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NextGen America

NextGen America (formerly NextGen Climate) was founded by Tom Steyer in 2013 and is guided by a simple mission: When we get young people to show up and vote, we win. After starting and growing a successful investment firm, Tom stepped down to focus his energy and resources on climate change, fighting for racial justice and putting people — not corporations — in charge of our democracy. One key gap Tom noticed in the fight for justice was the need to elect leaders willing to face the climate crisis with the level of urgency and action it demands. NextGen was created to build the grassroots power in key states and districts to elect pro-climate Democrats into office. While our mission has expanded to advocate for a wider array of issues affecting young people, our strategy remains the same: Identify, engage, and mobilize people under the age of 35 who are less than likely to vote or who are not currently registered to vote.

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Big Picture
Courtesy Millennial Action Project

MAP founder Steven Olikara (left) stepped down from the top job earlier this year. Layla Zaidane has been named the new CEO.

Millennial Action Project and its founder begin new chapters

Growing up in Milwaukee, Steven Olikara felt that playing music was the only way to bring people of all backgrounds and ideologies together — until he was inspired to launch the Millennial Action Project.

Believing the trend toward polarization had put American democracy on perilous footing, Olikara decided to translate his musical performances into political involvement on a national scale. In 2013, he officially launched MAP with the hopes that the next generation could bridge the political divide and put America on the right path forward.

Now, after nearly a decade at the helm, Olikara has stepped down as both he and the organization enter new chapters. On Wednesday, the organization announced as his successor Layla Zaidane, who previously served as MAP's executive director and COO. As for Olikara's next steps, the 31-year-old has his sights set on a potential Senate run next year when Republican Ron Johnson's seat is up for election.

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