Harvard Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation

Harvard's Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation advances excellence and innovation in governance and public policy through research, education, and public discussion.

Mission and Purpose

The Roy and Lila Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation's mission is to train the best leaders, develop powerful new ideas, and disseminate innovative solutions and institutional reforms in order to meet the profound challenges facing the world’s citizens.[1]

Origins and Development

The Ash Center was founded by Susan Berresford, former president of the Ford Foundation, and Roy and Lila Ash in 2003. Known as the Ash Institute, the Center's origins date back to a 1985 grant from the Ford Foundation to the Harvard Kennedy School that established the Innovations in American Government Awards. In 2001, another $50 million endowment gift from the Ford Foundation to Harvard Kennedy School provided a basis of support for activities focused on innovating and identifying the best practices in governance. Finally, a gift from Roy and Lila Ash allowed Harvard Kennedy School to transform the Innovations in Government Program into the Ash Institute, now known as the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation.[2] 

Organizational Structure, Membership, and Funding

The Ford Foundation is a founding donor of the Center.[3]

Specializations, Methods and Tools

Major Projects and Events

Analysis and Lessons Learned


See Also

The Ford Foundation 


[1] "About," accessed May 9, 2019, 

[2] "History," accessed May 9, 2019, 

[3] "About,"

External Links

Official Site: