Leadership Program of the Rockies

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The Leadership Program of the Rockies (LPR) is a right-wing, Colorado-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit that has been tax exempt since 2003.[1]

LPR seeks to "develop, strengthen, train and equip emerging leaders to reach new heights in public policy and the political process." The program consists of nine full-day sessions from October through June. LPR "identifies and brings together emerging leaders from the legal, economic, business, political, nonprofit and civic professions to learn how visionary, principle-centered leadership can positively impact their community."[2]

"LPR has a unique curriculum where students read Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand and Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt. Through lecture and class discussion, students are armed with the necessary tools to be life-long Defenders of Capitalism.

LPR has a second curriculum called Defenders of the Declaration where participants study the Federalist Papers, Constitution, and the Declaration of Independence.[3]

LPR is an associate member of the State Policy Network, a group of right-wing think tanks and politically-active nonprofits.

News and Controversies

Annual Retreat

LPR has a two-day Annual Retreat each year at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs. Past speakers have included Charles Krauthammer, Dr. Art Laffer, Mark Levin, George Will, Mark Steyn, Peggy Noonan, John Stossel, Daniel Hannan, John Bolton, Bill Kristol, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Ann Coulter, Dinesh D’Souza, Fred Barnes, Jonah Goldberg, Frank Luntz, and many more."[3]

Speakers at LPR's 2020 retreat included Dana Perino of Fox News, Denis Prager of Prager University, Andy McCarthy, Erick Erickson (former CEO of Redstate.com), and 2018 Bradley Prize winner Jason Riley of the Manhattan Institute and the Wall Street Journal.

2020 Retreat Recap, Leadership Program

Ties to the State Policy Network

The Leadership Program of the Rockies is an associate member of the State Policy Network, a group of right-wing think tanks and politically-active nonprofits. SPN is a web of right-wing “think tanks” and tax-exempt organizations in 50 states, Washington, D.C., Canada, and the United Kingdom. As of January 2021, SPN's membership totals 163. 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 2019 analysis of SPN's main members IRS filings by the Center for Media and Democracy shows that the combined revenue is over $120 million.[4] 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.[5]

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.'"[6]

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.[7]

Ties to the Bradley Foundation

The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation has contributed $350,000 to LPR in 2014 and from 2016-2018. 2018 Bradley Prize winner Jason Riley of the Manhattan Institute and the Wall Street Journal spoke at LPR's 2020 annual retreat.

Bradley Files

In 2017, the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD), publishers of SourceWatch, launched a series of articles on the Milwaukee-based Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, exposing the inner-workings of one of America's largest right-wing foundations. 56,000 previously undisclosed documents laid bare the Bradley Foundation's highly politicized agenda. CMD detailed Bradley's efforts to map and measure right wing infrastructure nationwide, including by dismantling and defunding unions to impact state elections; bankrolling discredited spin doctor Richard Berman and his many front groups; and more.

Find the series here at ExposedbyCMD.org.

Ties to the Koch Brothers

The Charles G. Koch Foundation has contributed $8,000 to LPR in 2012 and from 2014-2015.

Koch Wiki

Charles Koch is the right-wing billionaire owner of Koch Industries. As one of the richest people in the world, he is a key funder of the right-wing infrastructure, including the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the State Policy Network (SPN). In SourceWatch, key articles on Charles Koch and his late brother David include: Koch Brothers, Americans for Prosperity, Stand Together Chamber of Commerce, Stand Together, Koch Family Foundations, Koch Universities, and I360.

Funding

LPR is not required to disclose its funders but major foundation supporters can be found through their IRS filings. Here are some known contributors:

  • Adolph Coors Foundation: $35,000 (2014, 2016)
  • Alfred and Ursula Powell Foundation: $5,750 (2011-2012)
  • Armstrong Family Foundation: $18,000 (2016-2018)
  • Center for Excellence in Higher Education: $80,000 (2017-2018)
  • Christian Community Foundation: $22,000 (2017)
  • Community First Foundation: $15,392 (2017-2018)
  • Considine Family Foundation: $81,715 (2010, 2013-2015, 2017)
  • DonorsTrust: $130,000 (2018-2019)
  • Dwan Family Foundation: $30,000 (2013-2014)
  • EZE Foundation: $8,000 (2018)
  • Fidelity Investments Charitable Gift Fund: $16,000 (2017, 2019)
  • Harmes C Fishback Charitable Trust: $5,000 (2015)
  • Joseph and Loretta Law Foundation: $2,500 (2010)
  • Charles Koch Foundation: $8,000 (2012, 2014-2015)
  • Lee and Bev Kuntz Foundation: $2,000 (2017)
  • Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation: $350,000 (2014, 2016-2018)
  • National Christian Charitable Foundation: $10,000 (2013-2016)
  • Pikes Peak Community Foundation: $10,000 (2017)
  • Prometheus Foundation: $10,000 (2015)
  • Richard H. Lewis Family Foundation: $6,000 (2011-2015, 2018)
  • Ross R. and Candy L. Bhappu Family Foundation: $2,500 (2013)
  • Snow Valley Foundation: $23,970 (2012-2014, 2016-2017)
  • Vernon K. Krieble Foundation: $585,000 (2001-2018)
  • Woodford Foundation for Limited Government: $52,250 (2010-2018)

Core Financials

2018[8]

  • Total Revenue: $1,122,767
  • Total Expenses: $940,689
  • Net Assets: $771,974

2017[9]

  • Total Revenue: $1,156,356
  • Total Expenses: $942,061
  • Net Assets: $594,174

2016[10]

  • Total Revenue: $890,271
  • Total Expenses: $854,849
  • Net Assets: $366,456

2015[11]

  • Total Revenue: $834,177
  • Total Expenses: $1,085,380
  • Net Assets: $331,034

2014[12]

  • Total Revenue: $908,193
  • Total Expenses: $801,553
  • Net Assets: $582,237

Personnel

Staff

As of February 2021:[13]

  • Shari Williams, President
  • Bob Feese, Director of Marketing
  • Stephanie Muth, Director of Network Engagement
  • Haeley Mowery, National Expansion Coordinator, Program Coordinator
  • Mason Stefancic, Assistant Program Coordinator
  • Chloe Peterson. Staff Assistant

Board of Directors

As of February 2021:[14]

  • The Hon. Bob Schaffer, Chairman
  • Shari D. Williams, President
  • Roger Bianco
  • Cheri Carsten
  • Jay Cleary
  • Prashant Krishnan, M.D.
  • Betsy McCain
  • Alex M. Cranberg
  • Don Griffin, Ph.D.
  • John A. Harpole
  • The Hon. Mark Hillman
  • Brian Lewis
  • Danny Moore
  • The Hon. Jeannie Reeser
  • Michael Williams
  • William E. Wood

Advisory Council

As of February 2021:[15]

  • Juliet Abdel, LPR 2018
  • Kelsey Alexander, LPR 2006
  • DeAndrea Arndt, LPR 2016
  • Julie Babcock, LPR 2019
  • Kim Baer, LPR 2020
  • Hunter Barnett, LPR 2013
  • Ali Barghelame, LPR 2019
  • Ken Bauer, LPR 2012 Class Vice President
  • Brad Beck, LPR 2009
  • The Honorable Don Beezley, LPR 2009
  • Roger Bianco, LPR 2014
  • Holt Biedermann, LPR 2019
  • Crystal Bouziden, LPR 2009
  • Ed Brady, LPR 2020
  • Matthew Breman, LPR 2020
  • Mailyn Cappuccio, LPR 2016
  • Laura Carno, LPR 2011
  • Cheri Carsten, LPR 2007; Board of Directors
  • Jennifer Churchfield, LPR 2017
  • Kate Cihon, LPR 2018
  • Kristina Cook, LPR 2013
  • Dan Coombe, LPR 2013 Class Vice President
  • Evan Corazzari, LPR 2017
  • Bobbie Daniel, LPR 2017
  • Steve DiRose, LPR 2014 Class Vice President
  • Gabriel Elbert, LPR 2020 Class Vice President
  • Tamra Farah, LPR 2013
  • Rick Fernandez, LPR 2015
  • Michael Finch, LPR 2010
  • Deborah Flora, LPR 2019
  • Cash Freeman, LPR 2015
  • The Honorable Heidi Ganahl, LPR 2013
  • Kim Gilmartin, LPR 2017
  • Stephen Gilmartin, LPR 2016
  • Jimmy Golden, LPR 2017
  • Marie Grezeszak, LPR 2018
  • Brenda Harms, LPR 2017
  • Bryan Head, LPR 2017 Class President
  • Curt Henderson, LPR 2016
  • Cat Hendrix, LPR 2019
  • Karen Hoida, LPR 2015
  • Shaylee Holland, LPR 2020
  • The Honorable Brita Horn, LPR 2014 Class President
  • Steve House, LPR 2010
  • Daniel Jaramillo, LPR 2017
  • Laura Jensen, LPR 2017
  • Bill Johnson, LPR 2004
  • Kelly Johnston, LPR 2018
  • Clairissa Jolley, LPR 2018
  • Sarie Joubert, LPR 2018
  • Erin Kane, LPR 2016
  • Sue Kenfield, LPR 2016 Class President
  • Marge Klein, RLP 2000
  • Steve Klenda, LPR 2007
  • Susan Kochevar, LPR 2013
  • Jan Kulmann, LPR 2019
  • Nat Lamberton, LPR 2020
  • Dawn Lamping, LPR 2018
  • Tom LaValley, LPR 2015
  • Marcus Lee, LPR 2020
  • Darrin Levy, LPR 2006 Class President
  • Tedd Lipka, LPR 1998
  • Todd Lubas, LPR 2018 Class Vice President
  • Jenny Ly, LPR 2016 Class Vice President
  • Kelly Maher, LPR 2005 Class President
  • Christine Mastin, LPR 2008 Class Vice President
  • Betsy McCain, LPR 2012
  • Tammi McCoy, LPR 2008
  • Melissa McAuley, LPR 2018 Class President
  • Kenny Monfort, LPR 2017 Class Vice President
  • Kim Monson, LPR 2012
  • Mark Moon, LPR 2019
  • Danny Moore, LPR 2019; Board of Directors
  • Lance Moorman, LPR 2020
  • Krista Nash, LPR 2017
  • The Hon. John Newkirk, LPR 2006
  • Stu Parker, LPR 2017
  • Diana Petrak, LPR 2016
  • Jon Roberts, LPR 2014
  • Josh Reddell, LPR 2019
  • Dusti Reimer, LPR 2020
  • Kimberly Rodell, LPR 2016
  • Michelle Ruehl, LPR 2020 Class President
  • Charcie Russell, LPR 2005
  • Dave Schohl, LPR 2014
  • Derec Shuler, LPR 2013
  • The Honorable Lang Sias, LPR 2011 Class President
  • Melissa Simpson, LPR 2016
  • Lindsey Singer, LPR 2020
  • Mary Lynn Skinner, LPR 2013 Class President
  • Phil Sloan, LPR 2018
  • Austin Smith, LPR 2015
  • Ashlee Springer, LPR 2010
  • The Hon. Rich Sokol, LPR 2005 Class Vice President
  • Allen Thomas III, LPR 2018
  • Evan Todd, LPR 2019
  • Barbara Traylor-Smith, LPR 2021 Class Vice President
  • Rick Turnquist, LPR 2016
  • Ted Vail, LPR 2009 Class President
  • Dagny Van Der Jagt, LPR 2015 Class Vice President
  • Ron Weinberg, LPR 2021 Class President
  • Mitch Whitus, LPR 2013
  • Ty Winter, LPR 2020

Contact Information

Leadership Program of the Rockies
1777 South Harrison St, Ste 807
Denver, CO 80210

EIN: 84-1623324
Website: https://www.leadershipprogram.org/
Phone: (303) 488-0018

Articles and Resources

Related SourceWatch

IRS Form 990 Filings

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

References

  1. Guidestar, Leadership Program of the Rockies, organizational website, accessed February 19, 2021.
  2. Leadership Program of the Rockies, About the Program, organizational website, accessed February 19, 2021.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Leadership Program of the Rockies, Quick Facts & Talking Points, organizational website, accessed February 19, 2021.
  4. David Armiak, Revenue for State Policy Network and State Affiliates Tops $120 Million, ExposedbyCMD, November 13, 2019.
  5. 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.
  6. Jane Mayer, Is IKEA the New Model for the Conservative Movement?, The New Yorker, November 15, 2013.
  7. Ed Pilkington and Suzanne Goldenberg, State conservative groups plan US-wide assault on education, health and tax, The Guardian, December 5, 2013.
  8. Leadership Program of the Rockies, 2018 IRS Form 990, organizational tax filing, May 3, 2019.
  9. Leadership Program of the Rockies, 2017 IRS Form 990, organizational tax filing, May 3, 2019.
  10. Leadership Program of the Rockies, 2016 IRS Form 990, organizational tax filing, May 8, 2017.
  11. Leadership Program of the Rockies, 2015 IRS Form 990, organizational tax filing, May 11, 2016.
  12. Leadership Program of the Rockies, 2014 IRS Form 990, organizational tax filing, December 4, 2015.
  13. Leadership Program of the Rockies, LPR Staff, organizational website, accessed February 19, 2021.
  14. Leadership Program of the Rockies, Board of Directors, organizational website, accessed February 19, 2021.
  15. Leadership Program of the Rockies, Advisory Council, organizational website, accessed February 19, 2021.