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New Nonprofit Focused on Advanced Energy and Sustainability, Children and Families is Launched

Initial projects include national campaign on public and private investment in kids, as well as strategic communications support for advanced energy economy.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA The Center for the Next Generation,  a nonprofit aimed at building support for advanced energy and sustainability and America’s children and families, was launched today as a new voice to help frame the critical issues that affect the next generation.

By combining the best available data and research with strategic communications, The Center’s focus will be on moving America more quickly to an advanced energy economy and increasing support by government, business, the nonprofit sector, and families in our young people.  Encouraging the next generation of young Americans to become more active in the debates and discussions that affect their future will also be a central focus.

The Center for the Next Generation is a project of Tom Steyer, founder of Farallon Capital Management; his brother Jim Steyer, a well-known children’s advocate and CEO of Common Sense Media; and Matt James, the former executive vice president of the Kaiser Family Foundation. The Steyer’s will serve as The Center's board co-chairs and James will serve as a board member and President and CEO.

“The Center for the Next Gernation plans to engage young people, policymakers and the public on the critical issues that will decide the course of the next generation,” said James.  “By strongly supporting America’s advanced energy economy and investing in our most valuable national asset, our children, we will ensure that America continues to thrive and prosper.  Tom and Jim Steyer have a proven commitment to positive change and I look forward to working with them to build a powerful new voice for young people.”

One of The Center’s first major initiatives is providing communications support for new regional advanced energy innovation clusters being developed across the United States.  With the energy sector accounting for 25 percent of the global economy and a growing need for advanced forms of energy, the advanced energy economy offers great promise for the next generation.  Advanced energy sources provide consumers, communities and companies with safe, healthy, reliable and sustainable sources of energy.  In recent years, the U.S. has fallen behind China and Germany in private investment in advanced energy.

“Before other countries beat us to the punch, it is imperative for America to build a robust advanced energy economy to create jobs, a healthier environment and a new economic future for our young people,” said Tom Steyer.  “If we want to remain competitive, grow our economy, and provide a stable future for the next generation of Americans, then it’s our responsibility to support and invest in advanced energy – an industry with the potential for transformational change.”

The Center for the Next Generation also plans to launch a multi-year, nationwide nonpartisan campaign to elevate the interests of America’s children on the national agenda. Now in development, the campaign will launch later this year with a national advertising campaign, town-hall meetings, social media campaigns, research and other public events aimed at building support for proven investment in programs and policies that benefit kids.

America’s children and families are living under great pressure.  The number of low-income children in the U.S. has climbed from 27 million in 2001 to 31 million in 2009 and school districts across the country have suffered major cutbacks in funding.  The U.S. Census Bureau reported this week that 16.4 million children in the U.S. now live in poverty.

“America’s kids are the most underrepresented group in our society,” said Jim Steyer.  “This is fiscally reckless and morally tragic.  Today we find ourselves with increasing numbers of young people living in poverty, receiving sub-standard educations and facing a future where they are ill-prepared to compete in a global economy.  It is past time for our nation to come together and provide our kids with the support and investment all past generations have received.”

In addition to the Advanced Energy and Sustainability program and the Children and Families program, The Center will also have a California Special Projects program aimed at opportunities in the organization’s home state.

The TomKat Foundation, the foundation of Tom Steyer and his wife Kat Taylor, is providing $15 million in seed funding for The Center for the Next Generation.  Other major funding from individuals and foundations is being secured and will be announced soon.

The Center for the Next Generation currently has two appointed members on its Board of Directors: Michael D. McCurry, partner at Public Strategies Washington, Inc. and a veteran political and communications strategist with nearly 35 years of experience and, Geoffrey Cowan, president of the Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands and former dean of the USC Annenberg School.  More board members will be announced in the coming months.

For more information about The Center for the Next Generation, visit www.tcng.org.

About the Founders

James P. Steyer—Jim Steyer has been a national leader in children’s policy and media for more than 20 years and has developed some of the most innovative and effective nonprofits of our time, including the East Palo Alto Community Law Project, Children Now, JP Kids, and Common Sense Media, which helps guide families through the mass of media their children consume.  As a Stanford University professor, Jim teaches courses on civil rights, civil liberties, and children’s issues.  He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Stanford and received his JD from Stanford Law School.  He is a frequent contributor to the national discussion on children’s issues and is the author of The Other Parent: The Inside Story of the Media’s Effect on Our Children.

Thomas F. Steyer—Tom Steyer is the founder and co-managing partner of Farallon Capital Management, L.L.C., one of the country’s most successful investment firms.  He and his wife, Kat Taylor, have joined Warren Buffett, Bill and Melinda Gates, Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York and other high-wealth Americans in the “Giving Pledge,” a promise to donate the majority of their wealth to charitable and nonprofit activities during their lifetimes.  Tom and Kat are the founders of OneCaliforniaBank, an Oakland, California community development bank now called One PacificCoast Bank.  Tom recently teamed with George Schultz, former Secretary of Treasury and Secretary of State, to defeat California’s Proposition 23, which would have rolled back new state environmental laws.  Tom graduated Summa Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Yale and received his MBA from Stanford’s Graduate School of Business.

Matt James—Matt James is The Center for the Next Generation’s President and CEO.  He 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 ground-breaking 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.

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