Public Policy

Under the rule of law, a free-market economy is the best conduit to bring the greatest prosperity to the most significant number of people. A free and prosperous nation cannot function without individual responsibility and initiative.

“You’ve heard the old proverb that if you give a man a fish, you’ll feed him for a day, and if you teach him how to fish, you’ll feed him for a lifetime,” said Art Pope in a 2009 interview with writer John J. Miller. “A lot of philanthropy is about giving fish, which is very important. But these are short-term, direct measures that treat symptoms. You have to take it one step further,” said Pope.

“Teaching a man to fish presupposes that you have a right to fish and a right to keep the fish you catch. It assumes that you can take your fish to market and sell it and use the proceeds to buy clothes for your kids. Too many philanthropists don’t even consider that in a just and functioning society, you must have individual liberty with property rights, the rule of law, and limited constitutional government.”

To meet those ends, The John William Pope Foundation supports public policy research that defends the American tradition of a free-market economy under the rule of law. The Foundation prioritizes organizations that advance free-market principles and do work that impacts North Carolina public policy. There are no geographic limitations.


The Foundation invests in over 25 state and national public policy organizations that defend free-market values. Gifts to public policy causes have totaled over $60 million during the last 25 years. Examples of the organizations that we support include:


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