Charles Benton has served as chair of the Benton Foundation since 1981. Its mission is to articulate a public interest vision for the digital age and to demonstrate the value of communications in solving social problems. Throughout his career, he has been an active board member and adviser for organizations in the arts, education, and communications. He is currently vice-chair of the Partnership for a Connected Illinois, lifetime trustee of the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, and member of the Media Impact Funders Board.
Benton has also had a long career in media education and entertainment as president or chair of Encyclopedia Britannica Education Corporation; Films Incorporated; Public Media, Inc.; Lionheart Television International; and Home Vision Entertainment. In 1978, President Carter appointed him chair of the National Commission on Libraries and Information Science and chair of the first White House Conference on Library and Information Services, which was held in November 1979. In 1997, President Clinton appointed him a member of the Presidential Advisory Committee on the Public Interest Obligations of Digital Television Broadcasters. In 2012, President Obama appointed him to the National Museum and Library Services Board.
Benton holds a BA from Yale University and has done graduate work at the National College of Education and at Northwestern University.