Core Ideas


Democracy requires responsible citizens who can make sound decisions about their future, and can act on these decisions. Through joint learning exchanges, Kettering studies how citizens might accept their responsibility, make sound decisions about what is in the public’s interest, and join forces to act on those decisions.


Democracy requires a community, or a society of citizens, that can work together. We research the way citizens face persistent problems in their communities. These problems, such as poverty, violence, and gaps in educational achievement, require citizens, communities, and institutions to work together to address them.


Democracy requires institutions with public legitimacy that contribute to strengthening society. While institutions can affect the public’s ability to govern itself, they can also unintentionally weaken self-rule by substituting expert knowledge for public knowledge. Aligning institutional routines with citizens’ work is the central challenge. 


Experience with Deliberation in College Translates to Sustained Political Engagement

Written by: Kettering Staff

According to a recent follow-up study, students who use deliberation to enhance civic engagement efforts in college are still feeling the effects 10 years after the fact.

How Civic Engagement Spread across Six College Campuses

Written by: Maura Casey

Jay Theis had a newly minted doctorate in political science when he became concerned about the fate of a Methodist church that was closing across the street from his Kansas City home.

Robert J. Kingston: A Tribute

Written by: Kettering Staff

Robert Kingston, a leading member of the Kettering Foundation family for more than 35 years, passed away August 20 in Long Island, New York. A celebration of his life will be scheduled in October.

Robert J. Kingston, 1929-2016

Written by: Kettering Staff

Robert J. Kingston, a senior associate at the Kettering Foundation for more than 30 years, died August 20 at Hospice on Long Island, New York. He was 87.


Written by: Kettering Staff

The National Issues Forums Institute and the Kettering Foundation are excited to announce NIF On Demand.