Keith Porter is the president and chief executive officer of the Stanley Foundation. Previously, he was its director of policy and outreach. Keith began his career as a broadcaster in 1982 in Effingham, Illinois, and later worked as a reporter and announcer in Normal and Bloomington, Illinois.
He was a finalist for the 1995, 1996, and 1997 Livingston Award for Young Journalists. During his tenure at the foundation, several organizations have recognized him for excellence in broadcast journalism, including the National Press Club, the Society of Professional Journalists, the National Headliner Awards, the New York Festivals, and the United Nations Correspondents Association. Keith holds a graduate degree from Illinois State University.
What do you do at the foundation and how long have you been here?
In 1988, at age 23, the foundation hired me to be the host and associate producer of its weekly public radio program, Common Ground. The show aired on hundreds of stations across the United States and Canada, and it was a fantastic learning experience for me as I traveled around the globe interviewing international affairs experts and world leaders. The program won several national journalism awards and spawned a companion series of radio documentaries on critical global issues. Over time, I took on more responsibilities at the foundation. When we ended the radio program in 2004, I was the foundation’s director of communication and outreach. In 2009, I became director of policy and outreach, and in 2013, I was named president and chief executive officer of the foundation.
What do you like most about your job?
Since 1956, the foundation has built a great reputation as an advocate for multilateral cooperation and as a convener that brings together the right people to make that cooperation a reality. The most important parts of my job are to build on that legacy, add focus, and amplify our voice. One key way we have done that in recent years is through extensive collaboration with other organizations. I really value the opportunity this job gives me to create and strengthen the relationships needed for the foundation to do its best work.
Where are you from?
I grew up in rural Illinois as a kid fascinated by television and radio and eager to learn about the rest of the world. I began working as a radio announcer and news reporter when I was 17.
What do you do when you’re not at work?
The foundation’s work generally operates at a very high level of policymakers and influencers in world capitals and at key international venues. So outside the foundation, I like to take a more hands-on approach to creating a more safe and peaceful world. I have been active in efforts to connect our small Iowa town to places like Kosovo and China through exchanges and service projects. I am also active in Rotary International, which promotes student exchanges, polio eradication, clean water projects, and more around the world. Beyond that, I do what I can to support the Chicago Cubs, Bears, and Blackhawks, as well as Liverpool FC.