Giving a fish to a man, or teaching him how to fish, are important steps in helping the less fortunate. But they are not sufficient to create a prosperous economy. A critical ingredient is protecting the right of men and women to fish in the first place — to own and control the fruits of their own labor, to create wealth for their families and for others in society.
To meet those ends, a strong understanding must be advanced about the United States’ tradition of a free-market economy under the rule of law. The John William Pope Foundation supports dozens of public-policy groups, in North Carolina and nationally, that defend the American tradition of free enterprise and entrepreneurship.
What motivates that support? Family tradition. In 1949, John William Pope, recently returned from World War II and newly married, took over five discount-variety stores in eastern North Carolina started by his father. Over the next five decades, Pope grew the business into Variety Wholesalers Inc., a network of stores serving 300 communities across the southeast and employing thousands.
The blessings of a free market economy enabled the Pope family to build a prosperous business and, in turn, establish a foundation that has donated tens of millions to the betterment of North Carolinians. Those funds would not have been available without the American tradition of entrepreneurship that allowed Variety Wholesalers to succeed.
In our support for public-policy philanthropy, the central mission of the Pope Foundation is to ensure that the same economic liberties that were available to the Pope family are passed on to future generations. At its core, that philosophy is about people — enriching their lives and communities and strengthening the foundations of a free society for posterity.
Four key principles guide the Pope Foundation in our public policy work:
- A free-market economy, under the rule of law, is the best conduit to bring the greatest amount of prosperity to the highest number of people.
- Successful businesses have a duty to reinvest their profits not only in the company, but also in directly aiding their communities through philanthropic giving.
- All of society benefits when businesses are allowed to grow in a free-market economy. New individuals are employed, and new products are brought to those who would otherwise lack access to them.
- A free and prosperous nation cannot function without individual responsibility and initiative.
The Foundation invests in over 25 state and national public policy organizations that defend free-market values. Gifts to public policy causes have totaled over $60 million during the last 25 years. Examples of the organizations that we support include:
- The John Locke Foundation
- The John William Pope Civitas Institute
- The North Carolina Institute for Constitutional Law
- The John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy
- The North Carolina Family Policy Council
- The Jesse Helms Center Foundation
- The North Carolina FreeEnterprise Foundation
How to Apply
Click here for information on the application process.
Check out our grantee Spotlights
Ziyi Mai’s favorite economist is Milton Friedman. So when the native of Mainland China moved to the u.S. in 2009, it made perfect sense for him to choose “Milton."Learn More & Get Involved
Raising a flag on a hill — that’s the word picture Cathy Heath uses to describe her decade-long fight to reform North Carolina’s annexation laws.Learn More & Get Involved
Life is tough for Xavier Massey. The 16-year-old from Waxhaw, North Carolina, works part-time at Wal-Mart to help his mother put food on the table for his siblings.Learn More & Get Involved
For Jim Anthony, it all began in 1983. An MBA graduate from Duke University, Jim had spent the last four years working as a brokerage professional in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles when he decided to move his family back to North Carolina. He took a job with a local commercial real estate [...]Learn More & Get Involved
Rather than redistribute the economic pie that already exists, the John Locke Foundation wants to see more pies produced in the first place.Learn More & Get Involved
State and local governments also are the places where citizens can have the most direct say and impact, in the quickest way. Those reasons, and more, are why the John William Pope Civitas Institute exists.Learn More & Get Involved
Providing legislative and political research to the North Carolina business community, all with the purpose of advancing free enterprise and creating a positive business climate.Learn More & Get Involved
In listing societal institutions that are a force against big government, strong marriages, strong families, and strong churches immediately come to mind. But is philanthropy also an indispensible support of freedom?Learn More & Get Involved
Broadening intellectual diversity on campus, increasing the value of a college degree, and serving as a watchdog of resources in the university system: These attributes, and many more, characterize the Pope Center for Higher Education.Learn More & Get Involved
Tricia Boyd had to hit rock bottom before she realized that political activism was one of her callings in life.Learn More & Get Involved
Many historians refer to the years between 1890 and 1950 —commonly known as the “Jim Crow era” — as the nadir of race relations in the United States.Learn More & Get Involved