The Kettering Foundation is a nonprofit operating foundation rooted in the American tradition of cooperative research. Kettering’s primary research question is, what does it take to make democracy work as it should? Kettering’s research is distinctive because it is conducted from the perspective of citizens and focuses on what people can do collectively to address problems affecting their lives, their communities, and their nation.


Our staff of program officers and researchers work together with global networks of scholars and practitioners. Learn more about our people and their studies, achievements, and published works.

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The Charles F. Kettering Foundation was founded in 1927 “to sponsor and carry out scientific research for the benefit of humanity.” Inspired by the open-mindedness and creative philosophy of its founder, the American inventor Charles F. Kettering, the foundation’s research has gradually shifted to focus on democracy, particularly the role of citizens.

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How We Work

Our research is done by learning with, not experimenting on, real citizens, communities, and institutions. In both our in-person learning exchanges and publications, we don’t aim to provide answers, but further questions.

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