New America (organization)

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New America
New america logo14.jpg
Motto New America is committed to renewing American politics, prosperity, and purpose in the Digital Age.
Formation 1999; 18 years ago (1999)
Type Public policy think tank
Headquarters 740 15th Street NW, Ste 900
Anne-Marie Slaughter
Revenue (2014)
Expenses (2014) $21,539,240

New America, formerly the New America Foundation, is a non-partisan think tank in the United States.[2][3][4] It focuses on a range of public policy issues, including national security studies, technology, asset building, health, gender, energy, education, and the economy. The organization is based in Washington, D.C., with additional offices in New York City, Chicago, and Sacramento.

Anne-Marie Slaughter is the current President of New America.[5]

History mission and funding

New America was founded in 1999 by Ted Halstead, Sherle Schwenninger, Michael Lind, and Walter Russell Mead as a non-profit, public policy institute whose stated mission is to "invest in new thinkers and new ideas to address the next generation of challenges facing the United States".[6] The organization has a staff of over a hundred employees and fellows with offices in Washington, D.C., and New York City.

The organization continues to "emphasize work that is responsive to the changing conditions and problems of our 21st-century information-age economy" with "big ideas, impartial analysis and pragmatic solutions".[6] Newsweek's Howard Fineman called it a "hive of state-of-the-art policy entrepreneurship".[7]

With 140 donors in 2013, the top donors, giving more than $1,000,000 each, were the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Lumina Foundation, Eric and Wendy Schmidt, and the US Department of State.[8]

Organization and structure

Congressman Jim Moran speaking at New America Foundation
New America hosts talks and public events on their program topics. Pictured is author Cory Doctorow speaking about copyright in June 2010.

The organization houses programs and initiatives that focus on domestic, economic and global issues.[9] and also houses a fellowship program.

Foreign policy

The foundation's National Security Studies Program researches and analyzes global issues, from the inner workings of al-Qaeda to overall national foreign policy strategy. With the presence of journalists such as Steve Coll and Peter Bergen, it has carved out a policy niche in the issues of Afghanistan and counter-terrorism. Bergen, who leads the program, is a CNN national security analyst and author of several best-selling books, including The Longest War: The Enduring Conflict between America and Al-Qaeda.[10] Coll, former president of New America, has also written several books on al-Qaeda and Afghanistan, including the 2005 Pulitzer Prize winner for general non-fiction, Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden. James Risen in The New York Times complimented Coll on "revealing how Saudi Arabia and its intelligence operations aided the rise of Osama bin Laden and Islamic extremism in Afghanistan".[11]

The foundation also has a policy focus on the Middle East with its Middle East Task Force, directed by Leila Hilal, which covers analysis and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa.


New America's Open Technology Institute (OTI) led by Kevin Bankston has become one of the largest programs within the organization. Focus areas of OTI include wireless community networks building, the creation and management of an open source platform that supports broadband research tools and speed tests, the development of a platform (called Commotion Wireless) to lower barriers for building distributed communications networks, among other projects.

In the same vein of technology, the foundation Future Tense initiative, a partnership with Arizona State University and Slate Magazine, explores emerging technologies and their effects on society and public policy. Central to the partnership is a series of events in Washington, D.C., that take an in-depth look at issues that, while little-understood today, could reshape the policy debates of the coming decade.


The foundation's Economic Growth Program, directed by New America co-founders Sherle Schwenninger and Michael Lind, aims to take a policy look at America and the world's economic problems. In 2011, the program commissioned a paper "The Way Forward: Moving From the Post-Bubble, Post-Bust Economy to Renewed Growth and Competitiveness"[12] which warned of the severe economic problems America would face if continued on its current path. The program did not believe in immediate government deficit reduction; it believed that will only make the situation worse. Instead, as stated in the paper, it had other suggestions, including investing in a sustained infrastructure program, lasting from five to seven years, to create jobs and demand.

Formerly, the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget was a part of New America until it separated to become the Fix the Debt campaign. The bipartisan Committee ran a number of projects, including U.S. Budget Watch, a project funded by Pew Charitable Trusts which reports on important fiscal issues relating to the 2008 election and afterwards. One of its more recent initiatives is the "Go Big" initiative, which was created after the Budget Control Act of 2011, enacted in early August to raise the debt-ceiling and avoid default. The effort urged a bipartisan 12-member Joint Congressional Committee on Deficit Reduction, also known as the Super Committee, with finding an additional $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction by November 23.

Maya MacGuineas, who has worked at the Brookings Institution as well as on Wall Street, led the Committee and now leads Fix the Debt. After advising politicians from both parties, she serves as a trusted mediator on budget talks between Democrats and Republicans.[13] In addition, in April 2010 the Committee's policy director, Marc Goldwein, joined President Obama's bipartisan Fiscal Commission.[14] Goldwein, 26, was also named one of the Forbes' "30 under 30".[15]

Education Policy Program

New America's Education Policy Program comprises scholars on pre-k to K-12 through higher education and into the workforce. The policy staff produce the EdCentral blog. It also comprises the Federal Education Budget Project, which serves as a "source of information on federal education funding for policymakers, the media, and the public."

Fellows program

The organization provides fellowships to "foster the next generation of thinkers and public intellectuals" through the Bernard L. Schwartz Fellows program. The fellowship "supports talented journalists, academics and other public policy analysts who offer a fresh and often unpredictable perspective on the major challenges facing our society".[16] Alumni of the program include Jacob Hacker, Megan McArdle, Katherine Boo, Evgeny Morozov, George Packer, Robert Wright, Tim Wu, Chris Hayes, Romesh Ratnesar, David Auerbach, and Dayo Olopade.

New America NYC

Launched in winter 2011–12, New America NYC is an initiative that aims to further the foundation's goals of research and policy innovation. The space, located in SoHo, hosts several events each month generally focused on politics, media, and culture.


The New York Times reported in late August 2017 that pressure from Google led to the ousting of Barry Lynn[17] who had criticized Google as a monopoly and called for it to be broken up.[18] It was reported that Google and Eric Schmidt had pressured New America into the dismissal of a whole group of researchers who lauded the EU's antitrust ruling against Google.[19] Reportedly, the President and CEO, Anne-Marie Slaughter, wrote an email to Lynn shortly before dismissing him saying "We are in the process of trying to expand our relationship with Google... just THINK about how you are imperiling funding."[17] The emails sent by Slaughter "clearly show the influence that Google wields over New America’s operations,” stated the Open Markets team in a statement provided to The Intercept.[20] Slaughter denied the allegations, but refused to speak to New York Times reporters about why they might be wrong.[17][21] A collective letter signed by New America’s former and current fellows, including journalists such as George Packer of The New Yorker and scholars such as Evgeny Morozov of Harvard University was delivered to Slaughter and New America’s directors. The letter highlighted that the handling of the situation by Slaughter has damaged the think tank’s reputation.[22][23]

Lynn has founded an as yet unnamed nonprofit to continue the Open Markets Program's work terminated by New America.[24]


  1. ^ "New America Foundation". Charity Navigator. Retrieved 12 September 2016. 
  2. ^ "New America Organization Status". 
  3. ^ Nissenbaum, Dion (June 28, 2015). "Author Warns U.S. Military to Focus on China". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 8 July 2015. 
  4. ^ "Steve Coll, New America President, Stepping Down, Writing 'Ghost Wars' Sequel". The Huffington Post. 2012-06-25. Retrieved 2014-04-29. 
  6. ^ a b New America Foundation, About New America, accessed June 23, 2010
  7. ^ Howard Fineman, "Living Politics: Election Gave '04 Brokers More Clout", Newsweek, November 13, 2002
  8. ^ "Our Funding". New America Foundation. Retrieved 2015-04-14. 
  9. ^ New America Foundation, Programs and Issues, accessed June 23, 2010
  10. ^ "Peter Bergen's "The Longest War"". The Washington Post. 2011-02-17. Retrieved 2014-05-02. 
  11. ^ Risen, James (April 11, 2004). "What Clarke Knew and When He Knew It". New York Times. Retrieved 28 December 2013. 
  12. ^ Nocera, Joe (2011-10-10). "This Time, It Really Is Different". New York Times. Retrieved 18 December 2014. 
  13. ^ Brady, Jessica (2011-11-15). "Maya MacGuineas in High Demand During Fiscal Debate". Roll Call. Retrieved 18 December 2014. 
  14. ^ Dan Froomkin, "Obama's Fiscal Commission: What's Going On In There?", The Huffington Post, May 5, 2010
  15. ^ "30 Under 30". Forbes. 2011-12-20. Retrieved 18 December 2014. 
  16. ^ New America Foundation, The Bernard L. Schwartz Fellows Program
  17. ^ a b c Vogel, Kenneth (August 30, 2017). "Google Critic Ousted From Think Tank Funded by the Tech Giant". The New York Times. Retrieved August 30, 2017. 
  18. ^ Lynn, Barry (June 27, 2017). "Open Markets Applauds the European Commission's Finding Against Google for Abuse of Dominance". New America. Retrieved September 7, 2017. 
  19. ^ Rushe, Dominic (August 30, 2017). "Google-funded thinktank fired scholar over criticism of tech firm". The Guardian. Retrieved August 30, 2017. 
  20. ^ Dayen, David (September 1, 2017). "New Think Tank Emails Show "How Google Wields its Power" in Washington". The Intercept. Retrieved September 2, 2017. 
  21. ^ "The New America Foundation falls into a familiar trap". The Economist. September 7, 2017. Retrieved September 7, 2017. 
  22. ^ Vogel, Kenneth (September 1, 2017). "New America, a Google-Funded Think Tank, Faces Backlash for Firing a Google Critic". The New York Times. Retrieved September 8, 2017. 
  23. ^ Kuwin, Noah (September 5, 2017). "Google critic's firing sparks backlash within New America ranks". Vice News. Retrieved September 8, 2017. 
  24. ^ "Tell Google: Stop Killing Monopoly Research". Retrieved August 31, 2017. 

External links

  • New America webpage
  • VIDEO – See Elizabeth Carpenter speak at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health – Health Care Reform: A Nonpartisan Look at the Issue Under Debate
  • Interactive Demographic: Home Grown Terrorist Study [1]
  • "Letter to the New America Board and Leadership signed by 25 New America's former and current fellows". September 2017. Retrieved September 8, 2017. 
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