Freedom Foundation of Minnesota

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Learn more about how the State Policy Network aids ALEC and spins disinformation in the states.

The Freedom Foundation of Minnesota (FFM) is a state-based think tank and member of the State Policy Network.

The Freedom Foundation describes itself as "an independent, non-profit educational and research organization that actively advocates the principles of individual freedom, personal responsibility, economic freedom, and limited government."[1] Annette Meeks, former Deputy Chief of Staff for House Speaker Newt Gingrich, founded FFM in 2006 and currently serves as CEO.[2]

Global Warming

In 2009 the foundation was a co-sponsor of the Heartland Institute's 2009 conference for climate change skeptics.[3]

Ties to Redistricting Efforts

A report from the Alliance for a Better Minnesota cited stories from Minnesota Public Radio and Slate magazine indicating that FFM had ties to Minnesotans for Fair Redistricting. The group is a supposedly independent group working to redistrict Minnesota, but has known Republican bias. Although officially FFM denies any involvement with Minnesotans for Fair Redistricting, board member Chris Georgacas headed the group. Attorney Tony Trimble, another FFM board member, worked with the group's legal team and helped with the redistricting plans.<ref="report"/>

Ties to the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity

Freedom Foundation of Minnesota founded Minnesota Watchdog.[4] The Freedom Foundation of Minnesota is listed as a Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity "Watchdog Bureau".[5] The Franklin Center funds reporters in over 40 states.[6] Despite their non-partisan description, many of the websites funded by the Franklin Center have received criticism for their conservative bias.[7][8] On its website, the Franklin Center claims it "provides 10 percent of all daily reporting from state capitals nationwide."[9]

Franklin Center Funding

Franklin Center Director of Communications Michael Moroney told the Center for Public Integrity (CPI) in 2013 that the source of the Franklin Center's funding "is 100 percent anonymous." But 95 percent of its 2011 funding came from DonorsTrust, a spin-off of the Philanthropy Roundtable that functions as a large "donor-advised fund," cloaking the identity of donors to right-wing causes across the country (CPI did a review of Franklin's Internal Revenue Service records).[10] Mother Jones called DonorsTrust "the dark-money ATM of the conservative movement" in a February 2013 article.[11] Franklin received DonorTrust's second-largest donation in 2011.[10]

The Franklin Center also receives funding from the Wisconsin-based Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation,[12] a conservative grant-making organization.[13]

The Franklin Center was launched by the Chicago-based Sam Adams Alliance (SAM),[14] a 501(c)(3) devoted to pushing free-market ideals. SAM gets funding from the State Policy Network,[15] which is partially funded by the Claude R. Lambe Foundation.[16] Charles Koch, one of the billionaire brothers who co-own Koch Industries, sits on the board of this foundation.[17] SAM also receives funding from the Rodney Fund.

Core Financials


  • Total Revenue: $280,704
  • Total Expenses: $468,104
  • Net Assets: $5,932


  • Total Revenue: $549,963
  • Total Expenses: $335,375
  • Net Assets: $193,332


Board of Directors

  • Chris Georgacas
  • Jack Meeks
  • Brian Sullivan
  • Tony Trimble
  • Steve Knuth
  • Dirk Bak
  • Annette Meeks
  • Kristin Ostrander
  • Vin Weber


  • Annette Meeks, CEO
  • Jonathan Blake, Vice President
  • Tom Steward, Investigative Director

Contact Details

900 2nd Avenue South Suite 570 Minneapolis, MN 55402

Phone: 612-354-2160

Email: Info at

Articles and resources

Related SourceWatch Articles

Related PRWatch Articles


  1. Heartland Institute, "International Conference on Climate Change: Global Warming: Was It Ever Really a Crisis?", March 8-10, 2009, page 32.
  2. Alliance for a Better Minnesota, Who's in Charge: How Nationalized Corporate-Run Think Tanks Influence Minnesota Politics, organizational report, November 13, 2013.
  3. Heartland Institute, "Co-Sponsors", Heartland Institute website, March 5, 2009.
  4. Statehouse News Bureaus, Source Watch, accessed March 23, 2012
  5. Franklin Center,, organizational document, May 2013, obtained by the Center for Media and Democracy June 2013.
  6. The Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, Think tank Journalism: The Future of Investigative Journalism, organizational website, accessed August 19, 2011.
  7. Rebekah Metzler, 'Watchdog' website puts a new spin on politics, The Portland Press Herald, October 2, 2010.
  8. Allison Kilkenny, The Koch Spider Web, Truthout, accessed August 19, 2011.
  9. Sara Jerving, Franklin Center: Right-Wing Funds State News Source,, October 27, 2011.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Paul Abowd, Center for Public Integrity, Donors use charity to push free-market policies in states, organizational report, February 14, 2013.
  11. Andy Kroll, Exposed: The Dark-Money ATM of the Conservative Movement, Mother Jones, February 5, 2013.
  12. Daniel Bice, Franklin Center boss wants apology from Democratic staffer, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, August 8, 2011.
  13. Bradley Foundation, The Bradley Foundation, organizational website, accessed August 19, 2011.
  14. Sam Adams Alliance, Sam Adams Alliance Media Kit, organizational PDF, accessed August 19, 2011.
  15. Media Matters Action Network, Sam Adams Alliance, Conservative Transparency website, accessed August 19, 2011.
  16. Media Matters Action Network. State Policy Network, Conservative Transparency website, accessed August 19, 2011.
  17. Media Matters Action Network, Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation, Conservative Transparency website, accessed August 19, 2011.
  18. Freedom Foundation of Minnesota, IRS form 990, 2010. GuideStar.
  19. Freedom Foundation of Minnesota, IRS form 990, 2009. GuideStar.

External Articles

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