Why does Character Lab exist?

Overwhelming scientific evidence now shows that character strengths are as important as IQ and socioeconomic status to achievement and well-being.

Although character strengths are malleable, surprisingly little is known about how they can be intentionally cultivated. This is why Character Lab exists—to research and create new ways to help all students develop character. 

Who founded Character Lab?

Character Lab is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 2013 by one scientist and two educators: Angela Duckworth, author of Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance and the Christopher H. Browne Distinguished Professor of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania; Dave Levin, co-founder of the KIPP public charter schools; and Dominic Randolph, Head of Riverdale Country School.

Under the leadership of our first Executive Director, Brittany Butler, a committed team of educators and designers made promising strides toward creating practical tools and measures for schools.

In 2016, Character Lab moved from New York City to the campus of the University of Pennsylvania. At the same time, Angela assumed the role of CEO, and Donald Kamentz, a two-decade education veteran who had most recently been with the YES Prep public charter school system in Houston, assumed the role of Executive Director.

Empowering teachers to help students

To help students develop character strengths, we create Playbooks

Playbooks include videos, lesson plans, and worksheets that help students learn character-building strategies and beliefs. In short, Playbooks bridge scientific research and daily classroom practice. 

Character Lab Playbooks are designed with high school and middle school teachers and students in mind, but they can equally benefit other audiences.

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What is character?

Intentions and actions that benefit both the individual and others

Strategic partnerships


Calling educators

Join a group of educators helping Character Lab shape Playbooks