Grassroot Institute of Hawaii

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Learn more about how the State Policy Network aids ALEC and spins disinformation in the states.

The Grassroot Institute of Hawaii describes its mission as being to "promote individual liberty, the free market and limited accountable government. Through research papers, policy briefings, commentaries and conferences, the Institute seeks to educate and inform Hawaii's policymakers, news media and the general public."[1] The Grassroot Institute is a member of the State Policy Network.

Ties to the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity

The Grassroot Institute of Hawaii has hosted writers from the ALEC-connected Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, which screens potential reporters on their “free market” views as part of the job application process.[2] The Franklin Center funds reporters in over 40 states.[3] Despite their non-partisan description, many of the websites funded by the Franklin Center have received criticism for their conservative bias.[4][5] On its website, the Franklin Center claims it "provides 10 percent of all daily reporting from state capitals nationwide."[6]

Franklin Center Funding

Franklin Center Director of Communications Michael Moroney told the Center for Public Integrity (CPI) in 2013 that the source of the Franklin Center's funding "is 100 percent anonymous." But 95 percent of its 2011 funding came from DonorsTrust, a spin-off of the Philanthropy Roundtable that functions as a large "donor-advised fund," cloaking the identity of donors to right-wing causes across the country (CPI did a review of Franklin's Internal Revenue Service records).[7] Mother Jones called DonorsTrust "the dark-money ATM of the conservative movement" in a February 2013 article.[8] Franklin received DonorTrust's second-largest donation in 2011.[7]

The Franklin Center also receives funding from the Wisconsin-based Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation,[9] a conservative grant-making organization.[10]

The Franklin Center was launched by the Chicago-based Sam Adams Alliance (SAM),[11] a 501(c)(3) devoted to pushing free-market ideals. SAM gets funding from the State Policy Network,[12] which is partially funded by The Claude R. Lambe Foundation.[13] Charles Koch, one of the billionaire brothers who co-own Koch Industries, sits on the board of this foundation.[14] SAM also receives funding from the Rodney Fund.

Ties to "Hawaii Reporter"

Malia Zimmerman, the secretary of the institute's board of directors,[15] is also a co-founder of "Hawaii Reporter,"[16] a networked news organization funded by the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity[17] that produces an online daily newspaper based in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Other Funding

In its 2006 annual report the Cato Institute states that it provided a grant of $40,000 to the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii.[18]


Board Members

  • Richard O. Rowland, Chairman of the Board and President
  • Cliff Slater, Treasurer
  • Malia Zimmerman, Secretary
  • Gilbert Collins
  • Ed Kemp
  • Jack Schneider


  • Aaron Jensvold, Vice-President
  • Cody Hensarling, Director of Publications
  • Malia Blom-Hill, Director of Policy

Core Financials


  • Total Revenue: $519,209
  • Total Expenses: $495,469
  • Net Assets: $235,640


  • Total Revenue: $387,191
  • Total Expenses: $519,000
  • Net Assets: $211,900

Contact Details

Grassroot Institute of Hawaii
1314 S. King Street
Suite 1163
Honolulu, HI 96814
Phone: 808.591.9193
Fax: 808.356.1690
Email: grassroot AT

Articles and Resources


  1. "About Grassroot Institute of Hawaii", accessed March 2008.
  2. Franklin Center, Franklin Affiliates in Your State, organizational website, accessed October 2012.
  3. The Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, Think tank Journalism: The Future of Investigative Journalism, organizational website, accessed August 19, 2011.
  4. Rebekah Metzler, "Watchdog" website puts a new spin on politics, The Portland Press Herald, October 2, 2010.
  5. Allison Kilkenny, The Koch Spider Web, Truthout, accessed August 19, 2011.
  6. Sara Jerving, Franklin Center: Right-Wing Funds State News Source,, October 27, 2011.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Paul Abowd, Center for Public Integrity, Donors use charity to push free-market policies in states, organizational report, February 14, 2013.
  8. Andy Kroll, Exposed: The Dark-Money ATM of the Conservative Movement, Mother Jones, February 5, 2013.
  9. Daniel Bice, Franklin Center boss wants apology from Democratic staffer, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, August 8, 2011.
  10. The Bradley Foundation. The Bradley Foundation. Organizational website. Accessed August 19, 2011.
  11. Sam Adams Alliance. Sam Adams Alliance Media Kit. Organizational PDF. Accessed August 19, 2011.
  12. Media Matters Action Network. Sam Adams Alliance. Conservative Transparency. Accessed August 19, 2011.
  13. Media Matters Action Network. State Policy Network. Conservative Transparency. Accessed August 19, 2011.
  14. Media Matters Action Network. Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation. Conservative Transparency. Accessed August 19, 2011.
  15. Grassroots Institute of Hawaii, Board Members, organizational website, accessed September 17, 2012
  16. Hawaii Reporter, About, organizational website, cached by Google September 8, 2012, accessed September 17, 2012
  17. Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, Hawaii Reporter Wins Four Awards, Including Top Investigative Reporting Award, from Society of Professional Journalists, organizational website article, June 29, 2011, accessed February 24, 2012
  18. Cato Institute, 2006 Annual Report, pages 19-23.
  19. Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, IRS form 990, 2010. GuideStar.
  20. Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, IRS form 990, 2009. GuideStar.

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