On January 1, 2009, the New Coalition for Economic and Social Change will no longer share offices with The Heartland Institute, marking a new stage in a unique partnership that dates back to The Heartland Institute’s founding in 1984.
The New Coalition is a black conservative think tank founded in San Francisco in 1980 and led by Lee H. Walker in Chicago since 1992. Prior to heading The New Coalition, Walker held positions in senior management with Sears, Roebuck and Company for 23 years. The Heartland Institute is a libertarian think tank founded in Chicago in 1984.
Walker was present at the founding of The Heartland Institute and served on its Board of Directors from 1992 to 2005. In October 2002, he was named Heartland’s senior fellow for urban affairs and the headquarters of The New Coalition were moved into extra space at Heartland. For the next six years the two organizations jointly produced books and newsletters, hosted events with leading black conservative figures, and operated a Web site at www.newcoalition.org.
“Lee Walker is one of the most extraordinary men I’ve had the privilege of working with,” said Heartland President Joseph Bast. “He is easily the hardest-working man in the think tank world today, the first to arrive at the office in the morning and often the last to leave in the evening. His dedication and personal integrity are simply unmatched. For more than two decades he has been a mentor, an inspiration, and a friend.”
Closing the office of The New Coalition was a difficult choice, especially with the planned release of Walker’s latest book, Rediscovering Black Conservatism, expected in February. But Walker decided the effort and expense of maintaining a staffed office for The New Coalition was better devoted to his continuing work as a senior fellow for The Heartland Institute and his long list of civic leadership positions, which includes serving as chairman of the Illinois State Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and as a director of the Black United Fund of Illinois and the Gidwitz Center for Urban Policy at National Louis University.
Walker continues to be available for interviews, public speaking, and mentoring. He can be reached by calling Tammy Nash, The Heartland Institute’s media relations manager, at 312/377-4000, or he can be reached by email at [email protected].