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. 

Kettering Foundation News

Levine Receives Established Leader Award

Written by: Kettering Staff

Peter Levine was awarded the Established Leader Award by the Civic Engagement section of APSA.

Middle Schoolers as Deliberative Civic Actors

Written by: Kettering Staff

Deliberation in the classroom.

Young Children as Classroom Citizens

Written by: Kettering Staff
Deliberative democratic practices in the classroom community.

Ongoing Threats to Democracy

Written by: Kettering Staff

Early August brought bipartisan evidence that our major political parties are willing to erode democracy if it meets their goals. Both Democrats and Republicans are playing with fire.

Statement on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization

Written by: Kettering Staff

The Supreme Court’s action in overturning abortion rights will erode trust and fracture American democracy.