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What's Next?

The great baseball player and sometimes philosopher Willie Stargell once said,  “Life is one big transition.” That is certainly how we feel here at Next Generation. 

Next Generation is in the process of transitioning many of our projects and programs to new homes. We are doing so because the board determined that this work will be strengthened in organizations solely dedicated to our two issue areas – advanced energy and climate, and sustained investment in children and families.  

These past four and a half years have been an amazing learning process. We have learned how to drive the issues we care about and have had an outsized impact for a small organization; we have learned both the power and perils of non-profit collaboration; and we have learned how a strong and motivated staff can take on major issues and in a short time effect positive change.

As Next Generation plans for its new phase as a non-profit incubator, I will write about these issues and others in this space. We are making great progress on a number of projects – the Next Generation Democracy Project, which focuses on civic engagement amongst the Millennial generation, Common Sense News, a news service that will be dedicated to deep coverage of kids issues, and a new body of work on the energy-water nexus, which we will be partnering on with AEE.

As part of our transition, we are also working closely with the organizations absorbing much of our work to make sure that they, and you, continue to stay engaged in a dialogue around advanced energy, climate, and kids and families issues. We want to make sure you have the opportunity to stay current on these issues and track what these remarkable organizations are doing.

Much of our advanced energy and climate work is continuing on through two organizations, NextGen Climate America and the Risky Business Project. Here is what’s happening there:

  • NextGen Climate America is a non-partisan organization that develops and works to advance policies to prevent climate disaster and promote prosperity for all Americans. Their new website,, will showcase their work, as well as the efforts of partner organizations that are fighting to bring the economic and health benefits of clean energy to the entire country.

NextGen Climate America and the Union of Concerned Scientists are co-sponsoring a new study, authored by ICF International, which will evaluate the technology and policy options which could allow California, Oregon and Washington to achieve the ambitious goal set out in Governor Brown's 2015 inaugural address: reduce California's petroleum consumption 50% by 2030. Look for its release in early August at

Our children and families work, including the Too Small to Fail initiative and our California policy work, will continue on at The Opportunity Institute, a new nonprofit co-founded by our own Ann O’Leary and Christopher Edley, Jr., former dean of the UC Berkeley Law School. Officially launching this fall, The Opportunity Institute will focus on policy, public education, and place-based projects to support a cradle-to-career opportunity agenda here in the Golden State and across the nation. Sign up to receive updates on the organization and its programs.

In addition, Next Generation chair Jim Steyer has ramped up his children’s advocacy work at Common Sense Media and launched Common Sense Kids Action, which is proving to be a powerful force for kids both here in California and nationwide. 

I hope you will check out these organizations and sign up to receive information from them. Your voice, your involvement and your passion for change are critically important if we are going to make progress in fighting climate change, and give our kids the best opportunities to succeed.  

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