Sutherland Institute
Rick Larsen

SALT LAKE CITY — Sutherland Institute announced Tuesday that Rick Larsen is rising to the role of president of the Utah-based conservative think tank.

Larsen was hired as the institute's vice president of development and communications last summer. Prior to that, he worked for 30 years in fundraising strategy and cause-related marketing.

Larsen succeeds Boyd Matheson, who last week was named opinion editor and head of strategic reach for the Deseret News.

In a statement released Tuesday, Larsen praised Sutherland's public-policy influence as a vehicle for change.

"Americans are the most generous nation on earth," Larsen said. "However, years working in the social sector created a realization in me that generosity is necessary, but not enough. Real change only occurs when local communities engage, government takes its proper role and citizens demand sound public policy."

Stan Swim, chairman of the institute's board of trustees, praised Larsen as someone who "understands intuitively how to apply Sutherland's principles to meet community needs."

"Rick's experience in the nonprofit and private sectors positions him to carry out Sutherland's vision, expanding its reach and impact across our community," Swim said.

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Matheson also applauded Larsen in the statement as "a trusted executive who knows how to inspire and lead people, organizations and communities from dreaming dreams to designing a better world and delivering extraordinary results."

Before joining Sutherland, Larsen worked as chief development officer at United Way of Salt Lake and was the owner of Impact Strategic Advisors, a consulting firm whose clients included political campaigns, the Forever Young Foundation's Give Salt Lake event and the Ragnar Relay Series. He was also the president and chief marketing officer for Operation Kids Foundation.