Atlas Network

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Atlas Network
Atlas Network logo.png
Founder(s)Antony Fisher
Established1981; 40 years ago (1981)
ChairmanLinda Whetstone[1]
Chief Executive OfficerBrad Lips
BudgetRevenue: $10,815,000
Expenses: $12,585,000
(FYE December 2017)[2]
Formerly calledAtlas Economic Research Foundation

Atlas Network, formerly known as the Atlas Economic Research Foundation, is a nonprofit organization based in the United States which acts as an umbrella for libertarian and free-market groups. It was founded as a group to assist with the creation of organizations for market economy in developing countries.[4]


Atlas was founded in 1981 by Sir Antony Fisher, a British entrepreneur. After founding the Institute of Economic Affairs in London in 1955, Fisher had helped to establish the Fraser Institute, the Manhattan Institute and the Pacific Research Institute in the 1970s.

Fisher conceived of Atlas as a means to connect various think tanks via a global network through which the organizations could learn best practices from one another and "pass the best research and policy ideas from one to the other, and so avoid the need to reinvent the wheel."[5] Atlas would receive funding from American and European businesses and think tanks to coordinate and organize neoliberal organizations in the developing world.[4] Atlas has been described as "self replicating, a think tank that creates think tanks."[6] Atlas Network is not named after Ayn Rand's novel Atlas Shrugged.[7]

According to the 2019 Global Go To Think Tank Index Report, Atlas is ranked number 54 (of 109) in the "Top Think Tanks in the United States".[8]

The chief executive officer of Atlas Network is Brad Lips.[9] Lips joined Atlas Network, then known as Atlas Economic Research Foundation, in 1999 and became CEO in 2009. Matt Warner is President.[10]


As of 2005, Atlas had received $440,000 from ExxonMobil,[11] and has received at least $825,000 USD from the tobacco company Philip Morris.[12] Of Atlas Network partners, 57% in the United States had received funding from the tobacco industry.[12] Atlas has received funding from Koch family foundations.[13]

As of 2017, the Atlas Network had assets of $7,483,000.[2]


Training and networking[edit]

Atlas Network holds four regional Liberty Forums (in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and Europe) and an international conference in the United States.[10]

Atlas has partnered with the F.A. Hayek Foundation in Slovakia, the Association for Liberal Thinking in Turkey, the Lithuanian Free Market Institute, and Libertad y Desarrollo in Chile to establish Free Enterprise Training Centers.[10]


Atlas provides limited amounts of financial support to new think tanks on a case-by-case basis. Grants are usually given for specific projects and range between $2,000 and $5,000.[14] In 2014 Atlas Network provided funding in the form of grants at USD 4,340,000 to 177 partners in 68 different countries.[12]

Templeton Freedom Awards[edit]

Awarded since 2004, the Templeton Freedom Award is named for the late investor and philanthropist Sir John Templeton.[15] The award is supported by Templeton Religion Trust and is presented during Atlas Network's Liberty Forum & Freedom Dinner closing ceremony in New York City. The winning organization receives a $100,000 prize and the five runners-up receive $20,000.

Sir Antony Fisher Achievement Awards[edit]

This award is given in honor of Sir Antony Fisher, the late founder of Atlas Network, to an individual for his or her work to advance a free, prosperous, and peaceful world where the principles of individual liberty, property rights, limited government, and free markets are secured by the rule of law. In 2019 the first recipient of the award was Lawrence J. Mone, former president of Manhattan Institute. The 2020 recipient is Ronald Manners, Officer of the Order of Australia and founder of Mannkal Economic Education Foundation.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "Board of Directors". Atlas Network. Retrieved 17 May 2020.
  2. ^ a b c "Annual Report 2017" (PDF). Atlas Network. Retrieved 15 June 2018.
  3. ^ "Global Directory". Atlas Network. Retrieved 17 May 2020.
  4. ^ a b Mitchell, Timothy (2005). "The work of economics: how a discipline makes its world". European Journal of Sociology. 46 (2): 299–310.
  5. ^ Steinmo, Sven (2007). Growing Apart?: America and Europe in the 21st Century. Cambridge University Press. pp. 145–149. ISBN 978-1139468619.
  6. ^ Meagher, Richard (2008). Right Ideas: Discourse, Framing, and the Conservative Coalition. City University of New York. p. 94. ISBN 978-0549807100.
  7. ^ FAQS (2014-08-14). "Was Atlas Network named after the book Atlas Shrugged?". Atlas Network. Retrieved 2018-04-20.
  8. ^ James G. McGann (Director) (January 27, 2020). "2019 Global Go To Think Tank Index Report". Retrieved May 16, 2020. Other "Top Think Tank" rankings include #37 (of 131) in International Development, #13 (of 75) for Best Institutional Collaboration Involving Two or More Think Tanks, #39 (of 74) for Best Managed Think Tanks, #29 (of 65) for Best Think Tank Conference, #9 (of 86) for Best Think Tank Network, #23 (of 87) for Best Use of Social Networks, #32 (of 77) of Think Tanks with the Best External Relations/Public Engagement Program, and #16 (of 65) for Best Use of the Internet.
  9. ^ "People". Atlas Network. Retrieved May 16, 2020.
  10. ^ a b c Ball, Stephen (2012). Global Education Inc: New Policy Networks and the Neo-liberal Imaginary. Routledge. pp. 19–40. ISBN 978-0415684095.
  11. ^ "Put a Tiger In Your Think Tank". Mother Jones. Retrieved 2017-09-22.
  12. ^ a b c Smith, Julia; Thompson, Sheryl; Lee, Kelley (2016-01-01). "The atlas network: a "strategic ally" of the tobacco industry". The International Journal of Health Planning and Management. 32 (4): 433–448. doi:10.1002/hpm.2351. ISSN 1099-1751. PMC 5716244. PMID 27125556.
  13. ^ Fang, Lee (August 9, 2017). "Sphere of Influence: How American Libertarians Are Remaking Latin American Politics". The Intercept. Retrieved 27 December 2017.
  14. ^ Wyszomierski, Sara (2010). Guide to Funding for International & Foreign Programs. University of Michigan. p. 409.
  15. ^ "The Templeton Freedom Award | Research Funding". Retrieved 2020-01-28.

Further reading[edit]

  • Marie Laure Djelic: Building an architecture for political influence: Atlas and the transnational institutionalization of the neoliberal think tank. In: Christina Garsten, Adrienne Sörbom (eds.), Power, Policy and Profit. Corporate Engagement in Politics and Governance. Elgar, Cheltenham 2017, ISBN 978 1 78471 120 7

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 38°54′14″N 77°01′43″W / 38.9038°N 77.0285°W / 38.9038; -77.0285