John Tillman | Chairman


John Tillman is one of the nation’s most prominent leaders in the free-market, public-policy arena. He is CEO of the American Culture Project, an organization that attracts, educates and mobilizes independent voters around the ideas of freedom and opportunity.

John is best known for building the Illinois Policy Institute (IPI), which he currently chairs, into one of the most influential state-based think tanks in the country while he was CEO from 2007 to 2021. IPI was a key part of the coalition that defeated Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s progressive income tax in 2020.

As Politico noted, “IPI has shown an ability to drive the debate and influence action in the Illinois Legislature, including whipping opposition to key votes.”

While leading IPI, he co-founded and served as chairman of Liberty Justice Center, which won the precedent-setting Janus v. AFSCME case before the U.S. Supreme Court in 2018.

John has founded and chairs numerous other enterprises within the liberty space. As chairman of the Franklin News Foundation beginning in 2017, he turned a near-insolvent operation into a media powerhouse that has news bureaus in every state and Washington, D.C. Their newswire service, The Center Square, is republished in hundreds of newspapers throughout the country has a daily readership of 2.2 million.

John is also the co-founder and chairman of Iron Light, a full-service, for-profit digital marketing agency, which does work for more than 75 nonprofits across the conservative public policy space.