Character Development

The Foundation knows that free societies are not machines that run on their own. To survive and prosper, free societies need citizens of every age who possess good character and active virtue. That is why we support a broad range of programs, publications, and studies focused on character education from childhood through young adulthood and beyond. In schools and colleges, we try to reinforce such values as honesty, compassion, self-discipline, and respect. We encourage educators to spend time with their students discussing Aristotle’s perennial question: what is a good person? To succeed, character education must be based on high personal aims, a defining purpose. As William Damon, an education professor at Stanford, puts it, “In the long run, it is a sense of inspiration that will sustain the child’s good character.” Damon and other prominent researchers supported by the Foundation have established a growing body of scholarship showing the benefits of character education and suggesting methods for incorporating it more fully into the daily lives of young people. For more information about grants in Character Development, please visit www.templeton.org/funding_areas .