Grassroot Institute

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Grassroot Institute
Logo Grassroot Institute.jpg
EstablishedFebruary 12, 2001[1]
FounderRichard Rowland
Legal status501(c)(3) nonprofit organization
ServicesMultifaceted efforts to shed light on government operations and spending; public education regarding the movement to create a sovereign Hawaiian nation and/or other governmental entity; research into the effect of the 1920 Jones Act on the state of Hawaii.[2]
W. Keli'i Akina[2]
Richard O. Rowland[2]
Revenue: $463,184
Expenses: $470,188
(FYE December 2015)[3]

The Grassroot Institute of Hawaii is a public policy think tank based in Honolulu, Hawaii.[4] The organization's goals includes a free market economy, limited, accountable government, and the defense of the Bill of Rights.[5] The current Chief Executive Officer is Dr. Keli'i Akina. The Institute was formed on February 12, 2001[1] by Richard Rowland, who continues to serve on its board of directors.[2] The organization is a member of the State Policy Network, a network of state-based think tanks. The Grassroot Institute's stated mission is "to promote the principles of individual liberty, free markets, and limited and accountable government throughout the state of Hawaii and the Pacific Rim."[2][6]


The Grassroot Institute conducts research and analysis of various issues from a free market perspective. Academic works are inspired by the writings of scholars such as Frederic Bastiat, Murray Rothbard, Milton Friedman, F.A. Hayek, and Adam Smith. Generally, the institute opposes tax increases, such as Hawaii's General Excise Tax.[7]

Jones Act[edit]

The Grassroot Institute of Hawaii supports reform of the Jones Act that would address the disproportionate effect of the shipbuilding and cargo shipping restrictions on Hawaii from the Jones Act.[8]

Hawaiian sovereignty[edit]

The Grassroot Institute joined with other groups to file suite against the State of Hawaii's efforts to form and gain federal recognition of a race-based, sovereign nation. The lawsuit, filed in 2015, seeks to block race-based elections in Hawaii.[9][10]


The Grassroot Institute supports school choice. The Institute has pointed out that despite the state Department of Education's expanding budget of $2.4 billion per year (an increase from $972 million eight years previously), public school students continue to perform at the bottom of the nation on NAEP assessments and enrollment in the system has decreased.[11]


  1. ^ a b The Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, Inc." Hawaii Department of Commerce & Consumer Affairs. State of Hawaii. Accessed December 8, 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Form 990: Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax". Grassroot Institute of Hawaii. Guidestar. December 31, 2014. Accessed December 1, 2016.
  3. ^ "Grassroot Institute of Hawai Inc" (PDF). Foundation Center. 10 November 2016. Retrieved 16 February 2017.
  4. ^ "Supreme Court justice blocks Native Hawaiian vote count". Chicago Tribune. Associated Press. November 27, 2015. Retrieved 21 December 2015.
  5. ^ Blair, Chad (June 19, 2013). "Making Waves: Kelii Akina and The Grassroot Institute of Hawaii". Honolulu Civil Beat. Retrieved 10 March 2015.
  6. ^ "About Us". Grassroot Institute of Hawaii. Retrieved 10 March 2015.
  7. ^ Sterling Burnett, H. (July 31, 2015). "Study Suggest 'Regressive' Gas Tax Hike for Hawaiians". Heartland Institute. Retrieved 21 December 2015.
  8. ^ "Jones Act". Grassroot Institute of Hawaii. Retrieved 21 December 2015.
  9. ^ Blair, Chad (August 13, 2015). "Lawsuit Says Hawaiians-Only Election Is 'Racially Exclusive'". Honolulu Civil Beat. Retrieved 21 December 2015.
  10. ^ Essoyan, Susan (August 13, 2015). "Federal lawsuit filed to block Native Hawaiian election". Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Retrieved 21 December 2015.
  11. ^ "Getting Less for More?". Grassroot Institute of Hawaii. November 26, 2008. Retrieved 21 December 2015.

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