Forty years ago, The Heritage Foundation was just an idea – a vision in the minds of a handful of individuals hoping to fill the conservative void on Capitol Hill. In 1973, their vision became a reality, with a tiny staff and a giant mission: to build an America where freedom, opportunity, prosperity and civil society flourish.

Fast forward to today. The Heritage Foundation is the most influential and broadly-supported public policy think tank in Washington, with more than 270 staffers and a membership base of over 700,000 active members.

The past few decades have been marked by numerous victories for Heritage and for the conservative movement as a whole. Take, for instance, our book Mandate for Leadership, which largely shaped Ronald Reagan’s presidency.  Also, consider our groundbreaking research that helped shape the 1996 welfare reforms. Or examine our success in 2005 as we provided quick Hurricane Katrina solutions that were adopted by Congress and White House officials.

Heritage’s achievements over the years have helped to make it a permanent institution in Washington.

But in one key respect, Heritage is different from other Washington institutions. As former Vice President Dick Cheney once put it, “Heritage is in Washington. It is not of Washington.”

Our membership tells all.

With over 700,000 members and counting, The Heritage Foundation is building a strong presence in communities spanning the nation. Our members are in every state and every Congressional district. Many lawmakers would be hard-pressed to ignore the growing number of Heritage members in their districts.


  • Three-quarters of Congressional districts are home to more than 1,000 Heritage members each;
  • Two hundred and twenty-seven Members of Congress represent districts that include more than 1,500 Heritage members; and
  • Traditionally “blue” states like California, Pennsylvania and New York are home to large numbers of our members: 80,000, 31,000 and 29,000 respectively.

The Heritage Foundation’s membership growth is only the beginning. As recent tea parties, town halls, Washington rallies, and last Tuesday’s elections show, millions of individuals nationwide identify with conservative principles. We strive to be the voice for these conservatives in Washington.

Ours is a movement on the rise—not least because we are recalling America back to the founding principles that have made America exceptional.

Help us build this movement and build our momentum. Donate to The Heritage Foundation today.

Andrew Vitaliti is currently a member of the Young Leaders Program at the Heritage Foundation. For more information on interning at Heritage, please visit: