Democracy Needs All of Us to Thrive

The Charles F. Kettering Foundation works to inspire and connect individuals and organizations to advance thriving and inclusive democracies around the globe. We believe all people belong and have the right to engage in and shape a democracy that serves them.

Focus Areas
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The Time to Act Is Now

Democracies around the globe are under unprecedented threat from authoritarianism, disinformation, polarization, and eroded trust in our institutions. But every day, in every community, citizens are stepping up to protect our freedoms. We are researching what works. We are innovating. We are building connections. We are amplifying voices on the streets, at the polls, and in the legislature.

People are the heart of democracy. The Charles F. Kettering Foundation is dedicated to bringing research and people together to make the promise of democracy real for everyone, everywhere.


We envision a world of thriving democracies where the rights of all are protected and people fulfill their civic responsibilities.


We advance inclusive democracies by fostering citizen engagement, promoting government accountability, and countering authoritarianism.

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Guiding Beliefs and Values

Democratic Integrity: We believe in the rule of law and that all people have the right to free and fair elections, accountable leadership, and the peaceful transfer of power.

Civic Responsibility: We believe that people have a responsibility to participate in their communities and make demands of their governments for the common good.

Belonging: We believe that democracy must embrace the full diversity of life experiences, beliefs, and voices of all.

Justice: We believe that all people have a right to fair and equitable treatment by institutions and systems of governance.

Trustworthiness: We believe that democracy requires civic and governmental institutions that are honest, transparent, and accountable.

How We Do Our Work

The Kettering Foundation advances inclusive democracies by empowering people with the knowledge and tools to build and preserve resilient democratic systems. We do this through:

Research: We are committed to leading and supporting research initiatives that provide people with information grounded in truth and equip them to advance and defend democracy.

Narrative Making: We create and support narratives that inspire people to embrace their power and role in democracy and that disrupt false narratives that are designed to divide community and harm democracy.

Communication: We provide people with information about the opportunities in democracy and to help them stay ahead of what threatens it.

Innovation: We continually search for new, responsive, and impactful ways to advance and defend democracy.

Partnerships: We build and cultivate alliances to strengthen commitment to democracy worldwide.

Strategic Direction: The Charles F. Kettering Foundation’s new strategic plan centers around three major strategic directions: countering authoritarianism, fostering civic engagement, and promoting government accountability.

The foundation advances our work across five targeted focus areas. Together, these focus areas position the foundation to promote democratic principles and values and counter attacks on democracy.

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