About the Institute

The Roosevelt Institute is a nonprofit organization devoted to carrying forward the legacy and values of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt by developing progressive ideas and bold leadership in the service of restoring America’s promise of opportunity for all.

A New Deal for the 21st Century 

Building on Greatness | Our Model for Change | Making the Roosevelt Legacy Real

A New Deal for the 21st Century

We are living in perilous times: the Great Recession and continued economic stagnation; radical inequality that is destroying the middle class; and a political system so broken that the vast majority of Americans have lost basic trust in government. These problems are on the scale of those faced by Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt. To combat today’s ills, we need the vision and courage of leaders who, like the Roosevelts, are able to see a better future and bring together the ideas and people necessary to fight for a common good.

Building on the Greatness of the Past to Forge a Strong Progressive Future

The Roosevelt Institute is crafting a New Deal for the 21st century. Three pillars underpin this mission: developing and promoting compelling new ideas and bold long-term visions, developing the next generation of progressive leaders, and grounding today’s policy solutions in an accurate historical understanding of the Roosevelt legacy. Our goals are to promote economic growth now and in the future; push for more equitable distribution of wealth; and foster a political system that celebrates both the role of government and the role of citizens.
Our program units work together to make this happen. The Four Freedoms Center think tank, launched in 2009, incubates and promotes rigorous, progressive policy ideas and value narratives, and deploys the people who are their strongest proponents into the public debate. The Campus Network and Pipeline are developing the next generation of progressive leaders by engaging a whole generation, with 12,000 students on more than 100 college campuses nationwide, and 14 chapters of young professionals in cities from Detroit to New Orleans, constructing and implementing progressive policy change. And the FDR Library promotes a range of programs that attract new audiences to the ideals and values of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt.
This combination of ideas, people, and legacy – focused on the most important problems of our day – distinguishes the Roosevelt Institute.
Our Model for Change
Making real change isn’t easy. The fundamental change we seek – the building of a new social contract for the 21st century – will take years. But we have shown that we know how to have impact, by:
  • Tackling the biggest problems: we must take tomorrow’s challenges head-on, even if the solutions feel far away
  • Putting all minds to work: we need to engage everyone, from students to Nobel laureates
  • Partnering for change: we work with partners, from the grasstops to the grassroots
  • Pushing ideas up and out: we translate our ideas so they will have real impact  

Making the Roosevelt Legacy Real

We work in the spirit of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt. They faced the most devastating economic depression ever known, a total war that spanned the globe, and the beginning of a truly new world order. So instead of leaning back on old ideas and outdated paradigms, they looked forward, pushed forward, and ultimately ushered in a new era in American politics.

Today, we at the Roosevelt Institute see economic upheaval and political volatility. We know that our current system is unstable. We have big goals for fixing that. We will make generational change by engaging whole generations. We aim to change not only policy, but also what lies underneath: beliefs and culture.

Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt changed the world. Today, together, so can we.


Click below to view "A Legacy for the Future," a video describing the Roosevelt Institute's mission.