New America CA Announces Inaugural Class of Fellows

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New America CA announced the selection of six social entrepreneurs it will be supporting as year-long fellows. These visionary leaders come from diverse background and industries all working to tackle issues that resonate across California, including how to deliver benefits in a sharing economy and gathering data on how police use force.

“It's past time for a new approach,” stated Megan Garcia, Director of New America CA. “Contrary to the dominant narrative about how everyday people are powerless to make dramatic change in the world, these innovative Californians are solving real problems that affect real Californians, right now.”

“These innovators are core to our mission to reinvent what a think tank can do. Today’s model is too elitist, too narrow, and too slow,” added Anne-Marie Slaughter, President and CEO of New America. “We are deepening our engagement in California to generate new ideas and invest in people and projects working to advance solutions with not for the communities they serve. It’s a small distinction with tremendous implications.”

After receiving 86 applications, New America CA selected the following cutting edge social entrepreneurs whose names, projects, and affiliations are as follows:

  • Mia Birdsong, redefining the American definition of family so that it reflects real families in the 21st century (cofounder of Family Story)
  • Marci Harris, promoting civic technology as a tool for citizens to easily engage with government  (cofounder & CEO of POPVOX)
  • Eric Liu, developing technology to capture and report police use of force data (founder and US Executive Director at Bayes Impact)
  • Laura Weidman Powers, creating pathways for underrepresented minorities to succeed in the technology and innovation economy (cofounder and CEO of Code2040)

New America is seeking to identify problem-solvers who take the initiative in their communities, rather than waiting for solutions from the top. New America CA puts this  into practice through a new fellowship program which will invest in local change-makers with a proven track record of success solving California’s toughest problems.

Over the next year, New America CA will support its fellows by providing them a public platform through media partnerships and live events, the opportunity to engage with our national network of policy experts, and a $30,000 financial stipend. Given historically low levels of trust in government and overflowing anger about local, state, and national government’s seeming lack of interest in everyday people’s problems, New America CA fellows’ stories will empower Californians to take action in their own communities.


New America CA is a civic startup working to amplify the reach of California change agents whose innovations solve public problems in bold new ways.

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.