News Release

Brookings Launches Second Century Campaign and Jefferson Imperative

As Part of Historic and Record-Breaking $600 Million Campaign, Brookings Creates New Initiative Reimagining What a Think Tank is in the 21st Century

Washington, D.C. — The Brookings Institution announced today the launch of the Second Century Campaign, an historic effort to bolster its capacity to meet the great public policy challenges of our time. The Campaign seeks to raise a record-breaking $600 million ahead of Brookings’s centenary in 2016. As part of the Campaign, the Institution has also launched the Jefferson Imperative— a commitment to help engage citizens in the governance of their nations and their world.

Since Brookings was founded in 1916, generous philanthropists—individuals, corporations, and foundations—have provided the resources that enable Brookings to contribute to a stronger, more resilient, more prosperous society through public research. “Investing in Brookings is investing in excellence—the best people coming up with the best ideas in service of our nation and our world,” said John L. Thornton, chair of the board of the Brookings Institution.

“What Brookings’s scholars and staff do has never been more important to our country’s future— this is Brookings’s moment,” said Glenn Hutchins, Second Century Campaign chair and vice chair of the board of the Brookings Institution. “The issues facing our nation are of enormous consequence, our political culture is conspicuously divisive, and our governing process is often at loggerheads. That’s why the Second Century Campaign is so critical. Thanks to the generosity of so many, we’re nearly $400 million toward our goal. But given the scope of our challenges and the vital role Brookings plays, achieving our goal is ever more important.”

Much of Brookings’s impact on government has been achieved through an ongoing conversation between its scholars and policymakers—initially in Washington, more recently around the country and the world. These interactions with the governing officials will continue. But Brookings is, starting now, making a more systematic effort to engage those whom government serves. This effort has two dimensions: stepping up its contribution to citizens’ understanding of public affairs, and increasing its receptivity to their views so that Brookings can reflect their input in its research and recommendations.

“As Brookings approaches its centenary in 2016, our goals for our second century are as ambitious as our legacy,” said Strobe Talbott, president of the Brookings Institution. “The digital age has given Brookings, and other public policy research organizations, the means to play a constructive role in civic education and engagement. As citizens at home and around the world become more active and responsible in shaping public policy, we should see them not just as an audience on the receiving end of our output but as a constituency with whom we will engage and listen to.”

Brookings will play a more active—and, crucially, interactive—role in civic education and engagement, thereby adhering to what is called “The Jefferson Imperative.” 

About Brookings

The Brookings Institution is a nonprofit organization devoted to independent research and policy solutions. Its mission is to conduct high-quality, independent research and, based on that research, to provide innovative, practical recommendations for policymakers and the public.