Talent Market

Talent Market

Background

Talent Market is a Virginia-based non-profit recruitment agency which aims to “bring talent and liberty together to make the world a better place,” according to its website. Talent Market provides “consulting and recruiting services to think tanks, policy organizations, research centers, and capacity building institutions that primarily focus on reducing the size and scope of government and advancing the principles of economic freedom, free enterprise, free trade, property rights, rule of law, and limited regulation.” [1], [2]

Described by the New York Times previously as the “right wing’s casting agency,” the Center for Media and Democracy reports that the organization was set up in 2009 as an “owned entity” of Donors Trust, which has been called a “dark money ATM” of the US conservative movement. Talent Market is now listed as a “program service” on 990 forms of Donors Trust. [3], [4], [5], [6]

Talent Market states that it has worked with “over 200 non-profits,” placing “more than 500 individuals in key roles in the free-market nonprofit sector.” [7]

The organization was founded by the then-President and CEO of Donors Trust Whitney Ball, President of the State Policy Network (SPN) Tracie Sharp, and Talent Market Executive Director Claire Kittle Dixon, according to the Center for Media and Democracy. [4]

Claire Kittle Dixon, now Talent Market’s executive director, was previously Program Officer for Leadership and Talent Development at the Charles Koch Foundation, according to Talent Market’s website. During that time, Kittle launched and managed two talent programs, the Koch Associate Program and the Koch Internship Program. Kittle has also served as the Vice President and Director of Research of the Buckeye Institute, an Ohio-based thinktank that is part of the Koch-funded State Policy Network. The organization’s Talent Manager, Lauren Skiver, was previously Grants Coordinator at the Charles Koch Foundation and subsequently Outreach Manager at Donors Trust. [8]

Talent Market has assisted with recruitment for Utah State University’s Center for Growth and Opportunity, a thinktank created in 2017 following a $50 million joint donation from the Charles Koch Foundation and the Huntsman Foundation. A School of Business professor at the university told the Guardian that the center’s purpose was to “persuade these policy makers about public lands, anti-green energy and such” and that it was “not academically sound research.” [9], [10], [11]

Talent Market has been criticized by the advocacy group “UnKoch My Campus” for interfering in the recruitment process at different universities, citing examples at Florida State University, Auburn University, Clemson University, University of Louisville, Western Carolina University and Wake Forest University, in addition to Utah State University. [12]

Stance on Climate Change

Talent Market has not expressed a view on climate change but recruits staff for free-market organizations which have cast doubt on climate science and/or lobbied against policies to reduce emissions, such as the Heartland Institute. [13]

Funding

Talent Market is a “program service” provided by the right-wing funding network, Donors Trust, with much of its expenses covered by the Trust, according to 990 forms. [6]

The following is based on data archived at Conservative Transparency, combined with 990 tax form review by DeSmog. [14]

See the attached spreadsheet for more information on Talent Market funding by year (.xlsx).

Donor 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 Grand Total
Sarah Scaife Foundation $210,000 $210,000
The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation $30,000 $100,000 $130,000
Donors Capital Fund $100,000 $5,000 $105,000
Charles G Koch Charitable Foundation $50,000 $50,000 $100,000
The Roe Foundation $10,000 $10,000 $10,000 $10,000 $10,000 $50,000
JM Foundation $25,000 $25,000 $50,000
FM Kirby Foundation $10,000 $10,000 $10,000 $10,000 $40,000
Dodge Jones Foundation $5,000 $5,000 $10,000 $20,000
Mercatus Center $10,000 $5,000 $5,000 $20,000
American Legislative Exchange Council $12,500 $7,500 $20,000
Diana Davis Spencer Foundation $2,000 $5,000 $5,000 $12,000
Chase Foundation of Virginia $3,000 $3,000 $3,000 $3,000 $12,000
State Policy Network $5,000 $5,000 $10,000
Americans for Prosperity Foundation $10,000 $10,000
John William Pope Foundation $10,000 $10,000
Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity $6,000 $6,000
Illinois Policy Institute $5,000 $5,000
Armstrong Foundation $5,000 $5,000
The Randolph Foundation $5,000 $5,000
The Vernon K. Krieble Foundation $1,000 $1,000 $2,000
Grand Total $10,000 $133,000 $75,500 $56,500 $318,000 $179,000 $50,000 $822,000

990 Forms

Talent Market is owned by DonorsTrust. Related 990 forms below:

Key People

Staff/Leadership

Name 2015 2016 2018 2019 Description
Claire Kittle Dixon Y Y Y Y Executive Director
Katy Gambella Y Network Engagement Manager
Lauren Skiver Y Y Y Talent Manager

Advisory Council

Name 2010 2015 2019 Description
Ann C. Fitzgerald Y Y Y President, A.C. Fitzgerald & Associates
Bridgett G. Wagner Y Y Y Vice President for External Relations, The Heritage Foundation
Lawrence W. Reed Y Y Y President, Foundation for Economic Education
Marty Zupan Y Y Y President Emeritus, Institute for Humane Studies
Roger R. Ream Y Y Y President, The Fund for American Studies
Shari Williams Y Y Y Executive Director, The Vernon K. Krieble Foundation
Tracie J. Sharp Y Y Y President & CEO, State Policy Network
Whitney L. Ball Y Y President & CEO, DonorsTrust

Actions

October 30, 2018

Claire Kittle Dixon joined the board of America’s Future Foundation, a network for young conservatives and libertarians and a member of the State Policy Network of right-wing thinktanks. [15]

March 6, 2016

The New York Times reported that Talent Market had been “involved at every step” in recruiting new staff members for the Wisconsin-based Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, which has funded numerous conservative causes, including anti-union campaigns. The Foundation has close ties to Republican Governor Scott Walker and has donated to Koch-backed libertarian thinktanks, including Americans for Prosperity and the Competitive Enterprise Institute, as well as the climate science denying free-market thinktank, the Heartland Institute. [3], [16], [17]

Related Organizations

Talent Market has recruited staff members for a wide number of groups within the Koch Network. [18]

Below is a sample of clients that have been listed on the Talent Market website over several years:

Client 2015 2016 2017 2019
1889 Institute Y Y
Acton Institute Y
Adolph Coors Foundation Y Y Y
America’s Future Foundation Y Y Y
American Council of Trustees and Alumni Y Y Y
American Enterprise Institute Y Y
American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) Y Y
American Majority Y Y
American Media Institute Y
American Studies Center Y
Americans for Prosperity Y
Archbridge Institute Y Y
Ashbrook Center for Public Affairs Y Y Y
Atlas Network Y Y Y Y
Ayn Rand Institute Y
Beacon Center of Tennessee Y Y Y Y
Benjamin Rush Institute Y Y
Bill of Rights Institute Y Y Y Y
California Policy Center Y Y
Capital Research Center Y Y
Cardinal Institute for West Virginia Policy Y Y Y
Cato Institute Y Y Y
Center for Competitive Politics Y Y
Center for the Analysis of Property Rights & Innovation Y
Center of the American Experiment Y Y
Certell Y
Charles Koch Foundation Y Y Y
Charles Koch Institute Y Y Y Y
Citizens Against Government Waste Y
Citizens’ Council for Health Freedom Y Y
Civitas Institute Y Y Y
Claremont Institute Y Y Y
Commonwealth Foundation Y Y Y Y
Competitive Enterprise Institute Y Y Y Y
DonorsTrust Y Y Y
Empire Center Y Y Y Y
Employment Policies Institute Y
Empower Mississippi Foundation Y
Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) Y Y Y
Foundation for Government Accountability (FGA) Y Y
Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity Y Y Y Y
Freedom Foundation Y Y
George Mason University Antonin Scalia Law School Y
Georgia Center for Opportunity Y Y Y
Georgia Public Policy Foundation Y
Goldwater Institute Y Y Y
Government Justice Center Y Y
Illinois Policy Institute Y Y Y Y
Independence Institute Y Y Y Y
Independent Institute Y Y
Institute for Free Speech Y Y
Institute for Humane Studies at George Mason University Y Y Y
Institute for Justice Y Y Y
Intercollegiate Studies Institute Y Y
John Jay Institute Y
John Locke Foundation Y Y Y
John William Pope Foundation Y
Kansas Policy Institute Y Y
Law & Economics Center Y Y Y
Leadership Program of the Rockies Y
Leadership Project for America Foundation Y
Liberty Justice Center Y Y
Mackinac Center for Public Policy Y Y Y
Manhattan Institute Y Y
Mercatus Center at George Mason University Y Y Y Y
Mises Institute Y Y
Mississippi Center for Public Policy Y
Mississippi Justice Institute Y
Mountain States Legal Foundation Y
Moving Picture Institute Y Y Y
National Center for Policy Analysis Y
National Policy Research Institute (NPRI) Y Y Y
National Review Institute Y Y Y
National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation Y Y Y Y
Network of Enlightened Women (NeW) Y Y
Pacific Legal Foundation Y Y
Pacific Research Institute Y Y Y
Pelican Institute Y
Philanthropy Roundtable Y Y
Platte Institute for Economic Research Y Y
Property and Environment Research Center (PERC) Y Y Y Y
R Street Y
Radio America Y Y Y
Reason Foundation Y
Reclaim New York Y Y Y Y
Regulatory Studies Center Y
Rhode Island Center for Freedom & Prosperity Y Y
Sarah Scaife Foundation Y
South Carolina Policy Council (SCPC) Y Y Y
Spark Freedom Y
State Policy Network Y Y Y Y
Strata Y Y
Students for Liberty (SFL) Y
Taliesin Nexus Y Y
Tax Foundation Y Y Y
Texas Public Policy Foundation Y Y
The Academy on Capitalism and Limited Government Foundation Y Y
The American Spectator Y Y Y
The Ashbrook Center Y
The Buckeye Institute Y Y Y
The Center for College Affordability & Productivity Y
The Center for Growth and Opportunity at Utah State University Y Y
The Daily Caller News Foundation Y Y Y Y
The Fairness Center Y Y Y Y
The Foundation for Government Accountability Y Y
The Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity Y
The Fund for American Studies Y Y
The Garden State Initiative Y
The Heartland Institute Y
The James Madison Institute Y Y Y
The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation Y Y Y Y
The Snider Foundation Y Y
Think Freely Media Y Y Y
Washington Legal Foundation Y
Washington Policy Center Y Y Y
Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty Y Y Y
Wisconsin Policy Research Institute Y Y
Young America’s Foundation Y Y Y Y
Young Americans for Liberty Foundation Y
Yankee Institute for Public Policy Y Y Y
Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge Y Y

Job Postings

Below is a sample of job postings, including number of postings, by year. Note this is not a complete listing, but based on a snapshot of a single month each year of postings, via the Internet Archive.

View the attached spreadsheet for a full listing of job listings by group on the Talent Market website (xlsx).

Hiring Group 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 Total Postings (1-Month Snapshot)
Acton Institute 1 1
Adolph Coors Foundation 1 1
Alaska Policy Forum 1 1
America’s Future Foundation 1 1
American Conservative Union Foundation 1 1
American Council of Trustees and Alumni 1 1
American Council on Science and Health 1 1
American Legislative Exchange Council 1 1 2
American Majority 1 1
American Media Institute 1 1 2
American Spectator Foundation 1 1
American Studies Center/Radio America/The American Veterans Center 1 1
Americans for Prosperity Foundation 1 3 1 5
Atlas Economic Research Foundation 1 2 3
Ayn Rand Institute 1 1 2
Bill of Rights Institute 1 2 3
Caesar Rodney Institute 1 1
Cato Institute 1 1 1 3
Center for College Affordability and Productivity 1 1
Center for Competitive Politics 1 1
Center for Growth & Opportunity 1 1
Charles Koch Foundation 1 2 1 4
Charles Koch Institute 1 1
Citizens Against Government Waste 1 1
Civitas Institute 1 1
Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute 1 1
Claremont Institute 1 1
Commonwealth Foundation 1 1 2 4
Competitive Enterprise Institute 1 1 1 1 4
Confidential Nonprofit 1 1
DonorsTrust 1 1 1 1 4
Empire Center 1 1 2
Families Against Mandatory Minimums 1 1
Federalist Society 1 1
Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) 1 1 1 3
Foundation for Government Accountability 2 2
Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity 1 1
Franklin Center 1 1 1 3
Free to Choose Network 1 1
Freedom Foundation 1 1 3 5
George Mason University Law and Economics Center 1 1
Georgia Public Policy Foundation 1 1
Goldwater Institute 1 1 1 1 2 2 8
Illinois Policy Institute 1 1 1 3
Independence Institute 2 1 3
Independent Institute 1 1 1 3
Institute for Free Speech 1 1 2
Institute for Humane Studies 2 1 1 1 5
Institute for Justice 2 1 3
Intellectual Takeout 1 1
Intercollegiate Studies Institute 1 1 2
International Center for Law and Economics 1 1
Jack Miller Center 1 1
John Locke Foundation 1 1
Kern Family Foundation 2 2
Leadership Institute 1 1
Leadership Project for America 1 1
Mackinac Center for Public Policy 1 1
Maine Heritage Policy Center 1 1
Manhattan Institute 2 1 1 1 1 6
Mercatus and IHS 1 1
Mercatus Center at George Mason University 1 2 1 4
Mercatus/IHS 1 1
Montana Policy Institute 1 1
Mountain States Legal Foundation 1 1
National Center for Policy Analysis 1 1
National Review Institute 1 1
National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation 1 1
Network of Enlightened Women 1 1
New Civil Liberties Alliance 2 2
Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs 1 1
Pacific Legal Foundation 1 1 2
Pacific Research Institute 1 1 2
Pelican Institute for Public Policy 1 1
Philanthropy Roundtable 1 1
Pioneer Institute 1 1
Prager University Foundation 1 1
Project Veritas 1 1
Property and Environment Research Center (PERC) 1 1
Reason Foundation 2 2 4
Reclaim New York 1 1
Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity 1 1
Show-Me Institute 1 1
South Carolina Policy Council 1 1 2
State Policy Network 1 1 2 1 5
Students For Liberty 1 1 2
Sutherland Institute 1 1
Tax Foundation 2 2
TechFreedom 1 1
Texas Charter Schools Association 1 1
Texas Public Policy Foundation 1 1 1 3
The Becket Fund 1 1
The Bill of Rights Institute 1 1
The Center for Growth and Opportunity 1 1
The Daily Caller News Foundation 1 1
The Fairness Center 1 1
The Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity 1 1
The Free State Foundation 1 1
The Fund for American Studies 2 2
The Heartland Institute 1 1
The Independence Institute 1 1
The Mises Institute 1 1
The Philanthropy Roundtable 1 1
Thomas B. Fordham Institute 1 1
Washington Legal Foundation 1 1
Wisconsin Policy Research Institute 1 1 2
Wyoming Liberty Group 2 2
Yankee Institute 1 1
Young America’s Foundation 1 1 2
Grand Total 10 9 16 20 12 17 19 22 21 13 34 193

Contact & Address

Talent Market’s contact details listed on its website are: [19]

Talent Market
c/o DonorsTrust
1800 Diagonal Road, Suite 280
Alexandria, VA 22314

703.835.9933

Social Media

Resources

  1. Homepage,” Talent Market. Archived July 2, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/6EWag

  2. About,” Talent Market. Archived July 2, 2019. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/MSmIC

  3. Noam Sheiber. “The Right Wing’s Casting Agency, and Its Agent,” New York Times, March 6, 2016. Archived July 2, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/23YM6

  4. David Armiak. “Talent Market: The Libertarian Headhunting Firm Serving the Koch Network and the Bradley Foundation,” TruthOut, July 2, 2017. Archived July 2, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/ruoU2

  5. Andy Kroll. “Exposed: The Dark-Money ATM of the Conservative Movement,” Mother Jones, February 5, 2013. Archived July 2, 2019. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

  6. Donors Trust 990,” 2016. Archived July 2, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/3L9gl

  7. Success,” Talent Market. Archived July 2, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/jp4qK

  8. Our Team,” Talent Market. Archived July 2, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/svisD

  9. Careers,” Center for Growth and Opportunity. Archived July 2, 2019. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

  10. Alison Berg, Carter Moore. “Charles Koch gave $25m to our university. Has it become a rightwing mouthpiece?The Guardian, May 2, 2019. Archived July 2, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/4VwBz

  11. USU Huntsman School of Business Receives $50 Million Gift,” Utah State University, May 6, 2017. Archived July 2, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/NDuhL

  12. 2. Donor Influence In Hiring,” UnKoch My Campus. Archived July 2, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/fNlAu

  13. Director of Development – The Heartland Institute – Northwest Chicago, IL,” Talent Market, June 24, 2019. Archived July 2, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/vrgKT

  14. Talent Market,” Conservative Transparency. Archived July 2, 2019. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

  15. Meet the Newest Members of AFF’s Board!America’s Future Foundation, October 30, 2018. Archived July 2, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/9KObo

  16. John McCormick. “The Conservative Group Behind Scott Walker’s Political Rise,” Bloomberg, March 31, 2015. Archived July 2, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/sXVfR

  17. 2008 Award Grants,” The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation. Archived June 3, 2011. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

  18. Job Openings,” Talent Market. Archived July 2, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/Cul9J

  19. Contact,” Talent Market. Archived July 2, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/scdQq

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