Our Strategic Plan

Our Strategy

Defending Inclusive Democracy

In this moment of worldwide democratic decline and rising authoritarianism, democracy requires a robust defense. Some of the forces at play are intentionally fragmenting our society instead of unifying it. This focus area is about strengthening the public's commitment to democracy and increasing its ability to recognize anti-democratic threats and willingness to act in democracy’s defense.

Goal: Defend inclusive democracy by raising awareness of and responding to its greatest threats.


  • Promote public understanding of and commitment to democratic principles and values.
  • Defend the rights of all citizens to participate in local, state, and national elections and have their votes count.
  • Build social awareness of structural barriers and inequities that undermine belonging and limit collective action and citizen participation.

Information for a Democratic Society

A robust and independent information landscape grounded in truth and accuracy plays a critical role in ensuring the transparency, accountability, and informed decision-making that underpin democracy. The public relies upon trusted sources of information to be knowledgeable about local, national, and global issues to participate meaningfully in public affairs. The foundation develops and elevates resources that affirm the power of the people to govern themselves and combats misinformation, disinformation, and the erosion of trust in democratic institutions.

Goal: Provide the public with information to heighten awareness of the needs of democracy and to enable the public to recognize authoritarian threats.


  • Promote public awareness of the rights and responsibilities of democratic citizenship.
  • Produce trusted, nonpartisan research and analysis supportive of democracy.
  • Counter anti-democratic campaigns and practices that diminish the critical democratic role of K–12 and higher education.
  • Promote the importance of fact-based journalism and the role of a free and independent press in a democratic society.

Democracy and Community

Democracy relies on healthy, inclusive communities where all are able to participate in shaping their future, yet many communities are fractured. The work of this focus area will amplify individual and community voices, promote mutuality, encourage collective action, and enhance democratic engagement.

Goal: Strengthen community voices, mutuality, and collective action for greater citizen engagement and influence over local problem-solving and government.


  • Support local projects where people work together to improve their communities and experience the benefits of collaboration firsthand.
  • Build social awareness of structural barriers and inequities that undermine the sense of community and limit collective action and citizen participation.
  • Strengthen mechanisms for people to influence local government.

Democracy and the Arts

The arts can help people understand, affirm, and advance core democratic values, including individual freedom, mutual responsibility, fairness, belonging, and trust in each other and in the integrity of our public institutions. The foundation utilizes the unique power of the arts to advance inclusive democracy.

Goal: Integrate the unique power of the arts into the Kettering Foundation's work locally, nationally, and internationally.


  • Leverage the unique power of the arts to advance the foundation’s work. 
  • Foster citizen engagement, support democratic ideals and practices, and expose threats to democracy through the arts.
  • Create art that advances democracy at the local, national, and international levels.
  • Increase the reach and impact of artistic endeavors that affirm and advance democracy.

Democracy around the Globe

In a time of democratic erosion around the globe, people’s desire for political rights and civil liberties persists. Democracy requires interconnected champions to support their efforts. The foundation works with strategic partners around the world to protect rights, empower communities, amplify marginalized voices, and counter the influence of authoritarian regimes.

Goal: Strengthen an international community of partners to promote and defend inclusive democracies around the globe.


  • Identify key democratic threats and elevate promising initiatives to respond to those threats.
  • Foster a community of international partners focused on advancing inclusive democracies and countering authoritarian pressures. Support the initiatives of partners and other mobilization efforts to respond to democratic threats.
  • Document and share knowledge, global insights, experiences, and research to improve efforts to advance inclusive democracy and counter authoritarianism.

Kettering Foundation News

War Is the Ultimate Tool in the Authoritarian Toolbox

Written by: Kettering Staff

It’s the ultimate opportunity to diminish civil liberties in the name of “patriotism” and the war effort.

The 90th Anniversary of the Ukrainian Holodomor: Lessons for Democracy Today

Written by: Kettering Staff

Literally meaning “to kill by hunger,” the artificially induced famine stands out among Joseph Stalin’s long litany of devastations.

Ohio’s 2023 Election: A Vindication for Democracy

Written by: Kettering Staff

How did Ohio’s Issue 1 become such an epic battle?

Threats to Democracy Go Beyond Polarization and Mistrust

Written by: Kettering Staff

What are the threats and how do we understand them?

Kettering Foundation Appoints Seven Senior Fellows

Written by: Kettering Staff

Eminent Americans from journalism, law, politics and higher education to work with foundation

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The Charles F. Kettering Foundation board of directors approved a new strategic plan in June 2023.

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