Securing our Future: Leadership to provide opportunity for Americans facing an uncertain time


See this year's finalists


See this year's judges


With the presidential primary process heating up, Americans have a unique opportunity to debate the direction of the country, the society we want to build for present and future generations, and the policies required to achieve our goals.

As a backdrop for this debate, Americans are facing a time of tremendous change, uncertainty, and insecurity, with an Administration that at times seems intent on exacerbating rather than addressing their challenges. While many national statistics point to a robust and fully recovered economy, including historically low unemployment and big gains in state tax revenues, the underlying reality is one of unstable short and long-term job prospects, major impediments to acquiring safety net benefits, and a lack of faith that their kids will have the opportunity to be better off than previous generations. 

In addition, immigrants, minorities, women, and others deal with continuing, and, in some cases, increasing barriers to opportunity. And all of us are put at risk by dangerous damage from a warming climate unless dramatic action is taken.

In the midst of these growing concerns, perhaps the biggest source of optimism is that leaders outside Washington are providing a blueprint for a more secure and vibrant future. Innovations in public policy, whether in healthcare or college savings accounts or emission reductions are almost always tested, adopted and spread at the state and local levels first, and that is happening now in diverse communities.

NewDEALers are at the forefront of these efforts to make good on the promise of states and cities as laboratories of democracy. They represent the best of a new generation of leaders from across the country -- from urban centers to rural towns and in red, blue, and purple districts -- who have powerful messages, experiences, and proposals that must be heard as part of the “Ideas Primary.” This year’s Ideas Challenge aims to identify and elevate into our national conversation the most effective solutions they are pursuing for the challenges affecting our economic well-being, overall quality of life, and the ability of government to work effectively to meet communities’ needs.

2019 Award Categories:

Adapting to the future of work with ideas for ensuring everyone, including traditionally underserved populations, has opportunities to access good jobs and supporting an entrepreneurial ecosystem, while also including the health care, housing, and other safety net elements necessary for security and stability

Expanding access to education, with opportunities at every level -- from early childhood to post-secondary -- to prepare students to make the most of their abilities

Securing our communities and our planet with ideas for states, cities, and regions to address climate change

Empowering disadvantaged populations with policies that ensure people facing systemic  obstacles have a fair shot to contribute and thrive

Healing our democracy and rebuilding community by promoting the right to vote, effectively and efficiently solving problems, and engaging people in civic society.