Next Generation Democracy Project Launch
September 9-10, 2015
San Francisco, California

The non-partisan Next Generation Democracy Project has been formed with the goal of increasing civic engagement of Next Generation Americans, and motivating them to make sustained progress on the economic, environmental, security, and social challenges that will define their time.

The Project will convene national leaders in politics, academia, entertainment, technology, business, and philanthropy who are expert at developing creative and novel ideas for civic engagement. The task force will frame a nuanced definition of "next generation democracy" — an age cohort with unique values, diversity and social norms; a class of technologies and media with civic import; civic activities that include volunteerism, advocacy, voting and more; and a collection of issues that are particularly salient and motivating to young Americans.

The Next Generation Democracy Project is a joint effort of Next Generation and SS+K. Read more about the project

 

Program

Wednesday, September 9

The James Irvine Foundation
1 Bush Street
San Francisco, California

6:00pm-8:00pm
Opening Reception

Thursday, September 10

Public Policy Institute of California, Bechtel Conference Center
500 Washington Street, Ground Level
San Francisco, California

8:00am-8:30am
Breakfast
8:30am-8:45am
Welcome
Matt James, Next Generation and Rob Shepardson, SS+K
8:45am-10:30am
Understanding Next Generation Americans

Leading survey research experts will begin our conversation with an overview of the opinions, attitudes and behaviors of young Americans. Celinda Lake, President of Lake Research Partners, will discuss recent research and findings that explore Millennials' motivations and electoral patterns, as well as their views on particular policies and political issues. Paul Taylor, author of The Next America, will brief on the attitudes, behaviors and characteristics of Millennials, including their levels of engagement with and trust of core institutions such as political parties, religion and marriage; and their opinions on issues including race, privacy and growing wealth gaps within and between generations. Danny Franklin of Benenson Strategy Group will share new data that tests assumptions about who and what Millennials trust and shed light on what it means for those seeking to create a lasting level of civic engagement in the future.

Full group discussion, facilitated by Danny Franklin

Paul Taylor Presentation (14.4MB PDF)

Celinda Lake Presentation (3.9MB PDF)

Danny Franklin Presentation (245K PDF)

10:30am-10:45am
Break
10:45am-12:30pm
Connecting with Next Generation Americans

Drawing on analysis of more than 100 entertainment properties in 2014-2015 — including narrative films, documentaries, TV shows and online videos — Chad Boettcher will discuss Participant Media's examination of entertainment's role in promoting civic engagement in the United States, particularly moving young people to take action on important issues and get involved in the political process. Russell Stevens of MIT's Lab for Social Machines will discuss a unique effort to digitally quantify and track narrative alignment among candidates, media and the public during the 2016 presidential election, analyzing a broad range of content data from social media; Google search strings; campaign speeches, interview transcripts and emails; and news media articles and segments. Heidi Hackemer, founder of the branding firm Wolf & Wilhelmine, will discuss her qualitative research comparing "Generation Z" with the Millennial generation that came before it.

Full group discussion, facilitated by Rob Shepardson

Russell Stevens Presentation (7.7MB PDF)

Heidi Hackemer Presentation (9.5MB PDF)

Ronnie Cho MTV Video

12:30pm-1:15pm
Lunch
Formulating the Next Generation Democracy Project

Our goal in the afternoon is to identify the most important strategies, hypotheses or approaches that require the group's further exploration. These might include possible new programs, new ways of looking at issues or themes, new potential partnerships, or, we hope, new ideas all together.

We'll divide the afternoon into three parts: A set of side conversations on particular themes; a chance for those small groups to report their recommendations back to the larger group; and finally, a discussion of implications and concrete next steps for the project.

Facilitators: Matt James and Rob Shepardson

1:15pm-2:15pm
Side Conversations

Theme 1: New Research
What, if anything, is missing from the existing research? Should the Next Generation Democracy Project commission new research on attitudes and behaviors of a younger demographic — for example, first-time-eligible voters in 2016?

Theme 2: Reaching Next Generation Americans
Can we increase the civic engagement of Next Generation Americans by using or adapting the latest digital tools? With whom might we partner in such an effort?

Theme 3: Motivating Next Generation Americans
What connects young Americans' values, civic behavior and political views? How might we spark action among Next Generation Americans in light of recent cultural and social action (i.e., marriage equality, transgender awareness, #BlackLivesMatter, the removal of the confederate flag) and new ways of engaging people on issues (e.g., John Oliver and Jon Stewart)?

2:15pm-2:30pm
Break
2:30pm-3:30pm
Reconvene to collect results of the side conversations
3:30pm-4:00pm
Discussion of next steps and adjournment

Hotel Information

Le Méridien San Francisco
333 Battery Street
San Francisco, California

 

Event Attendees

Mark Baldassare

President and CEO, Public Policy Institute of California

Mark Baldassare is president and CEO of the Public Policy Institute of California, where he holds the Arjay and Frances Fearing Miller Chair in Public Policy. He is a leading expert on public opinion and survey methodology, and has directed the PPIC Statewide Survey since 1998. He is an authority on elections, voter behavior, and political and fiscal reform, authoring ten books and numerous reports on these topics. He often provides testimony before legislative committees and state commissions, and regularly hosts PPIC's Speaker Series, a public forum featuring in-depth interviews with state and national leaders. Previously, he served as PPIC's director of research. Before joining PPIC, he was a professor of urban and regional planning at the University of California, Irvine, where he held the Johnson Chair in Civic Governance. He has conducted surveys for the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the California Business Roundtable. He holds a PhD in sociology from the University of California, Berkeley.

Chad Boettcher

Executive Vice President, Social Action & Advocacy, Participant Media

Chad Boettcher is executive vice president of advocacy and social impact at Participant Media, the global entertainment company devoted to feature film, television, publishing and digital content that inspires social change. Boettcher is responsible for leading the creation, development and execution of strategies that leverage Participant's content and investments across film, television and digital for social impact. Additionally, Boettcher oversees Participant's efforts to begin measuring the individual impact of entertainment. He led an interdisciplinary team of specialists who helped launch The Participant Index (TPI), a unique tool that measures an audience's shift in knowledge, attitude and behavior from a story. Prior to joining Participant in November 2011, Boettcher taught marketing innovation at NYU and was senior vice president of social innovation at Weber Shandwick. Previously, he served as Nike's global director of corporate responsibility and as MTV's senior director of strategic partnerships and public affairs. He worked for the presidential campaigns of both Al Gore (2000) and Barack Obama (2008).

Kelly Born

Program Officer, Special Projects, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

Kelly Born is a program officer for both Special Projects and democracy-related grantmaking at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. In her role with the Foundation's Madison Initiative, Born's work focuses on an array of issues related to reducing today's politically polarized environment. Born oversees the Madison Initiative's grantmaking in the area of civic engagement. Before joining the Hewlett Foundation, Kelly worked as a strategy consultant with the Monitor Institute, a nonprofit consulting firm, where she supported a range of foundations' strategic planning efforts. Prior to that, she had extensive experience consulting with both the government and private sectors. Born earned her B.A. in business with a minor in economics from Pepperdine University, where she graduated Valedictorian. She received her M.A. in International Policy Studies from Stanford University.

Ronnie Cho

Vice President of Public Affairs, MTV

Ronnie Cho is Vice President of Public Affairs for MTV. In this role, he oversees the strategic direction of all pro-social campaigns across MTV, MTV2 and mtvU's television, digital and social properties. Prior to joining MTV, Mr. Cho was Associate Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement where he served as President Obama's chief liaison to young Americans. Prior to joining the White House, he was an editor at the Newsweek Daily Beast Company in New York City where he wrote and edited content related to social justice, innovation and social entrepreneurship. Mr. Cho has worked on several political and issue campaigns including Secretary John Kerry's 2004 presidential campaign, former Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano's 2006 gubernatorial race and on the Obama for America campaign beginning in Iowa in 2007. He is a graduate of Arizona State University.

Ben Coffey Clark

Partner, Head of New Business & Client Services, Bully Pulpit Interactive

Ben Coffey Clark is partner at Bully Pulpit Interactive. Over the past decade, Ben has worked as a political operative, consultant and journalist. Ben is a veteran of several political campaigns having served as a Get Out The Vote coordinator for southeastern Ohio for President Obama's 2008 campaign and working for Howard Dean in the 2004 primary. Prior to Bully Pulpit Interactive, he worked in Fleishman-Hillard's Washington, D.C., office where he was Co-Chair of the Global Public Affairs Group and ran award-winning issue advocacy campaigns. Ben also pioneered a digital public affairs practice for The Harbour Group. A former political reporter in Rhode Island, Ben was the first editorial director for the Washingtonian magazine's website.

Amy Dominguez-Arms

Vice President for Programs, The James Irvine Foundation

Amy Dominguez-Arms was appointed vice president for programs at the James Irvine Foundation in January 2015. She served as program director from 2004-2014 for the Foundation's California Democracy program. As vice president, Amy provides oversight for all of the Foundation's grantmaking programs. Prior to joining Irvine, Amy served as acting president and vice president of Children Now, an independent, nonpartisan organization that uses research and action to improve children's lives. At Children Now, she led policy and communications activities to increase children's access to quality child care, after-school care, health care, and positive media. Prior to joining Children Now, Amy worked in Sacramento as a legislative assistant to the Speaker Pro Tempore and as an executive fellow with the California Health and Welfare Agency. A graduate of Stanford University with Bachelor of Arts degrees in international relations and Spanish, she also holds a Master of Arts in public administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Danny Franklin

Partner, Benenson Strategy Group

Danny Franklin is a partner at Benenson Strategy Group with more than two decades of strategic communications experience. With practice specialties in corporate competitive challenges, media, entertainment and sports, education, healthcare and economic issues, he works with clients in the corporate, political and advocacy sectors, developing research-driven strategies. Danny has managed the firm's work for President Barack Obama and developed the messaging research strategy for the 2008 and 2012 campaigns. He was the lead pollster for NJ Senator Cory Booker and has led BSG's work on dozens of Senate, Congressional and independent expenditure campaigns across the country. Formerly an award-winning journalist, Danny has contributed to Time magazine, USA Today, Slate, Mother Jones and The American Prospect. He was also previously an editor at the Washington Monthly.

Heidi Hackemer

Founder, Wolf & Wilhelmine

Heidi Hackemer has worked both in the US and Europe with brands and companies such as Google Chrome, Chromebook and Google Glass, Independent Lens, Axe, LEGO, Sony, P&G, Mondelez, Diageo, Diet Coke, National Geographic, Derek Lam, Ministry of Sound and the BBC. She was named one of ten Women to Watch in Advertising in 2013. Before starting Wolf & Wilhelmine, Heidi served as the Director of Brand for Google's Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) group, overseeing the master brand as well as the launch of Project Ara, Project Tango and Spotlight Stories. Previously, she worked for agencies such as BBH, Anomaly, Droga5, Fallon, co:collective, FCB and Sylvain Labs.

Evan Hansen

Editor, Head of Content Labs, Medium

Evan Hansen is head of Content Labs at Medium where he develops content strategy. Prior to joining Medium, Mr. Hansen was an award-winning journalist for over twenty years. He was editor in chief of Wired.com and before that department editor for CNET News. He holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Toronto and a master's degree from Queen's University.

Justine Hebron

Manager, Strategic Partnership & Projects, Next Generation

Justine Hebron is Manager for Strategic Partnerships & Projects at Next Generation. She played an integral role in the launch and management of two initiatives, the Risky Business Project, which quantified the economic risk of climate change in the U.S., and Too Small To Fail, a national campaign to promote early vocabulary development and close the word gap. Justine started her career in the motion picture industry working as a production coordinator on feature films including "The Patriot" and "Mystery Men" with studios such as Columbia, Sony Pictures, and Universal. After over a decade in film production, she turned toward her passion and concern for civic engagement and the greater social good, and became a public high school teacher. That ignited a path of service in search of real solutions, which led to a role as the regional outreach manager for a grassroots campaign to create the first United States Public Service Academy, and ultimately to Next Generation.

Matt James

President, Next Generation

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.

Donna James

Strategic Partnerships Coordinator, Young Minds Advocacy Project

Donna James is strategic partnerships coordinator for Young Minds Advocacy Project. She has twenty years of experience in the areas of physical and mental health promotion. Donna has consulted with school districts in San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties in Northern California, working extensively with at-risk children and families to help children participate as fully as possible in school programs. Previously, she was Director of Ancillary Mental Health Services at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C. Ms. James has received a California state award for volunteerism, having spearheaded efforts to promote interest and education in science, raising awareness for a successful school bond measure, and organizing fund raising efforts for a Menlo Park education foundation. She holds a degree in occupational therapy from Western Michigan University.

Isabelle James

Political Associate, Americans for Responsible Solutions

Isabelle James is the Political Associate at Americans for Responsible Solutions, the gun violence prevention organization founded by Congresswoman Gabby Giffords and her husband, Captain Mark Kelly, in the wake of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary. Isabelle focuses on the organization's political strategy, messaging, and media, working to pass ballot initiatives, defeat unfair recall elections, and help elect gun violence prevention champions. Prior to joining ARS, Isabelle was at GMMB Inc. on the Obama for America media team. Originally from the Bay Area, Isabelle graduated from Georgetown University and lives in Washington, DC.

Celinda Lake

President, Lake Research Partners

Celinda Lake is president of Lake Research Partners, one of the most respected Democratic polling firms in the country. Ms. Lake is one of the Democratic Party's leading political strategists, serving as tactician and senior advisor to the national party committees, dozens of Democratic incumbents, and challengers at all levels of the electoral process. Prior to forming Lake Research Partners, Celinda was partner and vice president at Greenberg-Lake. Her earlier experience includes serving as Political Director of the Women's Campaign Fund, as the Research Director at the Institute for Social Research in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and as a Policy Analyst for the Subcommittee on Select Education. Ms. Lake holds a master's degree in political science and survey research from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, and a certificate in political science from the University of Geneva, in Switzerland. Celinda received her undergraduate degree from Smith College.

Connie Malloy

Program Director, California Democracy, The James Irvine Foundation

Connie Galambos Malloy is program director for the California Democracy at the James Irvine Foundation where she leads the Foundation's grantmaking in the areas of governance reforms, elections policies and practices, voter and civic engagement, and immigrant integration. Before joining Irvine, Connie served as senior director of programs for Urban Habitat in Oakland, California and led the Regional Sustainability Initiative at Redefining Progress. She earned her master's degree in city and regional planning from the University of California, Berkeley, and a bachelor's degree in communications and Spanish from La Sierra University.

Chris Marvin

Principal, Marvin Strategies

Chris Marvin is founder and former executive director of Got Your 6, a national campaign to improve public perceptions of veterans. His work at Got Your 6 was recognized with awards from the National Conference on Citizenship, Points of Light, and Goodwill Industries. Chris also serves as a commissioner for the Bipartisan Policy Center?s Commission on Political Reform, as a Truman National Security Fellow, and as a Presidio Institute Cross Sector Leadership Fellow. Chris served for more than seven years as a US Army officer and Blackhawk helicopter pilot. His military awards include the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. After being severely wounded in combat in Afghanistan, Chris volunteered as an advocate for other wounded veterans, most prominently as the Director of the Fellowship Program for The Mission Continues. He holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Notre Dame and an MBA from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.

Mike McCurry

Partner, Public Strategies Washington

Mike McCurry is partner at Public Strategies Washington where he provides counsel on communications strategies and management to corporate and non-profit clients. McCurry is a veteran political strategist and spokesperson with over three decades of experience in Washington D.C. McCurry served in the White House as press secretary to President Bill Clinton (1995-1998). He also served as spokesman for the Department of State (1993-1995) and director of communications for the Democratic National Committee (1988-1990). McCurry held a variety of leadership roles in national campaigns for the Democratic ticket from 1984 to 2004. He is co-chairman of the Commission on Presidential Debates, which organizes the quadrennial debates in the general election between the major candidates for President and Vice President. McCurry received his Bachelor of Arts from Princeton University in 1976 and a Master of Arts from Georgetown University in 1985. Additionally, he earned a master's degree in Theology in 2013 from Wesley Theological Seminary, where he is now a distinguished professor of Public Theology and organizing The Center on Public Theology.

Katie McGrath

Chief Strategy Officer, Bad Robot Productions

Katie McGrath is Chief Strategy Officer at Bad Robot Productions. She oversees the company's corporate culture, philanthropy, communications and ancillary businesses. Prior to joining Bad Robot, Katie was a founding Partner at First Tuesday Media, a political media firm based in Los Angeles. Earlier, she served as Director of Communications at MTV Networks and Vice President at the strategic communications consulting firm Robinson Lerer Sawyer Miller. Katie began her professional career in Washington, D.C. as a legislative assistant to Senator Edward M. Kennedy. She serves on the board of the Children's Defense Fund and on the advisory board of The Liberty Hill Foundation. Katie and her husband JJ Abrams and three children live in Los Angeles.

Mark McKinnon

Founder, The Media Guy

Mark McKinnon has served as principal media adviser for hundreds of campaigns for candidates, companies, and causes, including George W. Bush, John McCain, Ann Richards, Charlie Wilson, and Bono, and has helped to engineer five successful presidential primary and general elections. McKinnon is a cofounder of No Labels, a non-profit organization dedicated to bipartisanship, civil discourse, and problem solving in politics. And he is Texas co-chair of the Freedom to Marry Campaign.

Crystal Patterson

Government & Politics Outreach Manager, Facebook

Crystal Patterson is a Government & Politics Outreach Manager for Facebook. She has more than a decade of experience in digital strategy and communications. With a background working on Capitol Hill, campaigns and in both the private and non-profit sectors, Crystal now works with elected officials, government agencies, non-profits and political organizations to optimize their Facebook experience and results. A graduate of Northwestern University, Crystal is originally from northeast Ohio and currently resides in Washington, DC.

Nicholas Petrillo

Account Executive, SS+K

Nicholas Petrillo is an account executive at SS+K. Prior to joining SS+K, Nick was an online marketing fellow at Bully Pulpit Interactive. He holds a degree in philosophy from Wesleyan University.

Gina Reyes

Creative Manager, Fox Writers Intensive/Fox Audience Strategy

Gina Reyes started her career in Hollywood as an assistant at ICM in the Motion Picture Production department. She then moved on to work in film development with Salma Hayek?s company Ventanazul, where she had a film development deal with MGM. After four years of working with Ms. Hayek, Gina moved on and landed at 20th Fox Film as a Creative Executive in development and most recently made the move to the Fox Broadcasting Company to manage the Fox Writers Intensive. Gina is a native of Chicago and attended Columbia College where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Broadcast Journalism and Television.

Jason Rzepka

Director of Cultural Engagement, Everytown for Gun Safety

Jason Rzepka is director of cultural engagement at Everytown for Gun Safety, a movement of Americans working to end gun violence and build safer communities. In this role, he helps oversee Everytown's storytelling efforts, celebrity engagement and the development of other cultural assets that mobilize Americans to take common sense steps that will help save lives. For nearly the prior decade, Rzepka served in various roles at MTV, most recently as SVP of public affairs & brand communications. In this position, his primary responsibility was to engage & activate America's youth on the biggest challenges facing their generation. Prior to MTV, Rzepka served as head of communications at PopTech, led corporate communications at IMAX and held senior communications roles at Ruder Finn and Atomic PR. He currently serves on the advisory boards of Crisis Text Line, the Campaign for a Presidential Youth Council and MTV's Look Different campaign.

Raena Saddler

Product Lead, Lean In

Raena Saddler is Product Lead at Leanin.org, the non-profit women's organization founded by Sheryl Sandberg. Prior to joining Lean In, she was the Director of Product at Topix, an online media company. She holds a Bachelor's degree from Stanford University and a Master of Theological Studies in religion, ethics, and politics from Harvard Divinity School.

Rob Shepardson

Co-Founder, SS+K

As co-founder of SS+K, Rob has spent over 25 years working in advertising, marketing and brand consulting. Rob has lead the firm's work for a diverse set of clients, including HBO, The New Yorker, Starbucks, President Obama's campaigns in both 2008 and 2012, General Electric, College Board, Mark Zuckerberg's FWD.us, First Lady Michelle Obama's anti-childhood obesity campaign, Let's Move!, MSNBC, LiveStrong, Microsoft, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and many others. In the spring of 2014, President Obama appointed Rob to the President's Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition. Rob has a Master's degree in Public Policy from Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government and a B.A. from Franklin and Marshall College. At F&M, he was a four-year starting quarterback and Academic All-American. He was inducted into F&M's Athletic Hall of Fame in 1990.

Ashley Spillane

President, Rock the Vote

Ashley Spillane is President of Rock the Vote, a non-partisan, nonprofit organization committed to engaging young people in the political process by educating, registering, and turning them out to vote. Prior to joining Rock the Vote, Spillane spearheaded the creation of an interactive online platform at The Atlas Project, giving campaigns and organizations access to critical data and tools needed to run smart, strategic political programs. Spillane simultaneously ran a nonprofit dedicated to recruiting, training and supporting young people to work in politics as a career. She has worked on numerous electoral campaigns across the country, including presidential, gubernatorial and congressional campaigns in Iowa, Ohio, Florida, Minnesota and Maryland. Ashley is a graduate of The George Washington University, with a degree in International Affairs.

Jeff Stanger

President, CDI Lab

Jeff Stanger, a consultant to the Next Generation Democracy Project, is president of CDI Lab and founding director of the Center for Digital Information. At the Lab, Jeff works with foundations, research organizations, government agencies, academic institutions and others to re-imagine their products and data for modern, interactive digital-native publication. At the Center, Jeff develops trainings and events to keep organizations current on the rapidly changing media, information and digital landscapes. Prior to creating CDI Lab and CDI, Mr. Stanger founded NetCampaign, an award-winning digital production and consulting firm that helped pioneer the use of the internet in politics and public policy. Before that, he directed the Washington, DC office of the Annenberg Public Policy Center. He holds a bachelor's degree from UCLA and master's degree from the University of Pennsylvania.

JR Starrett

Director of Advocacy, Common Sense Media

JR serves as Advocacy Director for Common Sense Kids Action, the leading advocacy organization dedicated to making kids and education our nation's top priority. JR is a veteran political and legislative operative with over a decade of experience electing progressive leaders to office. He has served as a director on some of the nation's most competitive elections on the municipal, state, federal, and presidential levels. JR has been a leading contributor to the success of American Cancer Society legislative program in Texas and was the Regional Political Director for NextGen Climate Action. JR was recognized in 2014 by Campaigns and Elections Magazine as one of ten Rising Stars in the Democratic Party. A native of Austin, Texas, JR has been based in San Francisco since 2012.

Lenny Stern

Co-Founder, SS+K

Lenny Stern is a founding partner at SS+K where he has guided relaunches of brands like Delta, Wells Fargo, Pfizer, Time Warner Cable, Travelers, Comcast and GM; and helped create new brands such as TiVO, Chevy Volt, Fresh Direct, Honest Tea, Kraft MiO and Jet.com. Lenny's expertise in connecting with the Millennial generation has produced iconic work across both brands and non-profits, from Allstate to Kraft, to Smile Train and the LiveStrong Foundation, along with President Obama's 2008 and 2012 campaign as the youth agency of record. Lenny has been a visiting professor at Yale School of Management for the past ten years, and sits as a National Board member of Communities in Schools (CIS), the nation's largest and most effective drop-out prevention organization.

Russell Stevens

Research Strategist, MIT Media Lab

Russell Stevens is research strategist at the MIT Media Lab's Laboratory for Social Machines where he is advising the design of media technologies that tackle complex social problems. He is also managing partner at Saddle River Group where he provides consulting and investment practice advice focused on positioning and scaling organizations for a connected world. Mr. Stevens holds a master's degree from the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government and a bachelor's degree from Dartmouth College.

James Steyer

CEO and Founder, Common Sense Media

James Steyer is one of the most respected experts and entrepreneurs on issues related to children's media and education in the United States. He is Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Common Sense Media, the nation's leading non-partisan organization dedicated to improving media and technology choices for kids and families. He is also the Founder and Chairman of the Center for the Next Generation. Mr. Steyer is also a nationally known author. Prior to launching Common Sense Media, Mr. Steyer was Chairman and CEO of JP Kids, a leading educational kids' media company. Before that, Mr. Steyer was the Founder and President of Children Now, the highly respected, national advocacy and media organization for children, which he founded in 1988. Mr. Steyer is an award-winning faculty member at Stanford University where he has taught popular courses for 26 years. Mr. Steyer holds a bachelor's degree and J.D. from Stanford.

Mike Strautmanis

Vice President of Strategic Programs for Corporate Citizenship, The Walt Disney Company

Michael Strautmanis oversees Disney Citizenship's strategic programs. Prior to joining The Walt Disney Company, Michael worked for President Barack Obama for nearly a decade as a top advisor to the president from his earliest days in the Senate and throughout his journey to the White House. In the White House, Michael served as a Deputy Assistant to the President and Counselor for Strategic Engagement to the President's Senior Advisor, Valerie Jarrett. In this role, he helped build partnerships with nonprofits and community organizations across the nation, and was an important architect of the President's agenda on fatherhood, mentoring and youth violence. Prior to working with President Obama, Michael practiced law in Chicago and served in the Clinton Administration as an advisor to the General Counsel at the United States Agency for International Development.Michael received a B.S. from the University of Illinois, and a J.D. from the University of Illinois College of Law.

Paul Taylor

Author, The Next America

Paul Taylor is the author of The Next America: Boomers, Millennials and the Looming Generational Showdown and previously executive vice president of the Pew Research Center where is oversaw the Center's demographic, social and generational research. From 1996 to 2003, Mr. Taylor served as president and board chairman of the Alliance for Better Campaigns. Before that, he was a newspaper reporter for 25 years, the last 14 at The Washington Post, where he covered national politics and served as a foreign correspondent. From 1992-1995, he was the Post's bureau chief in South Africa and reported on the historic transformation from apartheid to democracy. He also covered four U.S. presidential campaigns. He has twice served as the visiting Ferris Professor of Journalism at Princeton University, in 1989 and 1995. He graduated in 1970 with a bachelor's in American Studies from Yale University.

Michael Tubbs

Youth Engagement Coordinator, Common Sense Media

Michael Tubbs serves as the Youth Engagement Coordinator for Common Sense Kids Action. Michael earned a bachelor's degree with honors and a master's degree in policy, organization and leadership studies from Stanford University along with the Truman Scholarship and the Dinkelspiel Award, the highest award given to undergraduate students at Stanford. Michael has also interned at Google and The White House. In 2012, Michael was elected to the Stockton City Council, and is in fact the youngest City Councilmember in Stockton, California's history.

Lisa Tyler

Vice President, Benenson Strategy Group

Lisa Tyler came to Benenson Strategy Group's Santa Monica office in July 2015 after serving as VP of Audience Research at Viacom for 15 years. There, she educated, inspired and informed the strategies driving Nickelodeon's Business Development, Consumer Products and Advertising Sales units. Lisa's oversight grew from managing the Nielsen ratings analytics to authoring proprietary research that explored and quantified the vast influence and escalating buying power of today's kids. Lisa started her career on the advertising agency side of the business, serving as Vice President, Media Planning for Grey Advertising and Davis Elen, both in Los Angeles. Lisa's extensive experience in consumer insights and values, and her unique skillset in studying generational mindsets and their relationships with brands, will further enrich BSG's millennial focus and grow its client portfolio.

Marta Urquilla

Deputy Director, Beeck Center for Social Impact & Innovation at Georgetown University

Marta Urquilla is the Deputy Director at the Beeck Center for Social Impact & Innovation at Georgetown University. Marta served in the Obama Administration as Senior Policy Advisor in the inaugural White House Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation and as Senior Advisor for Social Innovation at the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS). She served on President Obama's Presidential Transition Team, as a member of the Technology, Innovation and Government Reform working group. Marta is a graduate of Duke University.

Ben Wessel

Deputy Political Director, NextGen Climate

Ben Wessel is the Deputy Political Director at NextGen Climate, working to elect candidates who are strong on climate change and clean energy policy. Ben's work places a particular focus on developing strategies to turn out young voters in target races as the local, state, and national level. He has worked on youth vote strategies at 350.org as well as with President Obama's reelection campaign in 2012. He is a board member of the Bus Federation and currently lives in San Francisco, CA.

 

Reading Material

Books

The Next America: Boomers, Millennials, and the Looming Generational Showdown
by Paul Taylor, 2014
A critically acclaimed and bi-partisan account of shifting demographics in the United States. "Drawing on Pew Research Center's extensive archive of public opinion surveys and demographic data, The Next America is a rich portrait of where we are as a nation and where we're headed — toward a future marked by the most striking social, racial, and economic shifts the country has seen in a century."

Running From Office: Why Young Americans are Turned Off to Politics
by Jennifer Lawless and Richard L. Fox, 2015
Through a survey of 4,000 high school and college students and more than 100 in-depth interviews, this book finds that young people feel alienated from contemporary politics and find little reason for running for office. This demographic wants to improve their communities, but does not see politics as an effective route for doing so.

Polls and Data

Why Millennials Don't Vote for Mayor
Lake Research Partners/Knight Foundation, June 4, 2015
This poll finds that Millennials lack access to trustworthy information that could inspire them to vote locally. They do not properly understand the roles served by local government and place little value on non-presidential elections.

Millennials and Political News: Social media — the Local TV of the Next Generation?
Pew Research Center, June 1, 2015
Social media looks to be the predominant source for younger Americans to get their news about politics and government. Six-in-ten online Millennials report getting political news on Facebook in a given week, much larger percentage than looks to any other source.

MTV Look Different Campaign: Millennials and Bias
David Binder Research Study, April 2014
As part of its multi‐year public affairs campaign to address bias, MTV Strategic Insights partnered with David Binder Research in 2014 on a study that provides an in‐depth look at millennials & bias. This research was designed to understand and measure how young people are experiencing, affected by and responding to issues associated with bias.

Internet Trends 2015
Mary Meeker, KPCB, 2015
Each year KPCB venture capital analyst Mary Meeker puts out a highly respected internet trends report that covers the emergent themes impacting business, culture and society at large.

The Civic and Political Participation of Millennials
Hollie Russon Gilman and Elizabeth Stokes, New America Foundation Brief, 2014
"Millennials are a potentially powerful political force, yet they do not pursue traditional forms of civic engagement, such as voting, and are more likely to eschew party identity. Why is this? What real and perceived barriers to engagement exist? Despite their skepticism of old school party politics, the generation is finding other and more accessible pathways to participate, most notably through volunteering, consumer activism, and civic uses of social media."

Money and Economy

The WTF Economy
Tim O'Reilly, Medium, July 8, 2015
Tim O'Reilly predicts "every industry and every organization will have to transform itself in the next few years...or fade away." What is the future of work during the digital revolution and when technology can do more and more work instead of people?

We're Making Life Too Hard for Millennials
Steven Rattner, New York Times, July 31, 2015
Millennials are facing student loan debt, stagnant wages, growing national debt and income inequality, which may cause them to delay purchasing homes, or starting families.

The Stunning Evolution of Millennials: They've Become the Ben Franklin Generation
Adam Hanft, Huffington Post, November 7, 2014, update May 10, 2015
"An America led by the Ben Franklin generation is likely to be a more stable, patient, values-driven and realistic place than the one led by the boomers. It's a place where technology is expected to solve problems, simplify life, and strip inauthenticity out of the sales process."

Citizenship, Politics, and Activism

America's Hinge Moment
Doug Sosnik, Politico, March 29, 2015
"As we come out on the other side of this hinge period, the central elements and attributes of our country will increasingly be reflected by the fast growing, ethnically diverse states that tend to skew younger than the rest of the country."

Net Neutrality Activists Believe the 'Internet Voter' Is a New Political Force
Sam Gustin, MotherBoard, Vice, July 16, 2015
After historical rulings for open internet protections, advocacy groups believe that voters who prioritize internet issues can become a political force with the right organizational structure.

'Our Demand is Simple: Stop Killing Us'
Jay Caspian Kang, New York Times, May 4, 2015
"How a group of black social media activists built the nation's first 21st century civil rights movement."

New Report on Millennials Shows Link Between Engagement and Cause Work
Ryan Scott, Forbes, May 4, 2015
"As Millennials engage in a relationship with a company, from the courtship phase during the interview process to the long haul of sustained employment, cause plays an important role. Millennials are increasingly engaging with causes and tend to believe that a company that cares about causes will care about treating them well, too."

Inside Obama's Stealth Startup
Jon Gertner, Fast Company, June 15, 2015
President Obama has quietly recruited top tech talent from the likes of Google and Facebook. Their mission: to reboot how government works.

Technology, Media, and Entertainment

Tech nerds are smart. But they can't seem to get their heads around politics
David Roberts, Vox.com, August 27, 2015

How two millennials built a $100 million startup in 4 years and landed an interview with the president
Alyson Shontell, Business Insider, August 29, 2015

Digital news for the young: LGBT, weed and the latest from 'Game of Thrones'
Paul Farhi, The Washington Post, July 13, 2015
Ozy.com and other online news sources are going in new directions to attract young people under 35, and tailors content to consumers in the Internet age. This "new" news agenda targets an audience that "isn't a particular demographic affiliation, but (has) an interest in equality, social justice and the idea of an America that isn't dominated by old white men..."

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Government Surveillance
Last Week Tonight, John Oliver, host, April 5, 2015
John Oliver meets Edward Snowden in Russia and discusses the NSA, the balance between privacy and security, and the viewing of personal photos. Humor and effective journalism create one of the best interviews of the year.

Evan Spiegel Reveals Plan to Turn Snapchat Into a Real Business
Brad Stone and Sarah Frier, Bloomberg Business, May 26, 2015
"CEO says he knows what millennials and teens want, and it's not on television or Facebook."

Issues

Is the Tolerance of the Millennial Generation Overstated?
Gene Demby, NPR, June 22, 2015
Are Millennials truly the harbinger of the future of racial diversity and tolerance? How accurate are polls from young people that say racism is a thing of the past. Discussion of an MTV poll on race. "You can see a kind of magical thinking around these issues, that if the younger generations are just more diverse, that a lot of these older historical disparities would just disappear."

From Ferguson to Charleston and Beyond, Anguish About Race Keeps Building
Lydia Polgreen, New York Times, June 20, 2015
"It has become commonplace to refer to the generation of young people known as millennials as "post-racial." Black culture has become so mainstream that a woman born to white parents who had claimed to be black almost broke the Internet by saying that she was "transracial." Yet in many ways, the situation of black America is dire."

The Robots Are Coming: How Technological Breakthroughs Will Transform Everyday Life
Daniela Rus, Foreign Affairs Magazine, July/August 2015
The objective of robotics is not to replace humans, but to find ways to assist and collaborate more effectively. This article lays out the possibilities for future AI, technological, and robotic advancements to change the global landscape.

First Person

What's it really like to be 18 in America right now?
Various authors, Medium, June 17, 2015
High school students in the Bay Area post multimedia content documenting their everyday life. These include surveys, poetry, photography, and long form written pieces that describe the genuine millennial existence.

 

About the Project

The non-partisan Next Generation Democracy Project has been formed with the goal of increasing civic engagement of Next Generation Americans, and motivating them to make sustained progress on the economic, environmental, security, and social challenges that will define their time.

The Project will convene national leaders in politics, academia, entertainment, technology, business, and philanthropy who are expert at developing creative and novel ideas for civic engagement. The task force will frame a nuanced definition of "next generation democracy" — an age cohort with unique values, diversity and social norms; a class of technologies and media with civic import; civic activities that include volunteerism, advocacy, voting and more; and a collection of issues that are particularly salient and motivating to young Americans.

The Next Generation Democracy Project is a joint effort of Next Generation and SS+K.

The Landscape

Next Generation Americans, those in their mid-teens to late twenties, face a highly uncertain future marked by serious social and political challenges. They have come of age with their country under the constant threat of terrorism at home and entangled in protracted military conflicts abroad. They are entering their working life at a time of historic economic transformation, diminished job prospects, prolonged recession and soaring income inequality. They are the generation that will begin to feel the full effects of global climate change. The challenges they face are complex, interrelated, punctuated by episodes of crisis, and global in scale.

At the same time, Next Generation Americans face enormous opportunities, with potential solutions literally at their fingertips. They have never known a world without the digital devices, rapid technology-driven innovation, and constant connectivity that will inevitably play a part in addressing these challenges. Through their sheer numbers, they are reshaping industries and societal trends. Though they are highly skeptical of conventional politics and parties — and like young adults before them tend to punch below their weight at the ballot box — they are far from disengaged. Next Generation Americans' constant connectedness and facility with networked digital technology have brought about new civic uses of the web and social media — donating, volunteering, organizing, creating, and consuming information. Aligning this large and motivated generation of young Americans with the technology and media they use and engaging them with a set of urgent national and global problems can create a potent force for change.

Picturing Next Generation Democracy

The Project seeks to understand the evolving dynamics of "next generation civic engagement:" the alignment of young Americans, next generation technology and media, and next generation methods of civic action on future national and global challenges.

Picturing Next Generation Democracy

What the Project Will Do

Over the course of 2015 and 2016, the Next Generation Democracy Project will examine what is known about Next Generation Americans, what motivates them, and what can be done to more clearly engage them in the democratic process.

To this end, the Project will be composed of 35-40 leaders who will meet in-person up to three times, and in smaller groups, as needed, virtually. The participants will be a bipartisan group of "usual and unusual subjects" from politics, media, technology, non-profits, and the corporate world.

The Project's work will include:

The end product will be a game plan consisting of research, strategies, and recommendations that we will use to brief activists, candidates, campaigns, academics, and others who are interested in keeping young Americans motivated and engaged in civic life.

Next Generation Democracy Project Participants

David Axelrod

Director, Institute of Politics at the University of Chicago

Jeremy Bird

Founding Partner, 270 Strategies

Andrew Bleeker

Founder and President, Bully Pulpit

Chad Boettcher

Executive Vice President, Social Action & Advocacy, Participant Media

Troy Carter

Chairman and CEO, Atom Factor

Jon Cohen

Vice President for Survey Research, SurveyMonkey

Jesse Coulter

Creative Director

Aria Finger

COO, DoSomething.org

Danny Franklin

Partner, Benenson Strategy Group

Stephen Friedman

President, MTV

Aimee Garcia

Actor

Heidi Hackemer

Founder, Wolf & Wilhelmine

Evan Hansen

Editor, Head of Content Labs, Medium

Matthew Higginson

Writer Development, Politics, Government and Advocacy, Medium

Matt James

President, Next Generation

Isabelle James

Political Associate, Americans for Responsible Solutions

Brad Jenkins

Managing Director/Executive Producer, Funny or Die D.C.

Matthew Johnson

Managing Partner, Ziffren Brittenham LLP

Celinda Lake

President, Lake Research Partners

Bob Llamas

Executive Vice President and Corporate Officer, Human Resources and Community Empowerment, Univision

Chris Marvin

Principal, Marvin Strategies

Mike McCurry

Partner, Public Strategies Washington

Katie McGrath

Chief Strategy Officer, Bad Robot Productions

Mark McKinnon

Founder, The Media Guy

Trevor Neilson

Founder and President, Global Philanthropy Group

Casey Owens

Senior Brand Manager, Starbucks

Crystal Patterson

Government & Politics Outreach Manager, Facebook

Richard Plepler

Chairman and CEO, HBO

Gina Reyes

Creative Manager, Fox Writers Intensive/Fox Audience Strategy

Jason Rzepka

Director of Cultural Engagement, Everytown for Gun Safety

Raena Saddler

Product Lead, Lean In

Sonal Shah

Founding Executive Director, Beeck Center for Social Impact & Innovation at Georgetown University

Rob Shepardson

Co-Founder, SS+K

Ashley Spillane

President, Rock the Vote

Russell Stevens

Research Strategist, MIT Media Lab

Mike Strautmanis

Vice President of Strategic Programs for Corporate Citizenship, The Walt Disney Company

Paul Taylor

Author, The Next America

Maggie Williams

Director, Institute of Politics at Harvard University

About the Partners

Based in San Francisco, Next Generation promotes 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. Through the use of non-partisan research, policy development, and strategic communications, we identify strategies that help deploy clean, advanced energy technologies; we also work to ensure a level playing field from which today's kids can build a brighter future.

Headquartered in New York, SS+K began as an agency with both political chops and creative muscle, founded in 1993 by three former political consultants and a famous copywriter. No other agency teamed copywriters with pollsters and strategists on each account, but here, battle-tested political operatives sat next to designers, planners, social and digital strategists, and creatives from New York's most progressive agencies. This unexpected mix of talents and experience allows us to create unorthodox, highly effective marketing strategies and differentiating ideas for brands, companies and causes including the Obama for America campaign in both 2008 and 2012, Starbucks, JW Marriott, E*Trade, FreshDirect, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, HBO, Smile Train, The New Yorker and Wells Fargo. But above and beyond all that, we exist to lead brands through moments of change. It's what we're built to do. Our mission and passion has always been to figure out smart, creative, engaging ways to influence beliefs and behavior, online and off.