Carl Gershman, the founding president of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), retired in July 2021 after 37 years at the helm. His contributions to the cause of democracy around the world have been extraordinary. Among them is the pivotal role he played in the launching of the Journal of Democracy. His longtime colleague Marc Plattner, the Journal’s founding coeditor, reflects on Carl’s accomplishments and the qualities that enabled him to be so successful in leading NED for almost four decades.