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11 Principles

A guide and framework to cultivating a culture of character.

Based on decades of research, the 11 Principles is a guidepost to plan, implement, assess, and sustain your commitment to character development, whether in the family, school, sports team, or organization.

Since 1999, Character.org has helped schools connect the 11 Principles to their comprehensive character initiative. Click here to learn more about how the 11 Principles are used in schools. 

We are also excited to introduce the 11 Principles to parents and families, sports teams, and organizations.

What are the 11 Principles?

Looking for the 11 Principles specifically for schools? Click here.

A set of core values are identified and embedded into the culture of the family, school, sports team, or organization.

Character involves understanding, caring about and practicing your culture’s core values.

Your character development approach is proactive and comprehensive.

Caring attachments and relationships foster a sense of belonging and connection.

There are ample opportunities for everyone to live their core values, especially opportunities to serve others.


Your culture of character strives to develop everyone’s “best self,” including the four areas of character (moral, civic, performance and intellectual).


A culture of character emphasizes intrinsic motivation rather than recognition or material rewards.


Everyone shares the responsibility to model, practice and uphold the core values.


All stakeholders are encouraged to take a leadership role and suggest ways to embed and practice the core values.


Your character initiative engages a range of partners (family members, parents, community members, etc.).


Core values are reaffirmed or revised each year to ensure that your character initiative is always improving and growing.

11 Principles Overview Form

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Learn more

Find out how to connect the 11 Principles to your character initiative by completing this contact form.