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A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

NextGen Climate Action/NextGen America


Players Guide 2020Political leanings: Democratic

2018 total spending: $63.8 million

NextGen Climate Action Committee, a super PAC, and NextGen America, a 501(c)(4), were founded in 2013 by San Francisco billionaire and climate-change activist Tom Steyer, who ran unsuccessfully for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. 

In 2012, Steyer, who is reported to be worth $1.6 billion, sold Farallon Capital Management, the San Francisco-based hedge fund he founded in 1986. He then shifted his focus to philanthropy and political advocacy, spending more on the 2014 and 2016 federal elections than any other donor.

In 2017, Steyer made headlines for announcing he would spend $20 million on television ads calling for President Donald Trump’s impeachment. That year Steyer launched Need to Impeach, a super PAC that has raised and spent about $31 million since it formed in 2017, according to the Federal Election Commission. 

In the 2018 election cycle, NextGen Climate Action Committee spent $63.8 million, including $4.1 million to support Democratic candidates through independent expenditures — which are defined by the FEC as political advertising that advocates for or against a specific candidate.

The super PAC spent more than $900,000 on the 2018 Nevada Senate race to help Democrat Jacky Rosen defeat Republican incumbent Sen. Dean Heller. It also spent about $322,000 to support then-Sen. Bill Nelson, a Florida Democrat, who lost to Republican challenger Rick Scott.

Steyer donated $58.5 million to the super PAC for the 2018 campaign. Other major donors included Marcy Carsey, a co-founder of Carsey-Werner Productions, and Fleur Fairman, a former partner at Farallon Capital. Carsey, whose studio produced major television shows such as That ’70s Show, Roseanne and The Cosby Show, gave $600,000, and Fairman donated $300,000 to the super PAC during the 2018 election cycle

In July 2019, Steyer announced his bid for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. After a poor performance in the South Carolina primary in late February, Steyer ended his campaign.

As of Aug. 31, NextGen Climate Action Committee has raised nearly $40 million for the 2020 campaign cycle. Nearly all of it has come from Steyer, who has contributed roughly $38 million to the super PAC, according to the FEC.

In total, Steyer has donated more than $55.5 million so far to Democratic candidates and liberal causes in the 2020 campaign cycle — more than any other donor, according to the Center for Responsive Politics

NextGen Climate Action Committee has spent almost $40 million in the 2020 cycle, including more than $8.5 million to support Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and oppose Trump. 

NextGen America, formerly known as NextGen Climate Action, is also helping Biden. The nonprofit says its goal in 2020 is to “[i]dentify, engage, and mobilize people under the age of 35 who are less than likely to vote or who are not currently registered to vote.” It endorsed Biden in May and has committed to spending $45 million to help mobilize the youth vote for Biden during the general election.

Steyer endorsed Biden for president in April and has personally engaged in various efforts to support his campaign.

In July, Steyer organized a virtual fundraiser that reportedly raised $4 million for Biden. Steyer has been named to Biden’s Climate Engagement Advisory Council, which the campaign stated will work “to develop and execute plans to engage key communities most affected by climate change and environmental injustices, including young Americans, communities of color, union households, and more.”