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Public Policy / Think Tanks

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Think tanks (i.e. research centers, policy institutes) are organizations that conduct research to support the creation and evolution of public policy. Think tanks may focus on one particular issue or a combination of them. Areas of research include social policy, political strategy, economics, and/or industrial/business policy. Financial support for these organizations comes from several sources; including the government, advocacy organizations, and private businesses.

Things to Consider

Students interested in policy research should consider issues of interest, level of direct activism by the think tank, the organization's relationship with the government, and the student’s role within the great organization. An entry-level professional in this field will most likely conduct supportive qualitative or quantitative research for a larger group initiative within the think tank. Research experience at Yale, particularly independent research projects, and an extensive knowledge base regarding specific public issues can make an applicant more marketable for research positions.

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GuideStar non-profit directory provides information on the mission, programs, leaders and financials of over 1.8 million non-profit organizations.
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American Enterprise Institute (AEI)

The American Enterprise Institute is a public policy think tank dedicated to defending human dignity, expanding human potential, and building a freer and safer world. The work of our scholars and staff advances ideas rooted in our belief in democracy, free enterprise, American strength and global leadership, solidarity with those at the periphery of our society, and a pluralistic, entrepreneurial culture.
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American Foreign Policy Council (AFPC)

For over three decades, the American Foreign Policy Council (AFPC) has played an essential role in the U.S. foreign policy debate. Founded in 1982, AFPC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to bringing information to those who make or influence the foreign policy of the United States and to assisting world leaders with building democracies and market economies.
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American Institute for Contemporary German Studies (AICGS)

For the past 35 years, the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies (AICGS) has focused exclusively on the most pressing issues at stake for Germany and the United States. An independent, nonpartisan think tank with in-depth policy expertise and understanding of both countries, AICGS collaborates with public sector leaders, policymakers, corporate leaders, and other research centers to deliver in-depth analysis and actionable intelligence on both sides of the Atlantic.
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Aspen Institute

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues.
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Atlantic Council of the United States (ACUS)

The Atlantic Council promotes constructive leadership and engagement in international affairs based on the Atlantic Community's central role in meeting global challenges. The Council provides an essential forum for navigating the dramatic economic and political changes defining the twenty-first century by informing and galvanizing its uniquely influential network of global leaders. Through the papers we write, the ideas we generate, and the communities we build, the Council shapes policy choices and strategies to create a more secure and prosperous world.
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Brennan Center for Justice

The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law is a nonpartisan law and policy institute that works to reform, revitalize – and when necessary, defend – our country's systems of democracy and justice.
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Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace is a unique global network of policy research centers in Russia, China, Europe, the Middle East, India, and the United States. Our mission, dating back more than a century, is to advance peace through analysis and development of fresh policy ideas and direct engagement and collaboration with decisionmakers in government, business, and civil society. Working together, our centers bring the inestimable benefit of multiple national viewpoints to bilateral, regional, and global issues.
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Cato Institute

The Cato Institute is a public policy research organization - a think tank - dedicated to the principles of individual liberty, limited government, free markets, and peace. Its scholars and analysts conduct independent, nonpartisan research on a wide range of policy issues.
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Center for Economics and Policy Research (CEPR)

The Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) promotes democratic debate on the most important economic and social issues that affect people's lives.
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Center for Global Development

The Center for Global Development works to reduce global poverty and improve lives through innovative economic research that drives better policy and practice by the world's top decision makers.
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Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE)

Since 1983 CIPE has been working from the ground up with partners to find locally driven solutions to problems that affect the lives of millions of people. We at CIPE believe that democracy is at its strongest when the private sector is flourishing. Working with our local partners that include business associations, chambers of commerce, think tanks, universities and advocacy organizations, CIPE is helping create the enabling environment for business to thrive. This can only happen when the core institutions of democracy are strong and transparent. We are there to help build those institutions. That is our mission. That is our strength.
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Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)

Established in Washington, D.C., over 50 years ago, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) is a bipartisan, nonprofit policy research organization dedicated to providing strategic insights and policy solutions to help decisionmakers chart a course toward a better world.
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Center for the National Interest

The Center seeks to stimulate debate, promote public understanding of U.S. foreign policy and international affairs, and define principled yet pragmatic policies to advance America’s national interest in the complex world of the twenty-first century.
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Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress

CSPC's mission is to apply the lessons of history to address today’s political challenges; develop real-world strategic policy solutions by convening representatives from government, academia, and the private sector; and educate the next generation of leaders.
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Center for War/Peace Studies

The Center for War/Peace Studies (CWPS) is devoted to the establishment of global cooperation for the elimination of war and needless human suffering.
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Charity Navigator

Founded in 2001, Charity Navigator has become the nation's largest and most-utilized evaluator of charities. In our quest to help donors, our team of professional analysts has examined tens of thousands of non-profit financial documents.
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Council on Foreign Relations

The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) is an independent, nonpartisan membership organization, think tank, and publisher dedicated to being a resource for its members, government officials, business executives, journalists, educators and students, civic and religious leaders, and other interested citizens in order to help them better understand the world and the foreign policy choices facing the United States and other countries.
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Economic Policy Institute (EPI)

The Economic Policy Institute’s mission is to inform and empower individuals to seek solutions that ensure broadly shared prosperity and opportunity. The Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank created in 1986 to include the needs of low- and middle-income workers in economic policy discussions.
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Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI)

The mission of the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) is to contribute to, to encourage, and to enhance the development of sound employee benefit programs and sound public policy through objective research and education.
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Ethics and Public Policy Center (EPPC)

Founded in 1976 by Dr. Ernest W. Lefever, the Ethics and Public Policy Center is Washington, D.C.’s premier institute dedicated to applying the Judeo-Christian moral tradition to critical issues of public policy. From the Cold War to the war on terrorism, from disputes over the role of religion in public life to battles over the nature of the family, EPPC and its scholars have consistently sought to defend and promote our nation’s founding principles—respect for the inherent dignity of the human person, individual freedom and responsibility, justice, the rule of law, and limited government.
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Foreign Policy Association

The mission of the Foreign Policy Association today, as it has been throughout its 99-year history, is to serve as a catalyst for developing awareness, understanding, and informed opinion on U.S. foreign policy and global issues. Through its balanced, nonpartisan programs and publications, the FPA encourages citizens to participate in the foreign policy process.
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Foreign Policy Research Institute Think Tanks

The Foreign Policy Research Institute is dedicated to bringing the insights of scholarship to bear on the foreign policy and national security challenges facing the United States. It seeks to educate the public, teach teachers, train students, and offer ideas to advance U.S. national interests based on a nonpartisan, geopolitical perspective that illuminates contemporary international affairs through the lens of history, geography, and culture.
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Harvard Kennedy School Centers & Initiatives

Harvard Kennedy School’s 15 centers and 60 programs are the main engines of research, covering international, national and local issues of public policy and management. The centers and programs fund research, produce publications, offer fellowships, organize events and support the teaching curriculum.
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Harvard Kennedy School Think Tank Directory

Think Tank Search is a custom Google search of over 670 think tank websites. For the purposes of this search, think tanks are defined as institutions affiliated with universities, governments, advocacy groups, foundations, non-governmental organizations, and businesses that generate public policy research, analysis, and activity.
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Henry L. Stimson Center

The Stimson Center is a nonpartisan policy research center working to solve the world’s greatest threats to security and prosperity. Think of a modern global challenge: refugee flows, arms trafficking, terrorism. These threats cannot be resolved by a single government, individual, or business. Stimson’s award-winning research serves as a roadmap to address borderless threats through collective action. Our formula is simple: we gather the brightest people to think beyond soundbites, create solutions, and make those solutions reality. We follow the credo of one of history’s leading statesman, Henry L. Stimson in taking, “pragmatic steps toward ideal objectives.” We are practical in our approach and independent in our analysis. Our innovative ideas change the world.
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Hudson Institute

Founded in 1961 by strategist Herman Kahn, Hudson Institute challenges conventional thinking and helps manage strategic transitions to the future through interdisciplinary studies in defense, international relations, economics, health care, technology, culture, and law. Hudson seeks to guide public policy makers and global leaders in government and business through a vigorous program of publications, conferences, policy briefings, and recommendations.
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Idealist

Idealist is one of the premier job search engines for nonprofit organizations. It also features an organization search list and helpful career articles and blogs. Use the advanced search feature to have jobs emailed to you. Idealist is all about connecting idealists - people who want to do good - with opportunities for action and collaboration.
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Institute for Policy Studies

IPS is a progressive think tank dedicated to building a more equitable, ecologically sustainable, and peaceful society. In partnership with dynamic social movements, we turn transformative policy ideas into action.
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Inter-American Dialogue (IAD)

The Inter-American Dialogue engages our network of global leaders to foster democratic governance, prosperity, and social equity in Latin America and the Caribbean. Together, we work to shape policy debate, devise solutions, and enhance cooperation within the Western Hemisphere.
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International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) provides research-based policy solutions to sustainably reduce poverty and end hunger and malnutrition in developing countries. Established in 1975, IFPRI currently has more than 600 employees working in over 50 countries. It is a research center of the CGIAR, a worldwide partnership engaged in agricultural research for development. IFPRI’s vision is a world free of hunger and malnutrition. Its mission is to provide research-based policy solutions that sustainably reduce poverty and end hunger and malnutrition.
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International Institute for Strategic Studies

The International Institute for Strategic Studies is a world-leading authority on global security, political risk and military conflict. The IISS was founded in the UK in 1958 with a focus on nuclear deterrence and arms control. Today, it is also renowned for its annual Military Balance assessment of countries' armed forces and for its high-powered security summits, including the Shangri-La Dialogue.
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Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies (JCPES)

The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies is a non-partisan, non-profit public policy organization that supports elected officials and policy experts who serve communities of color across the country.
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Migration Policy Institute

MPI provides analysis, development, and evaluation of migration and refugee policies at local, national, and international levels. It aims to meet the demand for pragmatic and thoughtful responses to the challenges and opportunities that large-scale migration, whether voluntary or forced, presents to communities and institutions in an increasingly integrated world.
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National Council of Nonprofits

The National Council of Nonprofits (Council of Nonprofits) is a trusted resource and advocate for America’s charitable nonprofits. Through our powerful network of State Associations and 25,000-plus members – the nation’s largest network of nonprofits – we serve as a central coordinator and mobilizer to help nonprofits achieve greater collective impact in local communities across the country. We identify emerging trends, share proven practices, and promote solutions that benefit charitable nonprofits and the communities they serve. - See more at: https://www.councilofnonprofits.org/about-us#sthash.CXn1gdRd.dpuf
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National Democratic Institute

The National Democratic Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization working to support and strengthen democratic institutions worldwide through citizen participation, openness and accountability in government.
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National Health Policy Forum (NHPF)

The National Health Policy Forum sought to contribute to a better-informed policymaking process by providing information and opportunities for dialogue for federal health policy staff in pursuit of a high-quality health care system that improves health and is affordable, equitable, efficient, and sustainable.
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National Philanthropic Trust

National Philanthropic Trust (NPT) is a public charity dedicated to providing philanthropic expertise to donors, foundations and financial institutions, enabling them to realize their philanthropic aspirations.
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New America Foundation

New America is a think tank and civic enterprise committed to renewing American politics, prosperity, and purpose in the Digital Age. We generate big ideas, bridge the gap between technology and policy, and curate broad public conversation. Structurally, we combine the best of a policy research institute, technology laboratory, public forum, media platform, and a venture capital fund for ideas. We are a distinctive community of thinkers, writers, researchers, technologists, and community activists who believe deeply in the possibility of American renewal.
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Nonprofit Career Match

Connects people who want to make a difference to the jobs that do. It is the NonProfit Times Job Search listing and also includes assistance with the Resources Section (interview and resume assistance, online videos, career coaches and more).
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NonProfit Jobs

Welcome to NonProfitJobs, an on-line gathering place where not-for-profit employers and management personnel can meet one another. This site includes a searchable nonprofit job board.
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NonprofitJobSource

NonprofitJobSource.com is the cost-effective mission-focused nonprofit career site and comprehensive source for posting and finding nonprofit jobs. Simply search nonprofit jobs, or when you create a free profile you have access to even more benefits. Post your confidential resume, store jobs of interest, and manage your career search.
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Northeast-Midwest Institute

The Northeast-Midwest Institute is a Washington-based nonprofit and nonpartisan research, education, and policy organization dedicated to economic vitality, environmental quality, and regional equity for Northeast and Midwest states. As a policy-focused institute with a 35-year track record of producing first-rate research, developing policy options, and building and informing regional coalitions, the Institute has unique standing in that it was founded in response to calls by the Congressional Northeast-Midwest Coalition for a stable and trusted source of regional data and research as well as policy options and analysis.
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Opportunities in Public Affairs

Opportunities in Public Affairs is the #1 source of Capitol Hill Jobs, Legislative jobs, and Public Affairs and PR jobs in the Washington, DC area and nationwide.
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Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE)

The Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE) is a private, nonpartisan nonprofit institution for rigorous, intellectually open, and indepth study and discussion of international economic policy. Its purpose is to identify and analyze important issues to make globalization beneficial and sustainable for the people of the United States and the world and then develop and communicate practical new approaches for dealing with those issues. The Institute attempts to anticipate emerging issues and to be ready with practical ideas, presented in useful, accessible formats, to inform and shape public debate. Its audience includes government officials and legislators, business and labor leaders, management and staff at international organizations, university-based scholars and their students, experts at other research institutions and nongovernmental organizations, the media, and the public at large.
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Phoenix Center for Advanced Legal & Economic Public Policy Studies

The Phoenix Center was established in 1998 with a mission to provide independent assessments of the economic and material implications of regulatory and economic policy in the U.S. and abroad. To achieve this goal, the Center supports objective, solutions-based academic research unencumbered by political hyperbole, partisanship and ideological agendas. Its work is grounded in fact, law and economic theory. What makes the Phoenix Center particularly unique among Washington, D.C. think-tanks is that many of the Phoenix Center’s members have acted (and continue to act) as senior career staffers in government, rather than as political appointees. In so doing, the Phoenix Center’s atypical public/private collegial environment provides fertile ground for scholars and government alike to work towards developing real solutions for the complex problems facing the United States and the world.
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Policy Experts

The Insider Guide to Public Policy Experts and Organizations
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Prevention Web

PreventionWeb.net is a participatory web platform for the disaster risk reduction community. Our primary purpose is to facilitate an understanding of the subject of disaster risk reduction (DRR) and the work of professionals in this area by providing current news and views on the topic, and tools for exchange and collaboration. There is also a jobs page under professional resources.
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Project on Government Oversight (POGO)

Founded in 1981, the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) is a nonpartisan independent watchdog that champions good government reforms. POGO’s investigations into corruption, misconduct, and conflicts of interest achieve a more effective, accountable, open, and ethical federal government.
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Public Policy and International Affairs (PPIA)

For nearly 35 years PPIA has been supporting students in their pursuit of graduate degrees in public policy and international affairs. The PPIA Fellowship begins with the completion of a Junior Summer Institutes (JSI). JSI is an intensive seven-week summer program that focuses on preparing students for graduate programs in public and international affairs and careers as policy professionals, public administrators and other leadership roles in public service.
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Public Policy and International Affairs: Junior Summer Institute

The goal of the PPIA Junior Summer Institute Program is to help students achieve a Master’s or joint degree, typically in public policy, public administration, international affairs, or a related field. The organization does this through the intensive study provided by participation in a Junior Summer Institute (JSI), through partnerships with universities across the country, and through an alumni network that provides opportunities to connect with nearly 4,000 individuals who share the same interest in public service.
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Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC)

The Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank. We are dedicated to informing and improving public policy in California through independent, objective, nonpartisan research. We are guided by a set of core values, beliefs, and principles that inform our organization’s choices and staff actions.
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RAND Corporation

The RAND Corporation is a research organization that develops solutions to public policy challenges to help make communities throughout the world safer and more secure, healthier and more prosperous.
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Relief Web

ReliefWeb is the leading humanitarian information source on global crises and disasters. It is a specialized digital service of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). We provide reliable and timely information, enabling humanitarian workers to make informed decisions and to plan effective response. We collect and deliver key information, including the latest reports, maps and infographics and videos from trusted sources. ReliefWeb is also a valuable resource for job listings and training programs, helping humanitarians build new skills and discover exciting new career opportunities.
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Resources for the Future (RFF)

Resources for the Future (RFF) is an independent, nonpartisan organization that conducts rigorous economic research and analysis to help leaders make better decisions and craft smarter policies about natural resources and the environment. RFF was the first think tank devoted exclusively to natural resource and environmental issues and helped create the field of environmental and natural resource economics. Since 1952, it has provided decision-makers with the tools to improve the way policy choices are made, strengthening both the environment and the economy. Although RFF is located in Washington, DC, its research scope comprises programs in nations around the world.
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Roosevelt Institute

The Roosevelt Institute is the nonprofit partner to the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum in Hyde Park, NY—America’s first presidential library and the only one used by a sitting president. Inspired by the legacy of Franklin and Eleanor, the Roosevelt Institute reimagines America as it should be: a place where hard work is rewarded, everyone participates, and everyone enjoys a fair share of our collective prosperity. We believe that when the rules work against this vision, it’s our responsibility to recreate them.
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The Brookings Institute

The Brookings Institution is a nonprofit public policy organization based in Washington, DC. Our mission is to conduct in-depth research that leads to new ideas for solving problems facing society at the local, national and global level.
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The Edwin O. Reischauer Center for East Asian Studies

The Edwin O. Reischauer Center for East Asian Studies at SAIS actively supports the research and study of transpacific and intra-Asian relations.
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The Heritage Foundation

The mission of The Heritage Foundation is to formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense.
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The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF)

Founded in 2006, ITIF is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit, nonpartisan research and educational institute—a think tank—whose mission is to formulate, evaluate, and promote policy solutions that accelerate innovation and boost productivity to spur growth, opportunity, and progress. ITIF’s goal is to provide policymakers around the world with high-quality information, analysis, and recommendations they can trust. To that end, ITIF adheres to a high standard of research integrity with an internal code of ethics grounded in the core values of analytical rigor, policy pragmatism, and independence from external direction or bias.
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The Maureen and Mike Mansfield Foundation (MMMF)

The Maureen and Mike Mansfield Foundation was created in 1983 to advance Maureen and Mike Mansfield’s life-long efforts to promote understanding and cooperation among nations and peoples of Asia and the United States. The Foundation sponsors exchanges, dialogues and publications that create networks among U.S. and Asian leaders, explore the underlying issues influencing public policies, and increase awareness about the nations and peoples of Asia. The Mansfield Foundation’s geographic focus is Northeast Asia and India as it relates to that region. The Foundation receives support from individuals, corporations and philanthropic organizations. It also provides support to The Maureen and Mike Mansfield Center at The University of Montana.
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The Milken Institute

The Milken Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank determined to increase global prosperity by advancing collaborative solutions that widen access to capital, create jobs and improve health. We do this through independent, data-driven research, action-oriented meetings and meaningful policy initiatives.
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The Nonprofit Times

The NonProfit Times is the Leading Business Publication For Nonprofit Management. This online resource features timely articles, blogs, webinars, job search engine, management tips and more. Free online subscriptions are available.
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The Urban Institute

Urban's mission is to open minds, shape decisions, and offer solutions through economic and social policy research. We believe in the power of evidence to improve lives and strengthen communities. Public policies work best when they are rooted in facts, and our research sparks solutions in programs and practice. Our analyses and recommendations help expand opportunities for all people, reduce hardship among the most vulnerable, and strengthen the fiscal health of governments and effectiveness of public policies.
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The Washington Institute for Near East Policy

The mission of The Washington Institute is to advance a balanced and realistic understanding of American interests in the Middle East and to promote the policies that secure them.
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Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program

The TTCBC conducts research and provides technical assistance on a wide range of environmental challenges and organizational development issues facing think tanks and policy communities around the globe. In addition, TTCBC develops and implements strategies that will increase the capacity of think tanks so they can better serve policy makers and the general public.
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Think Tanks and Research Institutions: U.S. Department of State, Foreign Policy Contributors

One key function of the Policy Planning Staff is to act as the State Department's liaison to the think tank community. Below are listed, in alphabetical order, links to a number of think tanks and research institutions whose work on all aspects of foreign policy, we at Policy Planning have found particularly useful. However, the inclusion of these links does not constitute an official endorsement or approval by the U.S. State Department of any Website, product, service, or opinion found on any of these sites.
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U.S. Department of State: Jobs in Think Tanks

The U.S. Department of State has a select listing of Think Tanks on this site.
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U.S. Department of State: Policy Planning Staff, Liaison to Think Tank Community

One key function of the Policy Planning Staff is to act as the State Department's liaison to the think tank community. Below are listed, in alphabetical order, links to a number of think tanks and research institutions whose work on all aspects of foreign policy, we at Policy Planning have found particularly useful. However, the inclusion of these links does not constitute an official endorsement or approval by the U.S. State Department of any Website, product, service, or opinion found on any of these sites.
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United States Institute of Peace (USIP)

The United States Institute of Peace is an independent national institute, founded by Congress and dedicated to the proposition that a world without violent conflict is possible, practical and essential for U.S. and global security. USIP pursues this vision directly in conflict zones, working with local partners to prevent conflicts from turning to bloodshed and to end it when they do. The Institute provides training, analyses and other resources to people, organizations and governments working to build peace.
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Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars (WWICS)

The Wilson Center, chartered by Congress as the official memorial to President Woodrow Wilson, is the nation’s key non-partisan policy forum for tackling global issues through independent research and open dialogue to inform actionable ideas for the policy community.
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World Resources Institute (WRI)

World Resources Institute (WRI) is a global research organization that spans more than 50 countries, with offices in Brazil, China, Europe, India, Indonesia, Mexico, and the United States. Our more than 450 experts and staff work closely with leaders to turn big ideas into action to sustain our natural resources—the foundation of economic opportunity and human well-being. We envision an equitable and prosperous planet driven by the wise management of natural resources. We aspire to create a world where the actions of government, business, and communities combine to eliminate poverty and sustain the natural environment for all people.
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Worldpress.org

Worldpress.org is a nonpartisan magazine whose mission is to foster the international exchange of perspectives and information. It contains articles reprinted from the press outside the United States, as well as originally written material.
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Worldwatch Institute

Founded in 1974 by Lester Brown as an independent research institute devoted to global environmental concerns, Worldwatch was quickly recognized by opinion leaders around the world for its foresight and accessible, fact-based analysis. Worldwatch develops innovative solutions to intractable problems, emphasizing a blend of government leadership, private sector enterprise, and citizen action that can make a sustainable future a reality. Through research and outreach that inspire action, the Worldwatch Institute works to accelerate the transition to a sustainable world that meets human needs. The Institute’s top mission objectives are universal access to renewable energy and nutritious food, expansion of environmentally sound jobs and development, transformation of cultures from consumerism to sustainability, and an early end to population growth through healthy and intentional childbearing.
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Yale Alumni Nonprofit Alliance (YANA)

YANA is an official Yale SIG (Shared Interest Group) and was formally recognized by the Association of Yale Alumni’s (AYA) Board of Governors in the 2012 AYA Strategic Plan. Since then, YANA has won the AYA Board of Governors excellence award for Outstanding SIG in 2013 and for Outstanding SIG for Volunteer Engagement and Leadership in 2014 and 2015. YANA now has over 5 chapters throughout the U.S.. Visit this site to learn more about their mentoring program, job postings, YANA roundtable, student consulting program and more.