Mike Winther

Michael R. Winther is the Founder and President of the Institute for Principle Studies.  Previously, Mike worked as a professional campaign consultant in Washington and California, and then served as the Executive Director of the Society for Handicapped Children and Adults in Modesto for 19 years.

Mike is also a student and teacher of speech and debate.  Competing throughout high school and college, Mike learned much about logic and rhetoric.  Applying the skills he gleaned, Mike and his wife, Mary, have coached a home school debate club for over 20 years and they have written a textbook on rhetoric and academic debate.

Mike founded IPS in 2005 as Christian think-tank dedicated to researching and teaching foundational principles of government, economics, and history.  His goal was to meet the lack of discipleship in this area, so that both Christians and non-Christians would know the framework that constitutes a free and prosperous society.  His responsibilities at IPS include:  vision and direction for the organization, strategic planning, executive management, teaching and writing, and financial decision-making.

Mike sits on the Board of Scholars at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy and holds a degree in Political Science from the University of Idaho.


Carole L. McFarlane  is the Director of Operations at the Institute for Principles Studies.

Carole joined the IPS staff in June of 2011 after serving with Mike Winther for 12 years at the Society for Handicapped Children and Adults.  Carole has worked in non profit management for over 10 years and has an Associate Arts degree in Business Administration.

Her responsibilities at IPS include:  strategic planning, marketing and development, staff recruitment and training, bookkeeping, accounting, scheduling, and office management.


Steven ButnerSteven F. Butner is part of the Marketing and Development team at the Institute for Principles Studies.  He joined the IPS staff in May of 2015 after graduating from California State University Stanislaus in December of 2014 with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Business Administration.

His responsibilities at IPS include:  grant writing, donor relations, event planning, promotion, volunteer development, fundraising, and outreach.

Steven is a former member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals Yosemite Chapter and is an alumni of the Grant Writing USA workshop.  He regularly attends “Catalyst,” a monthly meeting hosted by a fellow Modesto nonprofit aimed at creating space and time to collaborate to affect beneficial community change.


Matt Vasquez

Matthew J. Vasquez is part of the Marketing and Development team at the Institute for Principle Studies.  He joined the IPS staff in May of 2015 after previously completing a paid internship at IPS.

Matt is a former debater who competed in the Stoa USA homeschool league.  In his last year in speech and debate, Matt finished 5th in the nation in Team Policy.

His responsibilities at IPS include:  coordinating and promoting the Logos Forensic Association, event planning, volunteer development, class coordination and promotion, research, and outreach.

Matt is part of the Association of Christian Schools International as well as the Modesto Chamber of Commerce.