The Challenge

The greatest advances in human progress — personal, social, and scientific — flow from our ability to freely and productively exchange different ideas and engage with each other. Civil liberties — including press freedom, religious liberty, and freedom of conscience, speech, and association — create the conditions for people to discover more about themselves and the world around them.

We work alongside partners who defend those rights for people with diverse beliefs, and test and scale the tools that build the capacity in individuals and communities to hold difference productively and to work together to learn, grow, and change the world for the better.

Focus Areas

  • Defending First Amendment rights of all Americans
  • Promoting a culture of openness in education
  • Courageous Collaborations
    Finding new tools to prevent fractures in communities and elevating stories that empower Americans to work together

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Impact Stories

01-27-2021 12:23pm

Social healing against the odds

Journalist Krista Tippett on better conversations, connecting civil society, and the real state of the nation

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05-19-2020 05:39pm

Free speech provides comfort during COVID-19 pandemic

Trying circumstances can also present opportunities for people to come together. When people feel as if they face a common challenge, differences and divisions begin to blur. That’s cause for optimism.

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02-10-2020 05:11pm

Warrior for the First Amendment

Ashley Messenger didn’t plan on being a First Amendment lawyer. “It was an accident,” says Messenger, who is a senior associate general counsel with National Public Radio in Washington. But 20 years into her career, she’s worked with some of the most high-profile organizations in media and has watched how the industry and its environment has evolved along with shifts in technology and society.

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04-01-2019 05:29pm

Protecting Protest: How Proposed Rules Would Chill Free Expression Around DC Landmarks

Given the timeless importance of protecting civil liberties, the Charles Koch Institute today joins the ACLU in voicing concern about a proposed National Park Service (NPS) rule that could hinder free speech and peaceful assembly around DC landmarks.

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09-24-2018 11:15am

This Banned Books Week, Be a Literary Rebel

While the banning of books may seem more suited for the plot of 'Fahrenheit 451,' the practice is still alive and well across classrooms in the United States. Banned Books Week seeks to bring awareness to censored books, promotes the protection of First Amendment freedoms, and highlights the value of storytelling.

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10-01-2017 07:40pm

How to Have a Civil Conversation

Jay Heinrichs, professor of rhetoric at Middlebury College, explains how everyone can have a civil conversation, even when they disagree with one another.

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Partner with us to protect civil liberties, bridge divides, and grow stronger through our differences.

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