Institute for Humane Studies

Institute for Humane Studies at George Mason University


The Institute for Humane Studies (IHS) at George Mason University is a non-profit organization hosted by George Mason University. [1]

The IHS was founded by Dr. F. A. ‘Baldy’ Harper, a former economics professor at Cornell University. According to the institute’s website, Harper is described as setting up an institution “devoted to research and education with the conviction that a greater understanding of human affairs and freedom would foster peace, prosperity, and social harmony.” [2

The Institute For Humane Studies at George Mason University seeks to “inspire students and professors to engage with the ideas of freedom” and “connect them to a community of individuals committed to the power of freedom and of ideas.” [2]

The Institute for Humane Studies has been referred to as “a haven for climate change deniers that receives funding from the Koch family foundations.” [3]

Charles Koch is the Chairman of the Institute for Humane Studies’ board of directors, and according to a Greenpeace analysis, the Institute for Humane Studies has received at least $30,033,549  from Koch foundation grants from 1997-2015. [4][5]

The Institute for Humane Studies formerly offered undergraduate students, graduate students, law students, and recent graduates “The Charles G. Koch Summer Fellow Program,” which was founded in 1992 by the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation and was run by IHS “with the generous support of the foundation and CEO of Koch Industries, Inc.“ [4] 

According to the IHS‘ archived “FAQ” page, “ideal candidates” of The Charles G. Koch Summer Fellow Program “will have a demonstrated interest in public policy issues and in learning how a market-based approach might help solve social and economic problems.” [4]

Stance on Climate Change

A search query for the terms “global warming” and “climate change” on the Institute for Humane Studies’ website yields no results. However, Greenpeace reported that “several prominent climate change deniers have prominent positions at IHS,” including S. Fred Singer and Robert Bradley[5]


The following data has been compiled from records at the Conservative Transparency project plus additional information from publicy-avaialble 990 tax forms. See the attached spreadsheet for details on the Institute for Humane Studies’s funding by year (.xlsx). [9]

IHS as Recipient

Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation$35,029,842
Searle Freedom Trust$4,397,532
The Marcus Foundation$3,875,000
Donors Capital Fund$3,709,636
David H. Koch Charitable Foundation$3,450,000
John Templeton Foundation$2,966,410
Dunn’s Foundation for the Advancement of Right Thinking$2,718,700
Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation$2,340,074
John William Pope Foundation$1,670,000
Earhart Foundation$1,664,144
E L Craig Foundation$1,575,500
Sarah Scaife Foundation$1,550,000
Ed Uihlein Family Foundation$1,385,000
John M. Olin Foundation$1,198,000
Michael and Andrea Leven Family Foundation$830,000
Walton Family Foundation$720,000
Dorothy D. and Joseph A. Moller Foundation$661,725
Richard Seth Staley Educational Foundation$629,169
The TWS Foundation$550,000
Pierre F. and Enid Goodrich Foundation$505,000
The Carthage Foundation$480,000
The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation$455,000
Jaquelin Hume Foundation$435,000
Charlotte and Walter Kohler Charitable Trust$375,000
The Rodney Fund$346,800
Lowndes Foundation$321,577
F.M. Kirby Foundation$280,000
Charles Koch Institute$275,800
Philanthropy Roundtable$250,000
Chase Foundation of Virginia$210,760
Claws Foundation$210,000
JM Foundation$205,000
The Roe Foundation$189,500
Thomas W Smith Foundation$175,000
Schwab Charitable Fund$142,918
Philip M. McKenna Foundation$142,000
The Randolph Foundation$135,000
Lovett and Ruth Peters Foundation$130,000
Armstrong Foundation$121,000
George Mason University Foundation$110,878
National Christian Charitable Foundation$70,500
Diana Davis Spencer Foundation$60,000
Charles and Ann Johnson Foundation$44,000
Barbara and Barre Seid Foundation$40,000
Robert and Marie Hansen Foundation$37,500
Central Children’s Charities$35,000
The Challenge Foundation$35,000
Foundation for Economic Education$32,838
Aequus Institute$25,000
Chiavacci Family Foundation$14,500
Jewish Community Fund$10,100
Atlas Economic Research Foundation$10,000
Center for Independent Thought$6,000
The Howell Foundation$5,425
Albert and Ethel Herzstein Charitable Foundation$5,000
Tepper Family Foundation$4,000
Eric Javits Family Foundation$2,750
Cato Institute$2,000
Hickory Foundation$1,500
John P and Kathryn G Evans Foundation$1,160
Gilder Foundation$750
Grand Total$79,855,238

IHS as Donor

State Policy Network$94,751
University of New Orleans Foundation$55,900
The Ohio State University Foundation$54,000
Northwood University$47,021
Students for Liberty$46,770
George Mason University Foundation$38,500
Christopher Newport University Educational Foundation$25,900
UNC Chapel Hill Arts and Sciences Foundation$24,140
Center for Ethics & Entrepreneurship Rockford University$24,000
Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan$23,295
Ramapo College Foundation$23,000
Young Americans for Liberty Foundation$21,500
University of Arizona Foundation$19,996
West Virginia University Foundation$19,380
Florida State University Foundation$17,500
Texas Tech Foundation$16,690
The University of West Florida Foundation$14,000
George Mason University$13,000
Murray State University$13,000
Evangel University$12,845
University of Minnesota$12,650
Florida Southern College$12,000
Arizona State University Foundation$12,000
Rose State College$11,250
University Foundation at Sacramento state$10,600
Long Island University$9,250
Boise State University Foundation$9,200
Lock Haven University Foundation$7,500
Boundary Stone$7,500
Troy University$7,300
Michigan State University$7,000
University of Colorado$6,500
Agora Institute$6,500
Duke University$6,500
Stillman College$6,500
Institute for Religion Politics & Culture$6,400
The Parr Center for Ethics UNC Chapel Hill$6,000
Aquinas College$6,000
St Cloud University$6,000
University of Vermont$6,000
Georgia State University Research Foundation$6,000
Hampden-Sydney College$6,000
Department of Philosophy UNC Chapel Hill$6,000
George Mason University Department of Economics$6,000
Clemson University$5,500
Houston Baptist University$5,500
Campbell University$5,245
West Liberty University Research Corp$5,000
St John’s University$5,000
Rhodes College$5,000
CNU Education$5,000
Donors Trust$2,500
Grand Total$830,583

Koch Funding

According to data collected by Greenpeace USA, the Institute for Humane Studies (IHS) has received $34,242,531 in combined donations from Koch-related foundations between 1986 and 2015. Note that original tax forms are only available for data from 1997 onwards. Verifiable Koch funding from 1997 to 2015 totals $30,033,549: [11]

YearCharles G. Koch Charitable FoundationDavid H. Koch Charitable FoundationClaude R. Lambe Charitable FoundationCharles Koch InstituteGrand Total
1986* $200,000$45,000 $245,000
1987*$8,308$250,000$150,000 $408,308
1988* $250,000$150,000 $400,000
1989*$115,000$250,000  $365,000
1990*  $253,000 $253,000
1991*  $353,000 $353,000
1992*$50,000 $443,074 $493,074
1993*$45,600 $536,000 $581,600
1995* $350,000  $350,000
1996* $350,000$410,000 $760,000
1997 $350,000  $350,000
1999$200,000$250,000  $450,000
2000 $200,000  $200,000
2001 $600,000  $600,000
2002$334,000   $334,000
2003$22,457   $22,457
2006$1,082,000   $1,082,000
2007$885,000   $885,000
2008$1,169,000   $1,169,000
2009$2,461,091   $2,461,091
2010$2,159,500   $2,159,500
2011$3,671,500   $3,671,500
2012$2,978,770   $2,978,770
2013$4,050,000   $4,050,000
2014$4,930,169  $42,680$4,972,849
2015$4,572,182  $75,200$4,647,382
2016$5,836,462  $84,720$5,921,182
2017$458,803$400,000 $73,200$932,003
Grand Total$35,029,842$3,450,000$2,340,074$275,800$41,095,716

*Original tax forms for data prior to 1997 are not available for verification.

990 Forms

Key People


  • Marty Zupan — President & CEO
  • Chad Thevenot — Executive Director
  • Laura Bernett Cheplak — Senior Director of Operations
  • Jennifer Thompson — Senior Director of Programs
  • Daniel Butler — Director of Development
  • Gary Leff — Chief Financial Officer
  • Todd Noebel — Senior Director of Hiring and Professional Development
  • Todd Hathaway — Senior Director of Information Technology

Source: [2]

​Board of Directors

As of June 2014: [1],[6]

  • Charles G. Koch (Chair), Koch Industries, Wichita, KS
  • Donald Boudreax, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA
  • John Blundell, Institute of Economic Affairs, London, UK
  • Timothy Browne, Autana Vineyards, Healdsburg, CA
  • Tyler Cowen, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA
  • Richard Fink, Koch Industries, Washington, DC
  • Jerry Fullinwider, Hillwood International Energy, Dallas, TX
  • David Humphreys, Tamko Asphalt Products, Joplin, MO
  • Eric O’Keefe, OKE Associates, Spring Green, WI
  • James Pope, Variety Wholesalers, Raleigh, NC
  • William Sumner, Scottsdale, AZ



The Institute for Humane Studies was involved in creating material for the 2009 edition of ABC News’ Stossel in the Classroom, which is owned and operated by The Center for Independent Thought. A segment of Stossel in the Classroom explicitly told students that there is still a debate “about whether or not human activity is the cause” of climate change. The program featured several speakers with known ties to front groups and fossil fuel companies, including: Alex Epstein, Roy Spencer, Tim Ball, and John Christy. [7]


The Institute for Humane Studies launched the “Charles G. Koch Summer Fellow Program,” funded by Charles Koch himself, “which mentors young, self-described libertarians.” [8]

Institute for Humane Studies Contact & Location

As of June 2016, the Institute for Humane Studies (IHS) listed the following contact information on its website: [10]

Institute for Humane Studies
at George Mason University
3434 Washington Blvd.,
MS 1C5
Arlington, VA 22201

Phone: 703.993.4880
Toll Free: 800.697.8799
Fax: 703.993.4890

Source: [1]

Social Media


  1. Institute for Humane Studies,” Sourcewatch. Archived September 16, 2015. 
  2. Who We Are,” Institute For Humane Studies at George Mason University. Archived September 9, 2015. WebCite URL
  3. Climate Change Deniers Without Borders,” Mother Jones, December 22, 2009. Archived September 16, 2015. WebCite URL
  4. FAQ,” Institute For Humane Studies at George Mason University. Archived June 13, 2010. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmogBlog.
  5. Institute for Humane Studies (IHS),” Greenpeace. Archived September 16, 2015. WebCite URL
  6. Institute for Humane Studies,” GuideStar.
  7. Center for Independent Thought: Stossel in the Classroom,” Greenpeace. Archived September 16, 2015. WebCite URL
  8. Political Activities of the Koch Brothers,” Wikipedia. Archived September 16, 2015.
  9. Institute for Humane Studies,” Conservative Transparency. Data retrieved April 27, 2018.
  10. “Contact Us,” Institute for Humane Studies. Archived June 12, 2016. WebCite URL:
  11. Institute for Humane Studies (IHS): Koch Industries Climate Denial Front Group,” GreenPeace USA. Accessed March 13, 2017.  Archived data on file at DeSmog. URL:

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