About Us

The Heroic Imagination Project (HIP) develops and implements research, education, corporate and public initiatives to inspire and encourage everyday heroism.


To encourage and empower individuals to take heroic action during crucial moments in their lives. We prepare them to act with integrity, compassion, and moral courage, heightened by an understanding of the power of situational forces.

A fundamental HIP goal is that heroic acts and the people who engage in them should be celebrated to a greater extent than they are now. We believe heroism is not an abstract concept, but a continual personal choice. Heroism can be learned, can be taught, can be modeled, and can be a quality of being to which we all should aspire.

Downloadable Information

Impact Report (pdf)

Current Brochure (pdf)

What is Heroism?

HIP defines heroism as intentional action in service to others in need or to humanity by defending a moral cause, without personal gain and with awareness of likely personal costs. Heroism is the creation of a “bright line” of morality on an issue that is defended, upheld and promoted despite pressures to do otherwise.

Heroism may involve an impulsive action, saving a life, or may be reflective, planning a course of action to oppose injustice & immorality. Heroes act against injustice and cruelty and stand up for principled values that make our society a better place for all citizens.

Heroes come in many forms, young and old, male and female, who are mostly ordinary, everyday people whose acts of heroism qualify as extraordinary. Anyone can be a hero anytime an opportunity arises to stand up for what is right and just and to speak out against injustice, corruption and other evils. Focusing on We rather than Me, they form essential links among us; they forge our Human Connection.

Board of Directors

Philip Zimbardo (President)
President Emeritus, Stanford University

Zeno Franco (Chairperson)
Assistant Professor, Medical College of Wisconsin

Scott Allison
Professor of Psychology, University of Richmond

Matt Langdon
Founder of The Hero Round Table

Bill Roller
Co-founder of The Berkeley Group and Family Institute

Adi Seal
Founder & CEO of Nitkan

HIP Board and Staff pose for photo at March 2017 Board Meeting in San Francisco

Staff & Volunteers

Melissa Shaffer (email)
Administrative Assistant

Taylor Langley (email)
Executive Assistant

Brian Detweiler-Bedell (email)
Director of Advancement