December 20, 2016 Print

Powerful special interests often control the political process, but new Atlas Network partner Free the People is devoted to one major goal: “To permanently shift power away from political insiders and Washington cronies, back to local communities and free people.” Led by President and Chief Community Organizer Matt Kibbe and CEO Terry Kibbe, Free the People defends free choice in everything from drug policy to health care and retirement, as well as every aspect of the sharing economy.

“The audience for liberty is much bigger than anyone could imagine,” Terry explains. “We are at a remarkable moment in history where everyone with access to the Internet, in the words of John Perry Barlow, has ‘a right to know’ whatever it is they want to know. … We just have to make alternative ideas and values accessible … we need to get upstream of politics, into the popular culture, where young people get information and form their opinions.”

Both Matt and Terry have decades of experience with community organizing. Matt founded FreedomWorks in 2004, a national grassroots advocacy organization, and prior to that served as a congressional chief of staff. He has spent time as budget director for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and senior economist for the Republican National Committee. He’s also a distinguished senior fellow for the Austrian Economic Center in Vienna, Austria. Terry is the president of Curated Innovation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Cambridge, Mass. She previously spent the first decade of her career as an engineer working on defense technology.

Free the People is working on projects involving video narrative, imagery, storytelling, and even comedy. The team there is working to make the ideas of liberty accessible to new audiences in innovative ways.

“So far, our little startup has built a pretty impressive community, reaching some 37 million people a month,” Terry continues. “We want to entertain, make ideas fun, disruptive. … We think the constituency for liberty is much larger than conventional wisdom claims, and we are crowd-sourcing language and messaging from new audiences. This is our moment to go big, and we are having the best time doing it.”