We Are a Dedicated Team

We are a group of researchers, communicators, and thought leaders who are ready to meet this moment and protect democratic ideals.

Focus Areas
Child at school desk
Meeting group

Our People

Board of Directors

Sharon L. Davies
Ed Dorn
Beverly Wade Hogan
Les Ihara, Jr.
Peter Levine
Sherry Magill (Chair)
Hank Meijer
Suzanne Morse Moomaw
Roberto Saba

Our History

Since the foundation was established over 100 years ago, we have been committed to the advancement of human knowledge; the progress of the arts and sciences; and the endowment of public, educational, and other charitable projects. Our fellows and partners today conduct cutting-edge research and lead innovative programs to advance and protect inclusive democracies around the globe.

The Charles F. Kettering Foundation is a nonpartisan, nonprofit, operating foundation engaged in research for the improvement of society. Founded in 1927 by Charles F. Kettering, best known for inventing the automobile self-starter, the foundation carries on his legacy of rigorous research and his steadfast belief that progress and a better future are attainable through change and innovation.

Since our founding, the foundation has undergone two major changes in how we do our work: In the late 1960s, Kettering shifted from being a grant-making foundation to an operating foundation. In the 1980s, the foundation decided to center all our research and programming on the project of strengthening democracy, both in the U.S. and around the globe, with a special emphasis on the role of citizens in democracy. Over the course of more than four decades, Kettering has earned a distinguished reputation in the field of deliberative democracy, guided by the belief that democratic societies advance through mechanisms and rights that foster citizen engagement.

Now, under Sharon L. Davies’ leadership and working against the backdrop of rapidly evolving global threats to democracy, Kettering is widening our aperture. This new focus enables the foundation to tackle the most pressing challenges to democracy today and contribute to a future where people are informed and engaged in shaping their collective future.

Learn more about our work.

Charles F. Kettering