Atlas Network’s
Center for U.S. and Canada

Atlas Network’s new Center for U.S. and Canada works with local civil society organizations on both sides of the border to create positive perceptions of the role of free enterprise and individual liberty in advancing a freer, more prosperous world for all.



Garrett Ballengee was the first employee of the Cardinal Institute for West Virginia Policy, a state-based think tank working to reverse decades of poor outcomes with the state's education system, to liberalize labor markets so workers can thrive, and much more. Hear how a small but tough team has punched above their weight to d...



Protecting endangered species is a fairly uncontroversial policy issue. While the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA) has helped to prevent 99 percent of listed species from going extinct, only two percent of those species have ever recovered their populations to warrant no longer being listed. To improve this poor track record...



“How do government policies impact everyday Canadians?” That’s the question that, an organization based in Saskatchewan, is exploring. Through a series of videos and articles on, is revealing the ways government-run healthcare, energy, and business regulations are negatively imp...



By using storytelling techniques and practical tools gained through Atlas Network’s Lights, Camera, Liberty film workshop, Goldwater Institute's new video “Arizona Blow-Dry Bar Owner Untangles Red Tape” features compelling interviews that explain how, until very recently, massive barriers prevented many Arizonans from building c...



Atlas Network President Matt Warner was a recent guest on the Cato Daily Podcast to discuss new trends in economic development, foreign aid, and the role think tanks can play in resolving what Warner calls “the Outsider’s Dilemma” that lies at the heart of the global effort to end poverty.



The Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) recently announced that Žilvinas Šilėnas will serve as the organization’s 11th president. With years of think tank experience under his belt, as well as a commitment to the promotion of the free market, the decision highlights an exciting transition for FEE. Previously, Šilėnas has ser...



American Enterprise Institute, an Atlas Network partner, announced that Robert Doar will replace Arthur Brooks as its next president. Brooks has served as AEI’s president since 2009. Prior to that, he was a professor of business and government in the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University.



Atlas Network’s Center for the U.S. and Canada is part of a proven strategy for improving the effectiveness of think tanks and other players in the freedom movement.

The United States and Canada represent more than a quarter of the world’s economy, and together they have an even greater role on the world stage as beacons of free enterprise and individual liberty. To ensure that the 21st century is marked by peace and prosperity, civil society organizations in these two countries must provide leadership in defense of free enterprise and limited government.

By leveraging Atlas Network's strengths in training programs, competitive grants, media outreach, and events, and by building new capacity through coalition engagement, the Center will engage a peer-to-peer network that is advancing innovation and idea diffusion and multiply the impact of those working for a freer, more prosperous future.

A special priority of the Center is to seek solutions for achieving a more inclusive prosperity in American and Canadian communities via an engagement strategy that has yielded successes for Atlas Network in other countries. We seek to transcend traditional ideological divides and focus on the important role of the individual, not the state, in carving a path out of poverty.

John Tillman, Director

John Tillman John Tillman is one of the nation’s most prominent leaders in advancing free-market public policy. As CEO of the Illinois Policy Institute, John leads a talented team of leaders, experts and advocates to advance reforms that can spur Illinois’ comeback story. His leadership has been instrumental in making the Illinois Policy Institute an important voice on criminal justice reform, pension reform, budget and tax policies, and issues concerning jobs and growth.

In addition to leading the relaunch of the Illinois Policy Institute 501(c)(3) in 2007, John founded Illinois Policy 501(c)(4) and the Liberty Justice Center, a 501(c)(3) public-interest law firm. In 2011, John won the State Policy Network’s prestigious Roe Award for his leadership, innovation and accomplishments in the world of public policy. This annual award pays tribute to those in the state-based public policy movement whose achievements have greatly advanced free-market philosophy.

Niels Veldhuis, Co-Director

Niels Veldhuis Niels Veldhuis is President of the Fraser Institute, Canada’s top ranked think-tank and among the top 20 globally, according to the University of Pennsylvania’s Global Go To Think Tanks Report. Niels has written six books and more than 50 peer-reviewed studies on a wide range of economic topics. In 2011, he was awarded (along with his co-authors) the prestigious Sir Antony Fisher International Memorial Award for the best-selling book, The Canadian Century. Niels is in high demand for his opinions and perspectives on major economic and social issues, appearing regularly on radio and television programs across Canada and in the United States. He has written more than 200 articles that have appeared in over 50 newspapers including the Globe and Mail, Wall Street Journal, National Post, and the Economist. Niels is best known for his ability to explain matters of government policy in a down-to-earth manner, making them easily understandable. He travels widely across North America, speaking to business groups, corporate gatherings, voluntary organizations, and students. In 2011, Niels led a discussion between former U.S. presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush at the Surrey Economic Forum. Niels holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration, with joint majors in business and economics, and a Master’s Degree in Economics from Simon Fraser University. In 2010 he was named one of Vancouver’s Top 40 under 40 by Business in Vancouver.



From general support to special project funding. Atlas Network offers its partners in Latin American a range of strategic opportunities on a competitive basis.



In recognition of excellence and special achievements, Atlas Network identifies and rewards the very best in its Latin America network through a variety of awards and prizes.



Atlas Network provides digital and in-person training to take the leadership in the Latin American freedom movement to the next level.



Does the Center adhere to a particular ideology?

The Center for U.S. and Canada collaborates with partners that understand how individual rights, limited government under the rule of law, and free markets create prosperity and improve the prospects for peace. The Center calls for an end to cronyism, corruption, and political privileges of all kinds, and looks forward to working with all people of goodwill who share this vision. In this way, the Center adheres to a set of principles, but not to a narrowly-defined ideology or political orientation.

Does the Center get involved in politics?

No. The Center for U.S. and Canada does not engage in partisan politics. Our focus is on building a long-term consensus around the principles that foster peace and prosperity, with the sincere hope that such a future will see ‘less at stake’ in individual elections, because all parties will be respectful of fundamental freedoms.

How can I learn the Center’s position on particular policy issues?

The Center for U.S. and Canada serves a network of independent think tanks and civil society organizations that take their own positions on specific policy topics in specific countries. We are not a think tank ourselves, so we are not in the business of providing breaking news commentary on the issues of the day. On occasion, our team can assist media inquiries by providing references to experts associated with our partner organizations, but these individuals do not speak for the Center itself.

How do I get involved with the Center?

If you would like to learn more about the Center and meet those involved in its work, consider attending Liberty Forum & Freedom Dinner in New York City.

If you are working for a think tank or civil society group that would like to take part in training programs and grant competitions, the first step is to go through Atlas Network’s partner approval process.

If you are a philanthropist wanting to learn about the Center’s work, please contact Chad Goote, Atlas Network’s Vice President of Development, for details that will help you make an informed decision about how gifts to the Center for U.S. and Canada may fulfill your philanthropic goals. Atlas Network, also known as Atlas Economic Research Foundation, is registered as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. All contributions are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law. Our tax identification number is 94-2763845. A donation can be made here.

If you are a member of the media, we welcome your inquiries about how you might contribute to a better understanding of the work of the Center and the achievements of our independent partners. This FAQ may answer your questions. For additional information, please contact Melissa Mann, Atlas Network’s Vice President of Communications.

How is the Center funded?

The Center is not endowed and does not accept funding from any government. It relies entirely on the generosity of individuals and institutional donors that share a desire to create greater freedom and opportunity for people throughout the U.S. and Canada.

Is John Tillman available to speak to my organization?

The Center welcomes speaking invitations for Director John Tillman. Please contact Hilary Gowins with the details of your invitation. Atlas Network may able to suggest one or more alternate speakers for your event should Mr. Tillman be unavailable.

What are the Center’s top priorities at present?

Since the Center believes the best policy solutions come from the bottom-up, our strategy is to listen to our partners rather than direct them. The principal focus of our work is in supporting our partners’ locally-grown solutions to poverty and other problems via training, grants, and networking opportunities.

Current themes include:

• Improving understanding of the benefits of free trade and individual liberty
• Rooting out corruption and political privileges that distort the economic playing field
• Using tools like the Doing Business report of the World Bank and the Fraser Institute’s Economic Freedom of the World report to identify reforms that can measurably increase economic freedom.

What does the Center for U.S and Canada do?

The mission of the Center is to help achieve inclusive prosperity in the U.S. and Canada, providing justice and opportunity to all citizens on both sides of the border. Our strategy is to assist civil society organizations in the region to implement bottom-up projects that increase freedom. We focus our attention on helping our partners by providing (1) training; (2) competitive grant opportunities; and (3) networking opportunities. Through our Liberty Forums and other events and public campaigns, we also bring public attention to the projects of our partners and the importance of their work.

What is the Center’s relationship to other organizations focused broadly on the U.S. and Canada?

The Center aims to complement—and finds ways to collaborate with—other efforts to advance sound policy ideas that create freedom, prosperity, and peace. We welcome inquiries about how we might work cooperatively with other organizations pursuing similar ends.