Indiana Family Institute

From SourceWatch
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The Indiana Family Institute (IFI) is a religious right-wing 501(c)3 nonprofit and a former "associate" member of the State Policy Network (SPN).[1] IFI works in association with 38 Family Policy Councils across the U.S. and is affiliated with Focus on the Family.

According to its website, IFI "believe(s) firmly that the family is the key institution of society, and that the overall health of any city, state, region or nation is largely determined by the health of this bedrock institution. An already large and growing body of published, peer-reviewed social science research confirms this age-old wisdom that traces its history back to Socrates, the Hebrew Scriptures and beyond. As such, we are committed to strengthening and improving the marriages and families of all Hoosiers and seek to partner with other organizations, groups and individuals who share that same great mission."[2]

State Policy Network

SPN is a web of right-wing “think tanks” and tax-exempt organizations in 48 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, and the United Kingdom. As of June 2024, SPN's membership totals 167. Today's SPN is the tip of the spear of far-right, nationally funded policy agenda in the states that undergirds extremists in the Republican Party. SPN Executive Director Tracie Sharp told the Wall Street Journal in 2017 that the revenue of the combined groups was some $80 million, but a 2022 analysis of SPN's main members IRS filings by the Center for Media and Democracy shows that the combined revenue is over $152 million.[3] Although SPN's member organizations claim to be nonpartisan and independent, the Center for Media and Democracy's in-depth investigation, "EXPOSED: The State Policy Network -- The Powerful Right-Wing Network Helping to Hijack State Politics and Government," reveals that SPN and its member think tanks are major drivers of the right-wing, American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)-backed corporate agenda in state houses nationwide, with deep ties to the Koch brothers and the national right-wing network of funders.[4]

In response to CMD's report, SPN Executive Director Tracie Sharp told national and statehouse reporters that SPN affiliates are "fiercely independent." Later the same week, however, The New Yorker's Jane Mayer caught Sharp in a contradiction. In her article, "Is IKEA the New Model for the Conservative Movement?," the Pulitzer-nominated reporter revealed that, in a recent meeting behind closed doors with the heads of SPN affiliates around the country, Sharp "compared the organization’s model to that of the giant global chain IKEA." She reportedly said that SPN "would provide 'the raw materials,' along with the 'services' needed to assemble the products. Rather than acting like passive customers who buy finished products, she wanted each state group to show the enterprise and creativity needed to assemble the parts in their home states. 'Pick what you need,' she said, 'and customize it for what works best for you.'" Not only that, but Sharp "also acknowledged privately to the members that the organization's often anonymous donors frequently shape the agenda. 'The grants are driven by donor intent,' she told the gathered think-tank heads. She added that, often, 'the donors have a very specific idea of what they want to happen.'"[5]

A set of coordinated fundraising proposals obtained and released by The Guardian in early December 2013 confirm many of these SPN members' intent to change state laws and policies, referring to "advancing model legislation" and "candidate briefings." These activities "arguably cross the line into lobbying," The Guardian notes.[6]

Hoosier Leadership Series

IFI's Hoosier Leadership Series was launched in 2006 with the aim of training the next generation of conservative leaders. IFI states the main objectives of the leadership series as:[7]

  • To identify, educate, and connect conservative leaders from around Indiana
  • To equip those conservative leaders to utilize their respective platforms of influence to advance a conservative worldview in their life and leadership
  • To mobilize those conservative leaders as a part of an ongoing movement to collectively impact the social, cultural, political, and spiritual landscape of Indiana.

The program allows participants to meet local, state and national leaders. The founding Congressional sponsors of the series were Mike Pence, Mike Sodrel, Dan Burton and Steve Buyer.[7]

2017 Legislative Agenda

Indiana Family Institute supports the following 2017 legislative items:[8]

IFI is opposed to the following legislative items:[8]

  • SB 273
  • SB 68
  • SB 439
  • SB 27
  • HB 1002

Core Financials


  • Total Revenue: $310,099
  • Total Expenses: $291,121
  • Net Assets: $38,029


  • Total Revenue: $466,310
  • Total Expenses: $448,361
  • Net Assets: $19,051


  • Total Revenue: $405,538
  • Total Expenses: $398,796
  • Net Assets: $1,102


  • Total Revenue: $373,622
  • Total Expenses: $376,771
  • Net Assets: ($13,860)


Board of Directors

As of IFI's 2014 tax filing:[9]

  • Mark Novotny
  • Kristel Novotny
  • Walt Brown
  • Sherry Brown
  • James Butcher
  • Marvel Butcher
  • Christopher Teeter
  • Lois Teeter
  • Dr. Ron Johnson
  • Chad Davis
  • Kim Davis
  • John Crane
  • Jean Crane
  • Debbie Smith
  • Jim Gleason
  • Trisha Gleason
  • Dayton Molendorp
  • Trudy Molendorp


Staff list per the organization's website:[12]

  • Ryan McCann
  • Curt Smith
  • John Brockman Crane


Employer Identification Number (EIN): 35-1790240

Indiana Family Institute
3600 West 96th Street
Indianapolis, Indiana 46268
Phone: (317).423.9178
Twitter: @indianafamily


  1. State Policy Network, Directory, organizational website, accessed June 22, 2017.
  2. Indiana Family Institute, About, organizational website, accessed June 22, 2017.
  3. David Armiak, State Policy Network and Affiliates Raises $152 Million Annually to Push Right-Wing Policies, ExposedbyCMD, September 30, 2022.
  4. Rebekah Wilce, Center for Media and Democracy, EXPOSED: The State Policy Network -- The Powerful Right-Wing Network Helping to Hijack State Politics and Government, organizational report, November 13, 2013.
  5. Jane Mayer, Is IKEA the New Model for the Conservative Movement?, The New Yorker, November 15, 2013.
  6. Ed Pilkington and Suzanne Goldenberg, State conservative groups plan US-wide assault on education, health and tax, The Guardian, December 5, 2013.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Indiana Family Institute, Hoosier Leadership Series, organizational wesbite, accessed June 22, 2017.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Indiana Family Institute, 2017 Legislative Agenda, organizational website, accessed June 22, 2017.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Indiana Family Institute, 2014 IRS Form 990, Internal Revenue Service, November 15, 2015.
  10. Indiana Family Institute, 2013 IRS Form 990, Internal Revenue Service, November 15, 2014.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Indiana Family Institute, 2012 IRS Form 990, Internal Revenue Service, November 15, 2013.
  12. Indiana Family Institute, IFI Team, organizational website, accessed June 22, 2017.