Our Story

In 1993, a group of educators, researchers, and civic leaders came together to form a national organization devoted to fostering character development in our schools and communities.

Guided by the inspired commitment of Sanford McDonnell, the former CEO of McDonnell Douglas, they became the Character Education Partnership (now Character.org). Ever since, the mission of Character.org has been to provide the voice, visibility, and resources for educators to build nurturing and supportive school cultures that focus on a set of core values and character strengths vital to school success.

Character.org is widely known for its 11 Principles Framework for Schools: A Guide to Cultivating a Character-Inspired Culture, a comprehensive framework developed by school leaders and character education researchers. During the past 20 years, more than 800 schools – after an independent and rigorous evaluation process – have been recognized by Character.org as National Schools of Character. More recently, school districts have also been certified for their success in fostering character development.

The vision for Character.org is to continue our work in schools but expand our work to families and youth sports. In fact, we believe employers everywhere should follow the adage: “hire for character, train for skill.” By meeting people in every avenue of life, we hope to inspire and empower ethical, engaged, and compassionate citizens worldwide.