoke of the organization’s network of over 1,000 filmmakers who are engaged in creating award-winning content that reaches millions of viewers with a message of liberty. Investor Chris Rufer agreed, stressing the need for storytelling as a tool for policy and cultural change.

Two men on stage at the Liberty Awards Investor Summit.
Patrick Reasonover of Taliesin Nexus delivers a pitch for his organization at the U.S. Investors Summit.

The ten public policy organizations, which Atlas Network is calling “2020 Smart Bets,” pitched their plans to a small group of supporters who have an expressed interest in advancing innovative and scalable efforts to promote ideas and policies that encourage individual freedom, free enterprise, and prosperity. Following the pitches, organizations met with individual donors to answer questions and discuss opportunities for project investment.

In addition to the awards made to Cardinal Institute and PERC, Beacon Center of Tennessee, Becket, Center for Economic Accountability, Georgia Center for Opportunity, Libertas Institute, Taliesin Nexus, the Center for the Philosophy of Freedom at the University of Arizona, and Yankee Institute for Public Policy were also awarded funding for general support projects. Major support for the program came from the Smith Family Foundation. All ten organizations are members of Atlas Network’s extensive partner network, which includes 500 organizations in 100 countries as well as more than 180 U.S.- based organizations.