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Matt James

Co-founder

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

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Just the facts, please

Distraction, spin, and information overload – these are just a few of the problems we face when we attempt to sort out the right information we need for our kids and our climate.

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100,000 Reasons To Celebrate

Our Too Small to Fail team passed a major milestone this week with the news that we've garnered over 100,000 likes on Facebook. To celebrate, we're running a giveaway on the Facebook page and soliciting fan photos on with a contest on Twitter and Instagram. And of course we're still providing high-quality, science-based information on early childhood development to parents and caregivers on toosma

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If You Don't Like the News, Change it.

Good news everyone! Well, kind of … Kate Gordon, Vice President and Director of Energy and Climate, actually reported on some pretty terrible news in this week’s California Energy and Climate News. In a recent Gallup poll only 24 percent of Americans worry more about climate change than say, the economy, unemployment, or crime. As Kate artfully points out, however ...

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Cutting through the noise

All of us struggle to make sense of the world. Sometimes it seems like the needle of insight is buried deep within the haystack of muddle and distraction — and who has time to figure it all out?

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Here's looking ahead for you, kids

What would California look like if it expanded its vision for a low-carbon economy to help low-income families reduce their huge gasoline and car maintenance expenses? What kind of state would we be if we paused to imagine a not-too-distant future in which more of our very young children have access to the kind of childcare that sets them up to thrive later in life?

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Man Bites Dog

"When a dog bites a man, that is not news … but if a man bites a dog that is news.” That saying has been attributed to multiple newspapermen – and for the most part is true. Two “Man Bites Dog” stories jumped out at me recently, one which has gotten lots of play, one that deserves to get more.

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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 Week for Heroes

One of the worst things about heroes is that someday, you have to say goodbye to them. Such was the case this week when I learned of the retirement of Congressman George Miller. Then I read E. J. Dionne’s fantastic Op-Ed, “The lost art of tough liberalism,” which uses Miller's career as something of a guidebook for the rest of us, and I got to thinking.