Our Vision for The Center for the Next Generation
The Center for the Next Generation grew out of the desire of two remarkable brothers looking to make a difference in the world. After numerous discussions with me, we decided that a new organization was needed, one that would help advocate and provide a voice for the next generation.
We did not make this decision in haste. Having spent a good part of my professional career in the non-profit world, I have seen the powerful impact some non-profits can achieve—and I have seen a great many of them that plod along, stay in business, but never reach the potential the founding board and staff hope for.
I was fortunate enough to work for nearly twenty years at the Kaiser Family Foundation, a truly remarkable institution. What made Kaiser successful was the passion, vision, dedication and long-term perspective of the board, leadership and staff. What attracted me to this opportunity were those same qualities in Tom and Jim Steyer.
Tom Steyer’s passion is moving America more quickly toward an advanced energy economy, one that depends on safe, reliable energy. Jim Steyer’s passion is children and families, identifying and advocating for how the public and private sectors can do a better job securing their future. I share those passions.
So how can The Center make a difference? From my time in the non-profit arena, I have come to realize a few things: one, non-profit dollars are a scarce commodity and there is no need to duplicate the work of others when it is being done well; and, two, collaboration is often more of a concept than a reality in the non-profit sector. True collaborations are few and far between.
When we looked across our issue areas, we saw lots of organizations doing research and policy work at a very high-level, albeit with some gaps, but few focused on strategic communications. That highlighted a real need to us, a role in helping frame the issues so that public debates are focused on facts—what we know from the evidence, and what we know is possible—not just political rhetoric.
The Center will try to complete the picture for the public. We will mount public education campaigns and strategic communications initiatives to help shape public discussion around key issues. We will work closely with other non-profits, the business community and government as partners. We hope to be an organization that helps engage the public both in our home state of California and across the nation.
Our approach will be research driven and deliberately non-partisan. That does not mean we won’t have points of view—we will—but we firmly believe that the best solutions to our problems will come from outside the political structure.
One other ingredient, I believe, will make our work special.
In the years ahead, we will devote time and resources to engaging young people, the “Next Generation,” in our work. Whether the subject is advanced energy or the various issues that reflect the well-being of children and families—health, education, housing, work force development, and others—the decisions we make as a nation will have a profound impact on their lives.
We want to encourage their involvement and seek their input to give the next generation a real voice in shaping their future.
We’re very excited to embark on this adventure. We have lots of ideas and projects in mind. We hope you’ll stay tuned, be in touch and help us contribute to a better future for all Americans.