Our Mission

NextGen America’s mission is to empower young voters to engage in the political process and ensure our government is responsive to the largest and most diverse generation in American history.

Who We Are

In 2013, Tom Steyer founded NextGen America (formerly NextGen Climate) because he believed that young people had the power to determine a new, brighter direction for our country on every single major issue that matters.

Today, NextGen America is the nation’s largest youth voter organization, mobilizing millions of young people each year to support progressive candidates up and down the ballot. We are a multi-issue and multi-racial organization that works each election cycle to get millions of young people to the polls and win on the issues that matter to them.

We have registered over 1.4 million young people to vote. In the 2020 election cycle, we spoke to over 10.5 million young voters and got 4.6 million of them to the polls, leading to the largest youth voter turnout in our nation’s history.

At NextGen, we know it’s always taken the courage and imagination of young people to make our country tackle the biggest challenges we face. Our nation needs that courage again to solve climate change, racial injustice, runaway inequality and to save democracy itself.

Staff Highlights

Adrian Arellano

he/him/his

Special Projects Manager

"After several years of working in democracy-building in West Africa and Latin America, I realized that our own democracy is failing. We need to solve our own problems before we can solve others' problems."

Adrian manages inter-departmental projects and strategic campaigns with NextGen, ensuring project execution, departmental coordination, problem solving, and financial management. Prior to joining NextGen, Adrian worked in the field of international affairs, including stints at the National Democratic Institute, the Elliott School of International Affairs and the US Peace Corps. He loves Korean food and lives in Long Beach, California.

Gillian Payne

she/they

Data Associate

"Today, we as young people are faced with a plethora of existential crises. NextGen is doing the work to help address these crises and create systemic change for us and for the generations to follow."

Gillian is a Wisconsinite who has lived in Milwaukee for almost 6 years. She got her start in progressive advocacy in high school when she organized a weekly volunteer group. Gillian graduated with a Bachelors in Economics and Political Science from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in May of 2020. Since graduation, they have gone on to work as an organizer and data analyst for multiple organizations and campaigns. She loves to knit and is an avid tent camper.

Bethanie Olivan

she/her/hers

Distributed Organizing Manager

"I joined the team at NextGen to empower young people both at and beyond the ballot box. Focusing on the youth vote allows for creativity and innovation in our outreach."

Bethanie manages our national peer-to-peer text team, building the infrastructure and volunteer power to further advocacy actions and get out the vote in NextGen’s key states. Most recently, she was the Digital Organizing Director for the Biden Coordinated Campaign in Texas. Before that, she worked as the Digital Organizing Manager for both the Texas Democratic Party and Julián Castro’s presidential campaign. She loves baking macarons and is based in Austin, Texas.

Michael Athanas

he/him/his

Director of Technology

"Working for an organization that makes a difference in the world makes coming to work every day so much easier."

Michael provides security focused direction and end user support for the organization's technology platforms and services. Michael's previous work is mainly in other not-for-profit organizations, but he several years of IT consulting experience as well. He joined NextGen in 2016 and is currently based in Ohio.

Carleigh Fernandez

she/her/hers

Deputy Development Director

"I love that I get to use my skills to help empower young people to take charge of their futures, and the future of our country. Working at NextGen is the perfect intersection of my passion for politics, social justice, philanthropy, and young people."

Carleigh manages NextGen's donor communications, stewardship programs, and development events. Before joining NextGen, she worked for several domestic and international nonprofit organizations in grant writing and donor relations. She lives in San Francisco.

Adrian Arellano

he/him/his

Special Projects Manager

"After several years of working in democracy-building in West Africa and Latin America, I realized that our own democracy is failing. We need to solve our own problems before we can solve others' problems."

Adrian manages inter-departmental projects and strategic campaigns with NextGen, ensuring project execution, departmental coordination, problem solving, and financial management. Prior to joining NextGen, Adrian worked in the field of international affairs, including stints at the National Democratic Institute, the Elliott School of International Affairs and the US Peace Corps. He loves Korean food and lives in Long Beach, California.

Gillian Payne

she/they

Data Associate

"Today, we as young people are faced with a plethora of existential crises. NextGen is doing the work to help address these crises and create systemic change for us and for the generations to follow."

Gillian is a Wisconsinite who has lived in Milwaukee for almost 6 years. She got her start in progressive advocacy in high school when she organized a weekly volunteer group. Gillian graduated with a Bachelors in Economics and Political Science from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in May of 2020. Since graduation, they have gone on to work as an organizer and data analyst for multiple organizations and campaigns. She loves to knit and is an avid tent camper.