Our Founder and Director

“Thank you so much Margaret for coming all the way here and speaking so perfectly to our Board of Supervisors. You said what they need to hear and it was so great to have this winning advocate in front of them reminding them of the reality of staff needs and the possibilities of taxes. It was spot on and we appreciate the message you sent. Onward!”
– Leah Benz, Sonoma County

Margaret Brodkin

MargaretBrodkinMargaret Brodkin is the founder and leader of Funding the Next Generation. Brodkin is a nationally recognized advocate for children, who has spearheaded innovations in a wide range of local public policies, including San Francisco’s groundbreaking Children’s Fund. She graduated from Oberlin College and earned her social work degree at Case Western Reserve University. After 12 years of social work experience in mental health and community centers, she became Executive Director of Coleman Advocates for Children and Youth, a position she held for 26 years. During that time her leadership led to over a billion new dollars added to the San Francisco budget for services to children, youth and families, and major local policy changes in child welfare, juvenile justice, youth development, after-school, and child care. Her work also led to new structures in government that ensured accountability, transparency and authentic community engagement – including the Department of Children, Youth and Families, the Juvenile Probation Commission and the San Francisco Youth Commission.

In 2004, she was appointed Director of the Department of Children, Youth and Their Families, the agency which manages the Children’s Fund. She developed new programs and policies to strengthen neighborhood institutions, expand after-school, serve transitional age youth, and create partnerships with over a dozen other city agencies. In 2009, she launched New Day for Learning, a collaboration between the city and the school district to promote community schools. Since 2013, Brodkin has led her own consulting business, and has served as a lecturer at SF State University where she teaches public administration and social change.  She speaks throughout the country about advocacy for children.

In 2014, Brodkin founded Funding the Next Generation, which she currently directs.

> Visit Margaret’s website

Our Consultants

Funding the Next Generation has assembled a team of the some of the top people in the fields needed to support this work – political consultation, public financing, polling, organizing and public administration.  The team is committed to social justice and sees the equitable distribution of resources as core to a just society.

Sheldon Gen

Sheldon-GenDr. Gen is the Director of the Public Administration Program at San Francisco State University, and advises students in the public policy emphasis. He studies public engagement in the policy making processes, and focuses on environmental and education policy issues. These interests stem from his prior employment and consultancies with many public and nonprofit organizations in the areas of environment, education, transportation, and development. He holds a B.S. and a license in civil engineering, an M.P.A., and a Ph.D. in public policy. He is also an alumnus of the Presidential Management Fellowship and the Peace Corps.

In the MPA program, Dr. Gen often teaches applied research courses and he uses those courses to engage students in service projects with local government agencies and nonprofit organizations. Through this kind of arrangement, he has delivered over 20 agency reports with over 30 student co-authors. A few of these engagements have also led to conference presentations and journal publications.

Ed Harrington

Ed-HarringtonEd Harrington was everyone’s favorite public administrator when he was Controller of San Francisco and later as the General Manager of the Public Utilities Commission, until he retired in 2012. He was revered for his integrity, knowledge, accessibility and commitment to public service.

During the 4 and 1/2 years that Harrington was General Manager of the SFPUC, he was also the Chair of the Water Utility Climate Alliance composed of 10 large water utilities in the United States with 45 million customers, focused on providing leadership and collaboration on climate change issues affecting water utilities and the customers they serve.

From 1991 to 2008, Harrington was the Controller for the City and County of San Francisco managing the City’s budget, payroll, accounting and auditing programs. As Controller he started the City Services Auditor function which provides audit, performance management and strategic planning services to City Departments. He oversaw the creation of San Francisco’s Children’s Baseline Budget, which involved many hours of negotiations with children’s advocates and city department heads. He monitored the implementation of San Francisco’s Children’s Fund throughout his tenure as Controller.

Harrington was on the Board of the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada from 1999 to 2006 and President of the organization in 2004. From 2008 to 2012, he served on the Board of the Financial Accounting Foundation that oversees the work of the Financial and Governmental Accounting Standards Board for the United States, where he co-chaired the Standard Setting Oversight committee and served on the Executive and Appointments and Evaluations Committees. Harrington received his license as a Certified Public Accountant while employed at KPMG, an international accounting firm, in the early 1980’s.

Harrington has been an officer in the Harvey Milk Lesbian and Gay Democratic Club in San Francisco and is currently on the Board of Directors of Greenpeace International.

Jose-Luis Mejia

José-Luis was born and raised in San Francisco and East Oakland to immigrants from El Salvador and Guatemala. José-Luis ‘flipped the script’ from experiencing violence and the street economy to dedicating his life to creating positive change and opportunity locally and nationally through direct service and policy advocacy. José-Luis has worked in youth development for the past ten years as a mentorship, life-skills, multi-media, and rites-of-passage facilitator. He also has extensive experience in the youth and young adult policy sector as a youth engagement strategist, qualitative researcher, advocate, trainer, and public speaker.

Most recently, he served as Associate Director at Transitional Age Youth San Francisco (TAYSF), where he worked with the Children & Youth Fund Community Coalition (CYFCC) to win the inclusion of TAY in the reauthorization of San Francisco’s historic Children’s Fund. José-Luis is the proud father of Iyari and Tekun and life-partner of Lizbett Calleros.

Jose-Luis is adding his expertise in youth development, youth training, and youth engagement to Funding the Next Generation through Coleman Advocates for Children and Youth.

David Metz

DavidMetzDavid Metz, a Partner in Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates (FM3), has provided opinion research and strategic guidance to hundreds of non-profit organizations, government agencies, businesses, and political campaigns in over 40 states since joining the firm in 1998.

In 2012, Metz’s research helped a diverse variety of campaigns to success at the ballot box around the country. They included Prop 39, a California ballot measure to close a corporate tax loophole and fund clean energy programs; Pre-K for SA, San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro’s ballot measure to fund early childhood education; an independent expenditure campaign to elect Martin Heinrich to the U.S. Senate in New Mexico; a pair of statewide land and water conservation measures in Rhode Island; major local revenue measures in Houston, Portland, Sacramento and Austin; and four members of Congress and nearly a dozen state legislators in California, Washington and Iowa.

Dave’s other successful work on ballot measure campaigns has included tobacco prevention (California, Colorado, Florida, Nevada and Arizona), Indian gaming (Arizona and California), clean energy (California and Washington), early childhood education (Texas and Arizona), arts funding (Oregon and Minnesota), stem cell research (California and Missouri), transportation funding (California and Washington), and political reform (California and Illinois).

Metz has also provided opinion research on key message and policy issues to numerous environmental and conservation organizations and has specialized in providing community satisfaction, policy development and ballot measure feasibility surveys for major cities, including Oakland, Sacramento, San Francisco, and San Jose.

David Metz received his Bachelor’s degree in Government from Harvard University and his Master’s in Public Policy from the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California-Berkeley. His writing on politics has appeared in Campaigns & Elections magazine, and in Classifying by Race, an edited volume on the role of race in American politics. Metz may be reached at FM3’s Oakland office at (510) 451-9521, or at dave@fm3research.com.

Nicole Derse

Nicole is the co-founder and Principal of 50+1 Strategies, a political consulting firm which she started in 2012. She is one of the nation’s premier political organizers and consultants, and has a 95% win rate over the past four years. She has specialized in working at the grassroots level to elect community-based candidates and spearhead progressive initiatives.

She joined Obama For America in 2007, and rose to Field Director in her home state of Wisconsin. She then served as the National Director of Training and Organizational development from 2009 to 2011, and led trainings in 27 states and 4 countries. She is also a senior trainer on the Wellstone Action team.

Nicole has a BA from Macalester College, and MA from Middlebury College and is an adjunct member of San Francisco’s McCarthy Center for Public Service and the Common Good. She recently won the SF Women’s Political Committee’s Woman Visionary Award.

Nicole provides training and technical assistance for communities working with Funding the Next Generation to create children’s funds.

Reed Connell

Reed is the Managing Partner, Director of Policy & Advocacy of Social Change Partners.  Through over 15 years working in foster care, mental health, housing, and special education settings, Reed Connell has developed a sophisticated knowledge of childrenʼs policy development at all levels of government. For the past several years, Reed has worked with statewide and national coalitions to design, pass, and implement a range of important children’s legislation, including AB12, California’s implementation of the federal Fostering Connections to Success Act. From 2009 to 2013, Reed served as the Executive Director of the Alameda County Foster Youth Alliance, an effective and highly visible local advocacy agency. Reed has worked with advocates, providers, and coalitions around the state on issues related to local control and flexible financing in child welfare, the impacts of Realignment and Health Care Reform on child and adolescent mental health systems, and the development of accountability infrastructure.

Reed holds an MSW degree from UC Berkeley with a concentration in Management and Planning. He has particularly well-developed skills in research and analysis, strategy development, organizing, and coalition building. His primary areas of expertise include state and local budgeting processes, the interaction of various child-serving systems, and policy implementation.

Jill Wynns

Jill_wynnsJill Wynns was a school board member in the San Francisco Unified School District in San Francisco County for 24 years – the longest serving School Board member in the City. She is the 2013 Immediate Past President of the California School Boards Association. She is a major leader in the urban education community and an expert on California school finance, urban education reform issues and governance, charter schools, privatization of public schools, healthy school food programs and labor-management collaboration. She is the former director of a children’s advocacy organization and works as a consultant specializing in education issues, community organizing and development.

She has served on the board of the Council of Urban Boards of Education (CUBE) of the National School Boards Association, and is a former President of the Association of California Urban School Districts. She was a working group member of the California Master Plan for Education, served on the California Student Attendance Review Board and the California Title 1 Committee of Practitioners. She is an active participant in the Council of the Great City Schools, as well as CUBE, lobbying regularly on federal education issues. Wynns holds a Bachelor of Arts in humanities from New College at Hofstra University in New York.

Andrea Youngdahl

Andrea-YoungdahlAndrea Youngdahl has worked in the field of human services for over thirty years, holding a variety of community-based, public sector and consulting positions ranging from non-profit program development to statewide and national policy and planning. She was recently the Director of the Alameda County Interagency Children’s Policy Council (ICPC), a cross-agency, cross-system countywide effort to develop an integrated, more family and community-focused and outcomes-driven approach to children, youth and family services and policies.

Prior to joining the County, Andrea served for over eleven years as the Director for the City of Oakland’s Department of Human Services. Andrea has a long-standing commitment to systems change and social justice. She has served on a wide range of boards, commissions and planning bodies. Andrea holds a B.A. in Community Studies and Women’s Studies and a Master’s Degree, in Social Work Administration.


Funding the Next Generation is proud to have been a pro-bono project of Orrick, Herrington & Sutclifffe, LLP. Members of Orrick’s Public Finance Group who worked on the project include: Don Field, Jenna Magan, and Mary A. Collins.