April 25, 2017


Barack Obama Again Commits to Mentoring Progressive Talent

By: Roger Custer

In his first public appearance since leaving the presidency, Barack Obama gathered young people and talked about the importance of mentoring talent.  He said,

The single most important thing I can do … is prepare the next generation of leadership to take up the baton.”

This is the second time Obama has publicly explained his commitment to young professionals.  The first time was in this interview with NPR’s Steve Inskeep.  “What I am interested in is just developing a whole new generation of talent,” he quoted.

The former president will probably raise tens of millions for these efforts through his own foundation.  This is in addition to seven progressive organizations that specifically mentor and coach young progressive talent in the same way that AFF does for liberty-minded talent.  They are active in more than 200 cities and have more than $6,000,000 in revenues each year…

New Leaders Council is most similar to AFF.  Their mission is “to recruit, train and promote the progressive political entrepreneurs of tomorrow — trendsetters, elected officials and civically-engaged leaders in business and industry who will shape the future landscape.”  With revenues of almost $860,000 last year, they have a vision “to train 10,000 progressive leaders in communities across the United States by 2020.”  Their programs include chapters, fellowships, conferences, and mentoring.

Young Elected Officials Network is part of People for the American Way.  They are “the first and only national initiative to provide a network of support to the newest generation of progressive leaders at every level of elected office.”  They invest “in the full pipeline of progressive leadership” and provide resources for young people “to effectively impact policy, foster their own development and professional growth, and elevate their leadership in the broader progressive movement.”  This program had a budget of $2,335,000 last year for national conferences, policy academies, teleconferences, and media.

The New Organizing Institute recently merged with Wellstone Action.  Their mission before the merge was to “train a new generation of progressive leaders in cutting-edge tactics of organizing, focusing on the latest skill-sets in digital strategy and data management. We also serve existing practitioners through our community events and by partnering with organizations throughout the space to support their work.”  Their revenues before the merge were more than $1,070,000 and programs included “data and digital trainings for progressive campaigners and organizers.”

Democratic Gain is “the association for progressive political professionals and organizations. Our members benefit from our premier job and talent banks; individualized career counseling; and training and certifications.”  They recently merged with a list serve called “Jobs That are Left” which is “one of the best-known job seeking resources within the progressive movement and has helped countless political professionals find employment.”  Their financial information is not available but they claim more than 3,000 members and 20 people on staff.

Living Liberally is a private LLC that provides “progressive action through social interaction.”  Their chapters in 178 cities in 44 states provide regular forums for young people to network, watch films, discuss books, share a meal, or watch a comedy routine.  As an LLC, financial information is not available and it is unclear how they are funded.  Their theory is “we take our politics where we gather, socialize, learn, love and live. We create easy entryways into progressive political involvement, where you can find a community that shares your values.”

Generation Progress is also active among Millennials.  They write “as our 90 million strong Millennial generation enters the work force and voting booths, our programs will create an ecosystem for young progressives to develop public policy solutions, communicate effectively, gain leadership and advocacy skills, and build our grassroots power to create progressive change.”

Young Turks bills itself as the “largest online news show in the world.”  It hosts regular content on YouTube about ideas, sports, politics, and popular culture with a progressive and insurgent spin.

When you support AFF, you invest in the next generation to ensure that the ideas of free markets, limited government, and personal responsibility become culturally popular across the country.