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. 


Remembering the 1977 Airlie House Conference Report

Written by: Kettering Staff

David Mathews is president and CEO of the Ketteirng Foundation and is a former president of University of Alabama. He has participated in Kettering’s ongoing series of exchanges with college presidents on the civic purposes of higher education. Below is Mathews' 2016 introduction to the 1977 report The Changing Agenda for American Higher Education.

Livestreaming A Public Voice 2016: Join Us For Early Insights from Nationwide Deliberations

Written by: Kettering Staff

As of March 31, there have been more than 250 in-person and online forums on Making Ends Meet and Health Care Costs.

You're Invited - Join an Online Forum about Climate Change

Written by: Kettering Staff

We have 4 forums coming up using he long-awaited Climate Choices issue framing

6 More Opportunities to Participate in Online Forums In the Next 2 Weeks

Written by: Kettering Staff

Six more chances to try online Common Ground for Action forums that will be part of Kettering's annual report to policymakers, A Public Voice.

Hal Saunders’ Impact and Influence Was Truly Global

Written by: Kettering Staff

Reactions to the death of Hal Saunders have been pouring in from all over the world.