Local Politics

John W. Pope Civitas Institute

Posted February 25, 2013
Updated January 12, 2015

As they describe themselves: The mission of the Civitas Institute is to facilitate the implementation of conservative policy solutions to improve the lives of all North Carolinians. A tagline on the group's logo describes it as "North Carolina's conservative voice." More here.

On the web: www.nccivitas.org

Affiliates and brands: Staff researchers publish reports and updates mainly under the Civitas brand. The group also holds periodic conferences and lunches to distribute information. Civitas also conducts a regular poll, information from which is sometimes cited in other media sources.  

Civitas itself is a 501(c)3 group, a charitable nonprofit prohibited from engaging in political activity. But like many policy nonprofits, the institute has a sister 501(c)4 organization called Civitas Action. The two groups share a common mailing address, their web pages link to one another and share a common president, Francis DeLuca. The institute also reported that it collected contributions and reimbursed shared employees on behalf of its political arm. 

Civitas Action provides legislative scorecards and is engaged in promoting and opposing candidates. 

Network*: Pope.

Funding: Civitas' charitable arm reported raising $1.4 million on its 2011 IRS form 990. During that time period, the John William Pope Foundation reported giving the group $1.2 million.

IRS 990: John William Pope Civitas Institute 2012 IRS 990

State Information:

Lobbyist: During the 2011 legislative session, the Institute registered five members of its staff as lobbyists. JWP Civitas Institute has not registered any members of its staff as a lobbyist for the 2013 legislative session. 

Media Profile: The Civitas Institute is known for providing polling, policy reports and other information relevant to topics before the General Assembly. It regularly highlights a "bad bill of the week," and publishes reports by its staff members. Its staffers are sometimes cited in traditional media like newspaper and television, often when the group issues a report critical of a state agency. The activity of its 501(c)4 arm in elections also raises the group's profile.

Media sources regularly cite the organization as "conservative," a moniker it embraces. 

* Many of the public policy think tanks and advocacy groups active in North Carolina fall into one of two camps: A liberal circuit with ties to the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation and a conservative circuit with ties to the John William Pope Foundation. For more, click here.


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