ADF honored by Heritage Foundation's 'Innovation Prize' for ranking C-suite commitment to freedom
ADF’s Viewpoint Diversity Score Business Index garners recognition for role in holding Big Tech corporations accountable to protect free speech
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Just a week after launching the Viewpoint Diversity Score website and Business Index, Alliance Defending Freedom has been presented with an Innovation Prize from The Heritage Foundation.
The index rates 50 publicly traded corporations on the Fortune 1000 list, evaluating their commitment to fostering a culture of free speech and religious liberty for their employees, customers, and the general public. The project also provides companies with workable solutions through model polices, research, toolkits, polling, and constructive dialogue.
“We are honored to receive this prestigious award and thank our friends at The Heritage Foundation for their critical leadership promoting our nation’s founding principles across our culture—including in corporate America,” said ADF President and CEO Michael Farris. “CEOs and business leaders have positions of considerable power. They shouldn’t weaponize their influence or the companies they run to divide Americans or engage in speech censorship or anti-religious bigotry. We hope that our Viewpoint Diversity Score Business Index will motivate C-suite leaders to adopt policies and practices that respect the core liberties of their employees, consumers, and fellow Americans.”
Viewpoint Diversity Score is a joint venture of ADF and Inspire Investing, a Christian investing and financial technology firm informing investment decisions on billions of dollars around the globe. As leaders from ADF and Inspire Investing recently explained in an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal, the Business Index focuses on industries that have the greatest potential to impact free speech and religious freedom. These include industries that provide essential banking, payment processing, and cloud services, or that serve as platforms for third-party expression in the digital space. Many of the companies are household names, like Meta (Facebook, Instagram, etc.), Twitter, and Bank of America.
“Business leaders can help heal a divided America by simply respecting the diverse viewpoints of employees, customers, and stakeholders,” said ADF Senior Counsel and Senior Vice President for Corporate Engagement Jeremy Tedesco. “Instead of using the cultural power of their brands to drive polarization, business leaders should commit to respecting everyone, regardless of their religion or ideology. Businesses should respect viewpoint diversity at every level of their organizations, from the shop floor to the board room, and externally as well.”
In its inaugural year, the Heritage Innovation Prize recognizes non-profit organizations that are advancing American freedom in seven key areas, including holding Big Tech accountable.
Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization committed to protecting religious freedom, free speech, parental rights, and the sanctity of life.
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Michael Farris is counselor to the CEO and president of Alliance Defending Freedom. Drawing on his experience as the former CEO, Farris provides strategic analysis and advice to ADF’s CEO on a broad range of issues, with special emphasis on parental rights and international issues. Before joining ADF, Farris was founding president of both the Home School Legal Defense Association and Patrick Henry College and continues to serve as chairman of the board of HSLDA and chancellor emeritus of PHC. He graduated from Western Washington State College magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in political science, followed by a Juris Doctor from Gonzaga University (with honors). He also earned an LL.M. in public international law (with honors) from the University of London. Farris has specialized in constitutional appellate litigation. In that capacity, he has argued before the appellate courts of 13 states, eight federal circuit courts of appeal, and the U.S. Supreme Court, where in 2018 he successfully argued NIFLA v. Becerra, resulting in a free speech victory for California’s pro-life pregnancy centers.
Jeremy Tedesco serves as senior counsel and senior vice president of corporate engagement for Alliance Defending Freedom. In this role, Tedesco leads ADF’s efforts to combat corporate cancel culture and build a business ethic that respects free speech, religious freedom, and human dignity. Immediately preceding his current role, Tedesco served as senior vice president for communications, during which time he was a lead convener of the Philadelphia Statement, a movement dedicated to restoring free speech and civil discourse. Previously, Tedesco litigated First Amendment cases at the highest levels. He was part of the legal team that represented cake artist Jack Phillips in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission before the U.S. Supreme Court and argued Phillips’ case at the Colorado Court of Appeals. He was also the lead brief writer in two other U.S. Supreme Court wins, Reed v. Town of Gilbert and Arizona Christian School Tuition Organization v. Winn. Tedesco has also argued six times before five different federal appellate courts and founded and directed the ADF Center for Conscience Initiatives, where he led efforts to protect individuals from government-coerced speech. Tedesco earned his Juris Doctor in 2004 from the Regent University School of Law.