News & Ideas  -  María Teresa Kumar, Michael Luttig named Kettering Foundation senior fellows

News Press Release Senior Fellows

Eminent Latina civic activist, conservative jurist, to work with foundation

María Teresa Kumar and J. Michael Luttig have accepted appointments as senior fellows, the Charles F. Kettering Foundation announced today. They join nine senior fellows from diverse backgrounds and political views appointed since November to strengthen the Foundation’s focus on encouraging civic participation and fighting the rise of authoritarianism and threats to democracy in the US and around the globe. The senior fellows are drawn from both major parties, with distinguished records in government, higher education, civil society, business and journalism.

María Teresa Kumar is Cofounder and President of Voto Latino, a 501(c)(4) advocacy organization, and its sister nonprofit, nonpartisan 501(c)(3) organization, Voto Latino Foundation. Together, the organizations have registered 1.4 million voters in key battleground states since 2004. Kumar is an Emmy-nominated analyst for MSNBC. She has been named among Bloomberg’s 100 Influential Latinos, Washingtonian magazine’s 100 Top Political Influencers, and Elle’s 10 influential women in Washington.

J. Michael Luttig served on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit from 1991 to 2006. Before being appointed to the federal bench by President George H. W. Bush, he served as assistant attorney general for the Office of Legal Counsel and counselor to the attorney general of the United States at the Department of Justice from 1990 to 1991. Luttig is a board member of the nonprofit Society for the Rule of Law, founded by a group of conservative pro-democracy lawyers and jurists who have served at the highest levels of government in previous Republican administrations.

For more than 40 years, the Kettering Foundation has worked to strengthen citizen engagement in democratic societies around the globe. With last year’s appointment of Sharon L. Davies as its President and CEO, the organization has become more public facing in its work to enable it to respond to new threats to democracy and the rise of autocracy worldwide.

“María Teresa Kumar and J. Michael Luttig are fearless defenders of the Constitution, inclusive democracy and the rule of law, and I am delighted to welcome them to the group of senior fellows at the Kettering Foundation,” said Davies. “They will help the Foundation continue its nonpartisan work advancing democracy and combatting the forces that seek to divide us.”

The Kettering Foundation will tap the unique strengths, interests and bases of experience of each of its fellows. In addition to amplifying their current activities, the appointees will be invited to contribute to the new Kettering Foundation blog series, From Many, We, be guests on the foundation’s new podcast series, The Context (launch date early 2024) and participate in Kettering’s public conversations as panelists, keynotes or moderators.

The foundation will announce additional senior fellow appointments in the near future.

The Charles F. Kettering Foundation, headquartered in Dayton, Ohio, is a nonpartisan, nonprofit, operating foundation rooted in the American tradition of inventive research. Founded in 1927 “to sponsor and carry out scientific research for the benefit of humanity,” the foundation is inspired by the innovativeness and ingenuity of its founder, the American inventor Charles F. Kettering. For the past four decades, the foundation’s research and programs have focused on the needs of democracy worldwide. Today, the organization is committing itself to advancing inclusive democracies by fostering citizen engagement, promoting government accountability, and countering authoritarianism.