About The Sycamore Institute

 An Independent, Nonpartisan Public Policy Research Center for Tennessee

The Sycamore Institute exists to help policymakers, the media, and the public understand how complex public policy issues affect Tennesseans. Our work focuses on state budget and fiscal policy, the vast realm of issues related to health and well-being, and the many ways in which they connect.


INDEPENDENT  •  The Sycamore Institute takes a neutral and objective approach to analyze and explain public policy issues. We are not affiliated with any academic center, government, or political organization.


NONPARTISAN  •  Our leadership and staff come from across the political spectrum, but we are united by the belief that data and evidence create the best foundation for effective public policy.


RESEARCH  •  The Sycamore Institute provides information and analysis. We do not promote any particular policies, political perspectives or party agendas.

Our Mission

To provide accessible, reliable data and research in pursuit of sound, sustainable policies that improve the lives of all Tennesseans.

Our Vision

A thriving Tennessee whose top priority is the health and well-being of each citizen.

Our History

The Sycamore Institute’s story begins with the bold vision of a diverse group of community leaders from across Tennessee who saw the need for an independent, nonpartisan public policy research center focused on our state.

With the leadership and support of The Baptist Healing Trust, approximately 80 of these leaders representing a broad range of professions, political views, and personal experiences engaged in a three-day collaborative design process at the Nelson Andrews Leadership Lodge in Nashville. Their goal: design an organization to inform and support the creation of sound, sustainable public policy for Tennessee through reliable, accessible, and data-driven research and analysis.

The Sycamore Institute launched in 2015 with a focus on state budget and health policy, reflecting our vision of a thriving Tennessee whose top priority is the health and well-being of each citizen.

Why Focus on the State Budget?

A state’s annual budget is both its spending plan and a reflection of its values and priorities. State budget decisions determine how we pay for the functions of government and directly influence the return on investment that taxpayers receive.

Why Health Policy?

A healthier Tennessee is a more prosperous Tennessee. Children, families, businesses, government, and our economy all thrive when people enjoy good health, function effectively, and make positive contributions to society. Health includes not just physical health and clinical care but also mental and emotional health, social well-being, and economic viability. These complicated, nuanced issues require thoughtful analysis that is sheltered from the pressures of partisan politics.

Where Do State Budget and Health Policy Meet?

To build and maintain health and well-being demands significant public and private resources. Tennessee spends more of its state revenues on health and social services than any other priority except education. The Sycamore Institute is dedicated to helping citizens, policymakers, non-profit agencies, foundations, media outlets, service providers, and others understand how the state budget and public policies affect Tennesseans’ health and well-being.

We welcome your participation and input in our process. Please connect with us to learn more and get involved.

Our Funding and Integrity

Funding for The Sycamore Institute comes from a combination of foundations and individual donors. Our official Code of Ethics reflects our commitment to maintaining integrity as a reliable source of information and independence from outside interests. Read our Code of Ethics here.