Charting a New Course in 2017

The first month of 2017 has been a whirlwind. 

With a federal government in transition, cities and states are working overtime just to keep up with all of the changes being handed down from the top. Between appointments and executive orders, it feels like there is something new to react to every day, if not every hour.

Whether you approve or disapprove of how our new President and state leaders in Sacramento have spent their first month of 2017, one thing is for sure: both sides of the aisle are further apart than ever before. So, how do we bring people together during such divisive times?

At New America CA, we are working to build bridges. Our CA fellows are proving that ordinary people can make extraordinary impacts without falling prey to partisan politics. So rather than feeling paralyzed, we feel energized and motivated to leverage the power of New America’s programs in DC, coupled with the work of the three hubs - California, New York, and Chicago - to promote new ideas for solving our nation’s most difficult problems, generated from the ground up. 

What's New @ New America?

In 2017, New America CA has committed to focusing on three main issue areas: 

  • Education
  • Tech for Good, and 
  • Civic Engagement

Building on the success of our national programs, we aim to find CA Fellows who are champions for change in these areas. Before we get to our fellows, here is what our national programs have been up to so far this year:

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New America’s Education Policy program has launched a reporting project to lift up what’s working in the world of early childhood education. The articles in this series "Strong Teaching and Caregiving in California" will give readers an inside view into how the Packard Foundation and others are helping early learners like Felix in Fresno get the education they need to reach their full potential.

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New America’s Public Interest Technology program is an ambitious new initiative designed to help technologists use their skills for good. Former White House Domestic Policy Council Director Cecilia Muñoz will direct the initiative and lead the New America National Network, starting April 1, 2017.

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New America is launching a Millennial Public Policy Fellowship for young adults age 24 and under. If an entrepreneurial, mission-driven young adult inspires you, encourage them to apply for this competitive, paid fellowship. Applications are due April 3rd.

Meanwhile in California...

As New America continues to grow and add new initiatives, we are going through some big changes right here in California. As we wrap up our first class of CA fellows, we look forward to welcoming a new batch of fellows on March 1st. So keep an eye out for next month’s newsletter.

After receiving 80 applications for only 6 CA fellowship spots, our selection committees are hard at work narrowing down the pool of stellar candidates. From Housing to Immigration, Technology to the Environment, our next class of fellows will undoubtedly bring a new set of brilliant ideas for how to solve some of the state’s most pressing problems. Although we will focus on Education, Tech for Good, and Civic Engagement, we will continue to experiment in other areas as well. 

Before we say goodbye…

We are so proud of our first class of fellows for carrying the banner of innovation and inspiration all year. Hear our fellows reflect on what this year has meant to them in two short videos: one about using technology for good and the other about scaling impact through social justice. Watch, share, and enjoy!


Author:

Leila Pedersen is the Associate Director New America California, where she runs a fellowship for social entrepreneurs using storytelling and communication as tools to create culture and policy change.