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Sheila Burke and Matthew Johnson Appointed to the Board of Directors


SAN FRANCISCO, CA —The Center for the Next Generation today announced the appointments of Sheila Burke and Matthew Johnson to the The Center's Board of Directors.  Burke is a veteran of Capitol Hill who served 19 years in senior roles for the U.S. Senate leadership before transitioning to academia.  Johnson is an attorney who represents some of the country’s leading entertainment figures as managing partner of Ziffren Brittenham LLP.  He is also active working with inner-city youth in Los Angeles.

Burke and Johnson will join founding board members Tom Steyer, founder of Farallon Capital Management, his brother Jim Steyer, a well-known children’s advocate and CEO of Common Sense Media, Matt James, the The Center for the Next Generation president, and current board members Michael D. McCurry, partner at Public Strategies Washington, Inc. and, Geoffrey Cowan, President of The Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands, and University Professor & Annenberg Family Chair in Communication Leadership at the University of Southern California.

The Center for the Next Generation was officially launched on September 16, 2011 and has two primary areas of focus: Advanced Energy and Sustainability and Children and Families Issues.  The Center has two major projects currently in development:

  • A multi-year, nationwide, nonpartisan campaign to elevate the interests of America’s children on the national agenda;
  • Communications support and strategic development for a newly launched organization, Advanced Energy Economy (AEE).  AEE is developing regional innovation chapters across the country designed to move America towards an advanced energy economy.

“I am very excited to have Sheila and Matt join our Board of Directors,” said The Center's President Matt James.  “Sheila’s extensive knowledge of federal policy and programs and Matt’s unparalleled knowledge of the media and entertainment worlds are both invaluable to The Center for the Next Generation as we build our organization.”

“The Center for the Next Generation is a unique organization working to change public perception on two issues that are important to the next generation of Americans: advanced energy and the future of our kids and families,” said Sheila Burke.  “I am proud to join their Board and I look forward to working with this important new nonpartisan voice.”

“We are not preparing our young Americans for the economic and social challenges that they will face in the future,” said Matthew Johnson.  “I am excited to bring my knowledge and experience to the Board, so we can drive a new debate in this country about the issues that will affect young people and ultimately America’s competitive standing in the world.”


Sheila Burke is a Faculty Research Fellow at the Malcolm Weiner Center for Social Policy and an adjunct lecturer at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. She also serves as a Senior Public Policy Advisor at Baker Donelson in Washington DC. Sheila capped a distinguished public service career by serving as Chief of Staff to Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole from 1986 to 1996. Earlier, she was Secretary of the Senate, Deputy Chief of Staff to the Senate Majority Leader and Deputy Staff Director of the Senate Committee on Finance. Currently, she’s a member of the Institute of Medicine and National Academy of Social Insurance and is a fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration and the American Academy of Nursing.  She is a board member of numerous organizations, including the Bipartisan Policy Center, Wellpoint Health Networks and Chubb Insurance, and serves on the board of visitors of Georgetown University's School of Nursing and Health Studies.


Matthew Johnson is the managing partner of Ziffren Brittenham LLP, considered the country’s premier entertainment law firm. Mr. Johnson has an extensive film and television practice, representing some of the biggest A-list personalities today, as well as many renowned directors and writers for film and television.  He is a leader in structuring and negotiating ground-breaking transactions in the media and entertainment industries and has been instrumental in helping his clients develop important revenue sources, such as publishing, endorsements and merchandising opportunities. He is President of the Board of the Challenger’s Boys and Girls Club, a member of the board of the Los Angeles Urban League, the Foreign Policy Roundtable and the Next Generation Council of The Motion Picture and Television Fund.  He is also an at-large member of the Democratic National Committee.


The Center for the Next Generation is a nonpartisan strategic communications nonprofit organization that supports programs and policies that benefit the next generation of young Americans. Driven by high-quality research and data, the Center uses targeted communications to drive the development of an advanced energy economy and to build support for ensuring that America’s young people grow up healthy, are properly educated and well-prepared for the workforce. The Center believes that these are the keys to a stronger, more prosperous America.

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