The Institute for America’s Future (IAF) was co-founded in 1996 by Robert Borosage and Roger Hickey, who also co-founded its sister organization, the Campaign for America’s Future (CAF), that same year.
IAF specializes in “nonpartisan research and education” devoted to “shaping a compelling progressive agenda and message” vis à vis such issues as “good jobs, affordable health care, accessible higher education, retirement security, improved public infrastructure, living wages, healthy workplaces, safe food, fair trade, and clean energy.” In each of these areas, IAF’s message echoes and buttresses those of CAF (see here), with which the Institute collaborates to “challenge failed conservative policies and build support for the progressive vision of a government that is on the side of working people.” IAF disseminates its information and policy prescriptions by way of backgrounders and other research documents.
The Institute also casts itself as a “convener of progressive leaders,” urging them to adopt “a common economic agenda and message.” Each year from 2003-08, IAF and CAF together hosted an annual “Take Back America” Conference in Washington, DC, which the two organizations described as “a catalyst for building the infrastructure to ensure that the voice of the progressive majority is heard.” In 2009-10, the “Take Back America” gatherings were renamed “America’s Future Now,” and since 2011 they have been called “Take Back the American Dream.” Among the noteworthy speakers who have addressed these conferences since 2003 are: Barbara Boxer, Hillary Clinton, John Conyers, Howard Dean, John Edwards, Barbara Ehrenreich, Russ Feingold, Alan Grayson, Arianna Huffington, Jesse Jackson, Benjamin Todd Jealous, Van Jones, John Kerry, Barbara Lee, Bill Moyers, Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Cecile Richards, Bernie Sanders, Jan Schakowsky, Hilda Solis, Andrew Stern, John Sweeney, Antonio Villaraigosa, Maxine Waters, Quentin Young, and Markos Moulitsas Zuniga.
IAF serves occasionally as an “incubator” for nascent national campaigns in which “progressives join together to form policies that advance economic prosperity and opportunity for lower- and middle-income Americans.” One particularly noteworthy organization on whose behalf the Institute filled this role was the Apollo Alliance, which subsequently became a project of the Tides Center.
Because IAF is technically designated as a “non-political” think tank, the financial contributions it receives are tax-deductible for its private donors. Among the entities that have supported the Institute over the years are: the Arca Foundation, the Bauman Foundation, the Beldon Fund, the Barbra Streisand Foundation, the Bullitt Foundation, the Educational Foundation of America, the Energy Foundation, the Flora Family Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the John D. & Catherine T. Macarthur Foundation, the Lear Foundation, the Nathan Cummings Foundation, the New-Land Foundation, the Open Society Institute, the Schumann Center for Media and Democracy, the Stewart R. Mott Charitable Trust, the Surdna Foundation, the Tides Foundation, the Town Creek Foundation, the Wallace Global Fund, and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. To view a list of additional IAF funders, click here.