New America (organization)

New America, formerly the New America Foundation, is a 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 and Oakland. As of July 2020 the President was Anne-Marie Slaughter;[5] David G. Bradley was the acting chairman of the foundation's board of directors.[6]

New America
Formation1999; 21 years ago (1999)
TypePublic Policy Think Tank
Headquarters740 15th Street NW, Ste 900
Helene D. Gayle
Revenue (2017)
Expenses (2017)$36,069,449[1]

Although the organization describes itself as "non-partisan", its policy views have been characterized as centrist, liberal or left-leaning.[7][8][9] The New America Foundation has been criticized for its perceived close ties with Google, including its decision to fire an employee who criticized Google as a monopoly. Google's Executive Chairman, Eric Schmidt, is a former chairman.[10] The organization, however, has denied improper influence.[11][12]

History, mission and fundingEdit

Anne-Marie Slaughter, President and CEO of New America

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".[13] 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".[13] Newsweek's Howard Fineman called it a "hive of state-of-the-art policy entrepreneurship".[14]

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.[15]

Ted Halstead served as New America's founding President and CEO from 1999 to 2007.[16] Steve Coll served as New America's second President,[17] before being replaced by Anne-Marie Slaughter in 2013.

Affiliation with GoogleEdit

New America has been criticized for its close links with Google, a leading sponsor. According to media reports, to please Google, New America in 2017 closed a whole research group—the Open Markets group—and terminated its employee Barry Lynn,[12] who had criticized Google as a monopoly and called for it to be broken up.[11] Reportedly, Google made New America take this action because the researchers, including prominent young competition law scholar Lina Khan,[18] had lauded the EU's antitrust ruling against Google.[19] New America's president Anne-Marie Slaughter denied the allegations of improper influence by Google.[11]

Organization and structureEdit

The organization houses programs and initiatives that focus on domestic, economic and global issues;[20] and also houses a fellowship program.

Foreign policyEdit

Congressman Jim Moran speaking at New America Foundation

The organization's 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.[21] 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".[22]

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.


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"[23] 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.[24] In addition, in April 2010 the Committee's policy director, Marc Goldwein, joined President Obama's bipartisan Fiscal Commission.[25] Goldwein, 26, was also named one of the Forbes' "30 under 30".[26]

Education Policy ProgramEdit

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 programEdit

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".[27] Alumni of the program include Jacob Hacker, Megan McArdle, Katherine Boo, Robert Wright, Tim Wu, Chris Hayes, Romesh Ratnesar, David Auerbach, and Dayo Olopade.

Open Technology InstituteEdit

New America
TypePublic Policy Think Tank
Headquarters740 15th Street NW
Sarah Morris
New America hosts talks and public events on their program topics. Pictured is author Cory Doctorow speaking about copyright in June 2010.

The Open Technology Institute (OTI) is the technology program of the New America Foundation. OTI formulates policy and regulatory reforms to support open architectures and open-source innovations and facilitates the development and implementation of open technologies and communications networks. Additionally, OTI is actively developing open-source, low-cost community wireless networks, particularly in underserved areas.

Th 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.

New America NYCEdit

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.

Measurement LabEdit

Measurement Lab (M-Lab) is an open, distributed server platform for researchers to deploy Internet measurement tools founded in 2009 by Vint Cerf, Sascha Meinrath, and several other academics, researchers, and institutions. The project has grown to have 45 servers at 15 locations around the globe and currently supports five tools.[28] All the data collected by M-Lab is made available to the research community.

Commotion WirelessEdit

Commotion is an open source "device-as-infrastructure" communication platform that integrates users' existing cell phones, Wi-Fi-enabled computers, and other wireless-capable devices to create community- and metro-scale, peer-to-peer communications networks.[29] The project builds on existing mesh wireless technologies and gained widespread attention when, in 2011, the U.S. State Department announced funding for Commotion to lower barriers for building distributed communications networks. The project has been described as the "Internet in a Suitcase" by The New York Times.[30]

Red Hook Wi-FiEdit

Founded in 2011 through a collaboration with OTI and Commotion Wireless, Red Hook Wi-Fi is a mesh network which services residents of Red Hook, Brooklyn, in New York City. The Wi-Fi network reached prominence in 2012, when Hurricane Sandy shutdown many internet and communication systems throughout the city, but Red Hook remained connected through its mesh network.[31][32]


As of 2017, the New America had net assets of $26,788,098.[1]

Funding detailsEdit

Board of DirectorsEdit

As of 2020:[34]


  1. ^ a b c "New America Foundation" (PDF). Foundation Center. Retrieved February 8, 2020.
  2. ^ "Press Room". New America. Retrieved August 3, 2018.
  3. ^ Nissenbaum, Dion (June 28, 2015). "Author Warns U.S. Military to Focus on China". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved July 8, 2015.
  4. ^ "Steve Coll, New America President, Stepping Down, Writing 'Ghost Wars' Sequel". The Huffington Post. June 25, 2012. Retrieved April 29, 2014.
  5. ^ Hogan, Clara (April 3, 2013). "ANNE-MARIE SLAUGHTER NAMED NEXT PRESIDENT OF NEW AMERICA FOUNDATION". NEW AMERICA FOUNDATION. Archived from the original on April 7, 2013. Retrieved April 3, 2013.
  6. ^ "Board of Directors". New America. Retrieved November 9, 2019.
  7. ^ ""Hidden Tribes," the new report centrists are using to explain away polarization, explained' Sequel". Vox. June 25, 2012. Retrieved July 14, 2019.
  8. ^ Gunn, Dwyer. "Betsy DeVos Is Right, the U.S. Should Rethink Higher Ed–Just Not the Way She Wants To". Pacific Standard. Retrieved January 31, 2019.
  9. ^ Nakamura, David (January 10, 2019). "'The story keeps changing': Trump falsely asserts he never promised Mexico would directly pay for the border wall". Washington Post.
  10. ^ "Eric Schmidt". New America. Retrieved August 2, 2018.
  11. ^ 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.
  12. ^ a b Slaughter, Anne-Marie. "New America's Response to the New York Times". New America. Retrieved August 30, 2017.
  13. ^ a b "Our Story". New America. Retrieved February 13, 2020.
  14. ^ Fineman, Howard (November 12, 2002). "Living Politics: Election Gave '04 Brokers More Clout". Newsweek. Retrieved August 2, 2018.
  15. ^ "Our Funding". New America Foundation. Retrieved April 14, 2015.
  16. ^ Morin, Richard; Deane, Claudia (December 10, 2001). "Big Thinker. Ted Halstead's New America Foundation Has It All: Money, Brains and Buzz". Style Section. The Washington Post. p. 1.
  17. ^ Weil, Martin; Silverman, Elissa (July 23, 2007). "Author, Ex-Post Editor To Head D.C. Think Tank". Washington Post.
  18. ^ Meyer, Robinson (June 12, 2018). "How to Fight Amazon (Before You Turn 29)". The Atlantic. Retrieved September 8, 2018.
  19. ^ Rushe, Dominic (August 30, 2017). "Google-funded thinktank fired scholar over criticism of tech firm". The Guardian. Retrieved August 30, 2017.
  20. ^ "Programs". New America. Retrieved August 2, 2018.
  21. ^ "Peter Bergen's "The Longest War"". The Washington Post. February 17, 2011. Retrieved May 2, 2014.
  22. ^ Risen, James (April 11, 2004). "What Clarke Knew and When He Knew It". New York Times. Retrieved December 28, 2013.
  23. ^ Nocera, Joe (October 10, 2011). "This Time, It Really Is Different". New York Times. Retrieved December 18, 2014.
  24. ^ Brady, Jessica (November 15, 2011). "Maya MacGuineas in High Demand During Fiscal Debate". Roll Call. Retrieved December 18, 2014.
  25. ^ Froomkin, Dan (December 6, 2017). "Obama's Fiscal Commission: What's Going On In There?". HuffPost. Retrieved August 2, 2018.
  26. ^ "30 Under 30". Forbes. December 20, 2011. Retrieved December 18, 2014.
  27. ^ "Jobs & Fellowships". New America. Retrieved February 13, 2020.
  28. ^ "Measurement Lab About". Archived from the original on June 22, 2012. Retrieved July 2, 2012.
  29. ^ "Commotion Wireless". Retrieved July 2, 2012.
  30. ^ James Glanz and John Markoff (June 12, 2011). "U.S. Underwrites Internet Detour Around Censors". The New York Times. Retrieved August 8, 2011.
  31. ^ "United States of America Global Information Society Watch". Retrieved April 15, 2019.
  32. ^ "Rising to the Challenge: Red Hook Initiative". NYCEDC.
  33. ^ "Financial Summary 2018" (PDF). New America. Retrieved February 11, 2020.
  34. ^ "Board of Directors". New America. Retrieved February 13, 2020.

External linksEdit


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