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Matt James


President and Co-Founder, Next Generation

Matt James

As the co-founding President and CEO of Next Generation, Matt James oversees a team of professionals who promote solutions to two of the biggest challenges confronting the next generation of Americans: the risk of dangerous climate change, and the threat of diminished prospects for children and families. 

Prior to co-founding Next Generation, Matt was an integral part of the Kaiser Family Foundation’s leadership team for 20 years, serving most recently as executive vice president.  At Kaiser, Matt helped develop groundbreaking public education projects in partnership with national and international media companies, including the highly regarded nonprofit health news service, Kaiser Health News.

Prior to joining Kaiser, he worked in national politics as a senior aide to Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan of New York, Senator Dale Bumpers of Arkansas, and Representative Morris K. Udall of Arizona.

Matt was appointed by President Clinton to the board of the Morris K. Udall Foundation, is past-chairman of the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health and serves on the President’s Advisory Board of the National Wildlife Federation and on the board of the CDC Foundation.

Posts by Matt James

What's Next?

Parents Are Our First Teachers

Children who don't hear enough words from birth through their toddler years are unprepared to begin school, and don’t have the vocabulary or cognitive skills that will help them succeed in life. That's why our Too Small to Fail initiative has partnered with Univision to give Hispanic parents and caregivers the information they need to help close the word gap.

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"Whistling past the graveyard"

We all know that one weather event can't be tied to climate change. But there is no doubt that we are in the grip of major climate change and likely seeing the “new normal” that we will face in California – increased heat, less precipitation, more wildfires, poor air quality, rising coastal waters – all of which will have a dramatic impact on major sectors of the state's economy.

The fruits of our labor

There are moments, in building anything, when it can be difficult to see the final product. They are common moments in any large undertaking, and surely there have been a few at Next Generation over the past months as we've laid the foundations for our most ambitious projects. This week, however, is not one of those times.

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A Tribute to "Chick" O'Leary

For me, 2014 began with a loss. On the 5th of January, Charles “Chick” O’Leary, the longtime head of Maine’s AFL-CIO and father of Next Generation’s Ann O’Leary, passed away. He was a champion of the working men and women of Maine, and an inspiration to all of us at Next Generation.

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A great new year for Next Generation

At Next Generation, we know that the challenges we face are daunting. America’s lack of investment in our most vulnerable children and our inability to take on climate change threaten the economy and stability of the world we will leave to future generations. But we’re also optimistic that, through smart projects, good partners, and great staff, we can make a difference.

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California: First for families, first for clean air

In California, we like to go first. Over 60 years ago, we became the first state in the nation to adopt aggressive air pollution regulations, which made us a global leader in protecting human health. You know what else California did first? Adopt some very forward-thinking, pro-family rules regarding paid family leave.

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Helping our kids by doing the math

America's kids are falling behind. We're hopeful that through efforts like Too Small to Fail, we'll be able to close the gap – but we're not sanguine about what it will take. When you add up the numbers, it's clear that we'll all need to be a part of the solution.

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On Talent – and How to Nurture It

We're celebrating some amazing talent at Next Generation – specifically, our very own Kate Gordon who has been selected by Campaigns & Elections Magazine as one of the 50 most influential policy advocates in the US.

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The Hollywood cure – can it work on Congress?

This week our Too Small to Fail team, along with Hillary and Chelsea Clinton and the non-profit Service Nation, met with Hollywood leaders to identify ways that popular TV shows can help improve outcomes for small children. Perhaps someone could write a clever TV show about Washington, DC, that might inspire our leaders to, you know, lead? Oh, wait …