Talent Market

Talent Market


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]


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).

Donor2011201220132014201520162017Grand 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


Claire Kittle DixonYYYYExecutive Director
Katy Gambella   YNetwork Engagement Manager
Lauren Skiver YYYTalent Manager

Advisory Council

Ann C. FitzgeraldYYYPresident, A.C. Fitzgerald & Associates
Bridgett G. WagnerYYYVice President for External Relations, The Heritage Foundation
Lawrence W. ReedYYYPresident, Foundation for Economic Education
Marty ZupanYYYPresident Emeritus, Institute for Humane Studies
Roger R. ReamYYYPresident, The Fund for American Studies
Shari WilliamsYYYExecutive Director, The Vernon K. Krieble Foundation
Tracie J. SharpYYYPresident & CEO, State Policy Network
Whitney L. BallYY President & CEO, DonorsTrust


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]

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:

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

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 Group20092010201120122013201420152016201720182019Total Postings (1-Month Snapshot)
Acton Institute       1   1
Adolph Coors Foundation          11
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      11   2
American Spectator Foundation   1       1
American Studies Center/Radio America/The American Veterans Center      1    1
Americans for Prosperity Foundation  13   1   5
Atlas Economic Research Foundation12         3
Ayn Rand Institute   1   1   2
Bill of Rights Institute    12     3
Caesar Rodney Institute      1    1
Cato Institute     1   113
Center for College Affordability and Productivity     1     1
Center for Competitive Politics      1    1
Center for Growth & Opportunity          11
Charles Koch Foundation    1 21   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   24
Competitive Enterprise Institute   1    1114
Confidential Nonprofit1          1
DonorsTrust   1 11 1  4
Empire Center       11  2
Families Against Mandatory Minimums  1        1
Federalist Society          11
Foundation for Economic Education (FEE)  1 11     3
Foundation for Government Accountability        2  2
Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity        1  1
Franklin Center1 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          11
Goldwater Institute 11112 2   8
Illinois Policy Institute 11   1    3
Independence Institute      21   3
Independent Institute  1      113
Institute for Free Speech         112
Institute for Humane Studies    211 1  5
Institute for Justice  21       3
Intellectual Takeout   1       1
Intercollegiate Studies Institute        1 12
International Center for Law and Economics          11
Jack Miller Center          11
John Locke Foundation       1   1
Kern Family Foundation        2  2
Leadership Institute          11
Leadership Project for America  1        1
Mackinac Center for Public Policy     1     1
Maine Heritage Policy Center 1         1
Manhattan Institute   2  1 1116
Mercatus and IHS1          1
Mercatus Center at George Mason University   121     4
Mercatus/IHS1          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          11
Pacific Legal Foundation       11  2
Pacific Research Institute11         2
Pelican Institute for Public Policy 1         1
Philanthropy Roundtable          11
Pioneer Institute 1         1
Prager University Foundation          11
Project Veritas     1     1
Property and Environment Research Center (PERC)         1 1
Reason Foundation         224
Reclaim New York         1 1
Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity  1        1
Show-Me Institute     1     1
South Carolina Policy Council1 1        2
State Policy Network1      12 15
Students For Liberty       1  12
Sutherland Institute    1      1
Tax Foundation      2    2
TechFreedom          11
Texas Charter Schools Association          11
Texas Public Policy Foundation    111    3
The Becket Fund         1 1
The Bill of Rights Institute          11
The Center for Growth and Opportunity          11
The Daily Caller News Foundation          11
The Fairness Center      1    1
The Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity          11
The Free State Foundation          11
The Fund for American Studies          22
The Heartland Institute          11
The Independence Institute          11
The Mises Institute       1   1
The Philanthropy Roundtable         1 1
Thomas B. Fordham Institute   1       1
Washington Legal Foundation1          1
Wisconsin Policy Research Institute1    1     2
Wyoming Liberty Group  2        2
Yankee Institute         1 1
Young America’s Foundation   1      12
Grand Total109162012171922211334193

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


Social Media


  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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