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A Milestone for the Next Generation

It was just about three years ago that Tom Steyer, Jim Steyer and I first discussed creating a new organization that focused on the challenges and opportunities facing America’s kids today. It’s been an exciting and often challenging ride; with the launch today of our new name, new logo, and new website, my inaugural blogpost on “What’s Next” marks a significant milestone (side note: those of you who know me well will get the subtle reference to The Who).

Indeed, the past few months have been abuzz with activity from across the organization. On the Children and Families side, under the leadership of the amazing Ann O’Leary, we’ve launched Too Small to Fail; released a widely-read report on the shameful levels of childhood poverty in California; laid the groundwork to launch a new blog on California’s efforts to implement the Affordable Care Act; and been featured in numerous newspapers, TV programs, radio broadcasts, blogs, Tweets, Facebook likes – if it’s media new, old or middle-aged and it relates to America’s kids, we’ve been in the mix.

Our Energy and Climate team has been tackling an equally ambitious agenda. Vice President and program Director Kate Gordon has been dogged in tracking progress with California’s Proposition 39, which will provide much-needed revenue for energy upgrades in our state’s ailing schools. But Kate’s work goes much deeper than that; she’s also monitoring implementation of California’s landmark climate change law (AB32), while simultaneously pulling together an A-team to conduct a national study of the economic threats posed by runaway climate change.

For a young organization with a small staff, this is an impressive body of work. I’m proud of our team here at Next Generation, and am confident that we’ll continue to accomplish great things. With that in mind, I want to introduce the newest member of our team – and the guy who’s responsible for all the changes we’re now rolling out online and through our media outreach.

Matthew Lewis, our Vice President and Director of Communications, has been with Next Generation for less than 90 days. But he’s already completed re-branding the organization and built this snazzy new website; he helped us launch the Too Small campaign while devising a plan to greatly enhance our capacity to use social media; and, thanks to his extensive background in energy and climate change, he’s added a lot of depth to that side of the house (and given Kate someone to be energy-wonky with). Matt spent the previous five years as Director of Communications for the ClimateWorks Foundation, and 15 years before that as a communications consultant and journalist focused on energy technology, policy, and related environmental issues - so he’s got a lot of grounding in that field; he’s a great addition to the team.

In the coming months, we’ll be focused on beefing up our content and broadening our reach – our goal is to push the national conversation about our kids in a direction that leads to real solutions. As we’ve been discussing it in the office, we may have a California focus, but our footprint is national. I’m excited to see where this path takes us and hope you’ll come along for the ride.

So, explore our new website and find what interests you. If you want to stay abreast of a particular field, sign up for one of our newsletters, or follow us on Twitter and Facebook. And let us know what’s working and what’s not – we want to hear from you.

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