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

Margaret BrodkinMargaret 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 Team

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, campaign compliance, fundraising, communication and public administration.  The team is committed to social justice and sees the equitable distribution of resources as core to a just society.

50+1 Strategies: Our Political Consultants

We are so fortunate to have one of the country’s leading political consulting firms as our go-to partner on so many of the aspects of planning for and running a ballot measure campaign for children and youth services.  They describe themselves as a “diverse group of professionals with demonstrated success in the public, private and nonprofit sectors.”  They “bring heart and hustle to every aspect of civic engagement, campaign strategy, management and community mobilization to make a lasting impact on the biggest issues facing our communities.”

Nicole Derse

Nicole DerseNicole Derse is a Founding Principal of 50+1 Strategies whose 20-year long career has been focused on helping candidates, communities and causes win on issues that matter.

Nicole has led the 50+1 Strategies team since the company’s creation in 2012. She has served as a strategic advisor, campaign manager, organizing guru, creative thinker and motivator to more than 250 of the firm’s clients. However, she is most proud of the extraordinary team of professionals that she has helped build, support and grow at 50+1.

Throughout her career, Nicole has brought effective and inspired community engagement to local, state and national campaigns. She was one of the first staffers for Obama for America in 2007, the National Training Director for Organizing for America and a Senior Advisor on Hillary Clinton’s 2016 primary campaign. She has worked on important issues across California as well, from stem cell research to affordable housing to workers rights.

In 2015, Nicole was awarded the American Association of Political Consultants’ (AAPC) “40 under 40 Award” for her work leading successful campaigns throughout California and across the country. The following year, she won the AAPC’s “Ballot Measure Campaign of the Year Award” for her work leading the San Francisco campaign to support home sharing. She has also received the San Francisco Women’s Political Committee Visionary Award.

Nicole holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Urban Studies from Macalester College and a Master’s Degree in Literature and Creative Writing from Middlebury College’s Bread Loaf School of English. She served as a member of the adjunct faculty at the University of San Francisco’s McCarthy Center for Public Service & the Common Good. She also serves on the National Advisory Board for Organizing for Action.

When not working with the fabulous team at 50+1, Nicole loves to write, read excellent novels, hike the hills of the Bay Area and eat popcorn and drink wine with her amazing friends and family. She lives in Lafayette, CA with her husband Alex and their dogs Luna and Rocco.

Nicole brings her excellent team into supporting her work with FNG:

Jenn Edwards

Jenn EdwardsJenn Edwards serves as the vice president of marketing at 50+1 Strategies. She is a seasoned marketing and communications strategist with expertise in both digital and analogue media strategy, placement and performance, with an emphasis on diverse audiences. She received her bachelor’s degree in area studies and Spanish from the University of Texas at Austin and her MBA in marketing strategy from the University of Rochester.

Jenn got her start in progressive politics as an undergraduate at UT at Austin, where she was a volunteer organizer for Barack Obama’s first presidential campaign. She went on to volunteer for Obama’s reelection campaign after completing a teaching fellowship with the New Teacher Project in New Orleans, LA aimed at combating the school-to-prison pipeline. She also volunteered on political campaigns in Michigan in 2018, including the Michigan Democratic Party’s push to elect Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrest II, as well as Rashida Tlaib’s run for Congress.

Prior to joining 50+1 Strategies, Jenn worked in marketing at Ford Motor Company, where she oversaw multi-million dollar marketing and advertising campaigns targeting diverse consumers. She subsequently worked with Elizabeth Warren for President and later led statewide digital programs for Mike Bloomberg for President and U.S. Senator Chris Coons. In the two latter campaigns respectively, she led the state digital strategy in Maine and Delaware to help support Democratic wins in the 2020 election cycle. At 50+1 Strategies, Jenn has overseen several critical campaigns, including diverse paid media work supporting President Biden’s legislative wins, such as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal, and the digital media for L.A. Mayor Karen Bass’s historic campaign.

Jenn has also worked in the nonprofit and international fields. She is a military brat who grew up all over the country, though her family originally hails from sunny San Diego, California. She and her husband Daniel, along with their baby daughter Lucia, love spending time in nature with their Pomsky, Zorro. Jenn also loves reading, traveling, gastronomy, and spending time in museums. Her political passions include racial and economic justice, women’s rights and ending mass incarceration.

Nicole Serrano

Nicile SerranoNicole Serrano joined 50+1 Strategies in 2022 to serve as a campaign strategist managing local, congressional, and statewide races while also working with national organizations moving the needle in battleground states. She has worked for prominent progressive champions in highly competitive races, including Karen Bass for Mayor of Los Angeles, Katie Porter for Congress, and Planned Parenthood Votes.

Prior to joining 50+1 Strategies, Nicole graduated from the University of Southern California with a bachelor’s degree in political science with honors. Following graduation, she served in policy and communication roles for Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.

Nicole later served in several leadership roles, managing staff as well as political, organizing, and fundraising departments on campaigns around the country. She has served as deputy campaign manager for Andrea Campbell for Mayor of Boston, Massachusetts organizing director for the Biden/Harris campaign in 2020, and deputy campaign manager for Jesse Mermell’s run for Congress.

Derek Lee

Derek LeeAs a native fifth-generation San Franciscan, Derek Lee has a passion for local politics and working to make his hometown a better place to live. Derek graduated with a bachelor’s degree in politics from the University of California, Santa Cruz, where he also was sometimes mistaken for a film major. He does not surf.

Derek’s first step into a larger world was as an intern for then-San Francisco Supervisor David Chiu. Since then, Derek has worked and volunteered in several capacities on a variety of campaigns. A jack of all trades, he has operated in both field and campaign finance, and has also utilized his skills in research, social media, photography, videography, and even website design.

At 50+1, Derek is responsible for the day-to-day management of campaign finances and expenditures, ensuring that campaigns are compliant with campaign finance regulations. He also provides essential support to campaigns in the areas of infrastructure and procurement. In addition to his compliance duties, Derek directs 50+1’s research efforts, applying his encyclopedic political knowledge to the critical research that informs strategy.

Derek is a founding board member of the United Democratic Club of San Francisco and the Eastern Neighborhoods Democratic Club. He currently serves as vice president of finance for both clubs.

Derek’s hobbies include being a huge film buff, karaoke, photography, learning random trivia, playing the violin (and dabbling in mandolin, ukulele, and banjo), listening to bluegrass or Hamilton, and utilizing the Oxford comma.

Andrew Sinn

Andrew Sinn

Andrew Sinn serves as chief operating officer for 50+1 Strategies, overseeing the firm’s finances and business affairs. He advises candidates, elected officials, ballot measure committees, PACs, and nonprofits on issues regarding campaign finance, lobbying, government ethics, and election law. Andrew also serves as counsel and treasurer to various political committees, where he provides expertise on matters of campaign compliance and reporting, and general project development/operational strategy.

Andrew came to 50+1 from New York, where he served as a judicial clerk and later as a consultant to various ventures and start-ups. A consummate perfectionist, Andrew understands the importance of details, especially in the fine print, and leverages his legal and business backgrounds to bring a pragmatic energy and systematic approach to the 50+1 team.

Andrew is a member of the State Bar of California and the California Political Attorneys Association, and holds degrees in law, finance, and philosophy from New York University School of Law and the University of Washington. He served as a graduate editor on the NYU Journal of Law and Business. A native of San Francisco, Andrew is proud to be part of a progressively-minded team that advances the critical issues facing the communities in which he grew up.


Other FNG Consultant Team Members

Jamileh Ebrahimi

Jamileh EbrahimiJamileh Ebrahimi has been the Youth Organizing Director at RYSE, a youth agency in Richmond, California, since 2012. As Youth Organizing Director, she builds a vibrant youth organizing culture both at the Center and in the Richmond community.  Jamileh brings her rich experience as a leader in the 3 campaigns which resulted in the Richmond Fund for Children and Youth.  She became an expert in bringing youth to the fore in local ballot measure efforts.

Jamileh is deeply committed to education, organizing, organizational and community sustainability, and movement building, and through her 18+ years of community organizing, she has discovered the importance of community empowerment, healthy living, and justice. She works to ensure that young people serve as key stakeholders and decision-makers on issues and policies impacting their individual and collective health and well-being. Before joining RYSE, Jamileh started organizing for change in Youth Together (YT) at the age of 13. Following high school, she became the Regional Organizer at YT where she worked for seven years organizing the regional Ethnic Studies conference, campaign planning, and doing local, regional, statewide, and national coalition work for educational justice. She was a member of the BSU at Berkeley Community College, Organize Da B.A.Y., Schools Not Jails Coalition, and the Just Act Core Group, where she had the opportunity to travel to Brazil for the World Social Forum.

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, the treasurer and member of the Board of Directors of Greenpeace International, the treasurer and member of the Board of Directors of SPUR, a Bay Area urban policy think tank, and a lecturer at the University of San Francisco.  He is currently a member of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission and a board member of the Children’s Funding Project.

James Harrison

James HarrisonJames has practiced law at Remcho, Johansen & Purcell, LLP, one of California’s premier election and government law firms, for more than 20 years.  He is widely recognized as one of the state’s leading experts on the drafting and defense of complex ballot measures at both the state and local level.  He also has expertise in complex conflict of interest matters, election law, and campaign finance issues of all types, and the laws governing public agencies and non-profits. James’ litigation experience includes representing clients in state and federal trials and in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the California Supreme Court, and various California courts of appeal.

James’s ballot measure practice has included numerous pre- and post-election challenges, including the successful defense of Governor Brown’s criminal justice reform measure, Proposition 57 (Brown v. Superior Court, 63 Cal.4th 335 (2016), in the first-ever challenge to newly enacted legislation allowing amendments of qualified ballot measures prior to their submission to the voters. He was involved in drafting and then successfully defending through trial and appeals Proposition 71, which established the first-ever state stem cell agency (California Family Bioethics Council v. California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, 147 Cal.App.4th 1319 (2007)) and Proposition 10, the tobacco tax that funds a state and regional system of early childhood education (California Assoc. of Retail Tobacconists v. State, 109 Cal.App.4th 792 (2003)).  He was trial and appellate counsel in the successful federal court challenge to Proposition 208, a statewide campaign finance measure (California Prolife Council Political Action Committee v. Scully, 164 F.3d 1189 (9th Cir. 1999)) and successfully challenged Proposition 213 regarding auto insurance (Horwich v. Superior Court, 21 Cal.4th 272 (1999))..  He has also been instrumental in the drafting of Proposition 26 (2000), Proposition 82 (2006), Proposition 87 (2006), and Proposition 47 (2014).

At the local level, James has provided drafting and litigation assistance on ballot measures in the cities of Sacramento, Malibu, Apple Valley, Alameda, Pleasanton, and Mountain View, among others.  He was involved in drafting the Berkeley soda tax, the Alameda early care sales tax, and has advised many of the coalitions and advocates in the Funding the Next Generation network.  He has drafted model legislation to move funding from Juvenile Halls to youth development.

On election matters, James has been involved in litigation at every stage of the process.  He successfully sought judicial relief to compel the counting of late-delivered ballots in Riverside County and represented Alameda County in litigation challenging its ballot counting methods.  James has litigated all aspects of ballot pamphlet challenges at the local and state level  James is a trusted advisor to government agencies, candidates, committees, and non-profit organizations.  He served as interim General Counsel for the California First 5 Commission (1999), and as Board Counsel (2004-2014) and General Counsel (2014-2017) for the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine.  James currently serves as outside counsel to the Consumer Attorneys of California, the American Civil Liberties Union, Alameda County First 5, and the California First 5 Association, and numerous ballot measure committees, among others.

James was admitted to the California Bar in 1992.  He is a graduate of Duke University (B.A., cum laude, 1988) and the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law (J.D., 1992).  Prior to joining Remcho, Johansen & Purcell, Mr. Harrison was a litigation associate at Morrison & Foerster for four years.

David Metz

David MetzDavid 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.

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.