Our Mission

New Dream empowers individuals, communities, and organizations to transform the ways they consume to improve well-being for people and the planet.

We envision a world in which the values that enhance well-being—relationships, service to others, spending time in nature, community building, and personal growth—are the primary drivers of societal behavior, resulting in reduced consumption and a healthier planet. 

  • We believe in basic economic security for all and the alignment of individual consumer decisions with ecological, social, and community values. 
  • We support the movement of individuals, communities, and organizations pursuing lifestyle change and community action.
  • We provide solutions-oriented tools, resources, and inspiration to change social norms in favor of reducing consumption.
  • Our overall goal is to change behavior, attitudes, and social norms to reduce consumption, build community, and improve quality of life.

We envision a society that pursues not just “more,” but more of what matters—and less of what doesn’t.

Learn More:

The Case for Well-Being


The Center for a New American Dream (now "New Dream") was founded in 1997 by a group of forward-thinking activists and philanthropists who sought to draw greater attention to the links between individual action, social justice, and broader environmental impacts, and between excess materialism and negative impacts on human well-being, including children’s development. 

With its founding, New Dream sparked a new and unprecedented national conversation on materialism, living in balance, and the hidden costs of a high-consumption society. The organization's focus on the intersections between consumption, environmental degradation, and quality of life have made it truly unique among environmental and social justice organizations.

New Dream has garnered significant achievements over the years, including:

  • Being one of the first organizations to advocate for “more fun with less stuff” and to celebrate the refuse-reduce-reuse-recycle approach to consuming material goods. 
  • Conducting highly effective campaigns that raised public awareness around issues of consumption and educated consumers on ways to change their consumption patterns within their own homes and communities.
  • Creating a national network of government procurement officials dedicated to purchasing environmentally and socially responsible products, including working with Massachusetts to create standards for green cleaning products that were subsequently adopted by dozens of manufacturers, states, and other entities.
  • Engaging our members to convince office supply retailer Staples to increase the percentage of post-consumer waste in its paper products and to stop stocking paper from endangered forests.
  • Convincing the U.S. House of Representatives to shift to 100% post-consumer waste recycled copy paper for all 435 congressional offices.
  • Collecting 70,000 carbon-reduction pledges in only six months from individuals across the U.S. through our Carbon Conscious Consumer (C3) campaign.
  • Shining a light on the negative impacts of advertising on children’s brain development through partnerships with the World Wildlife Fund, Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, and others.
  • Releasing three books, More Fun Less Stuff and What Kids Really Want That Money Can't Buy, both authored by New Dream founder Betsy Taylor, and Sustainable Planet: Solutions for the 21st Century, co-edited by Taylor and fellow founder Juliet Schor.
  • Launching and spinning off the Responsible Purchasing Network, which continues to thrive as an independent entity.
  • Starting the first of its kind non-material gift registry (now called SoKind) to enable engaged couples, expectant parents, and others to request gifts that reflect their values, reduce waste, and serve their community. 
  • Helping to raise more than $70,000 for innovative community projects (ranging from tool libraries to community gardens) through our Neighborhood Challenge micro-grants program, in partnership with ioby. 
  • Providing global leadership through the United Nations, the President's Council on Sustainable Development, and other entities raising awareness about the need for limits to growth and an economy built on sustainable rather than excessive consumption.
  • Forming an active, engaged, and vocal community of over 100,000 members.
  • Generating more than 6,000 media mentions in print, television, and radio, plus widespread acknowledgement online via podcasts, blogs, and other multimedia platforms around the world.

In 2017, the Center for a New American Dream underwent a strategic restructuring and name change in order to streamline programs and better respond to the needs of a growing audience. It is now known simply as New Dream and is currently a Joint Plan of Work Partner of Virginia Organizing, a tax-exempt organization that accepts contributions on behalf of New Dream.

While American-style consumerism and the drive to achieve the “American Dream” are largely to blame for normalizing high-consumption lifestyles, the name update reflects the need to help individuals and communities around the world reduce consumerism and materialism.

Advisory Council

Matt Stinchcomb, Chair – Co-founder, Etsy; Executive Director, Good Work Institute

Jason Greenwald, Vice-Chair – Strategic Communications Adviser

Tracy Bowen – Former Executive Director, Center for a New American Dream

Kelley Dennings – Behavior and Social Change expert; former New Dream fellow 

Shara Drew – Former Director of Kids & Commercialism Program, New Dream

Randi Mail – Environmental Professional, Strategic Planner, Writer and Speaker; Recycling Director, Cambridge, MA (2002–16)

Jeanne Nakamura – Associate Professor of Psychology and Co-founder, Quality of Life Research Center, Claremont Graduate University; Co-editor, Applied Positive Psychology

Wendy Philleo  Former Executive Director, Center for a New American Dream; former Board Member, Center for a New American Dream; Executive Director, Generation 180

Edna Rienzi  Former Director of Programs, New Dream

Kristen Strader – Freelance Artist; Campaign Coordinator, Public Citizen

Mark Valentine – Strategy and Management Expert for Nonprofit Organizations; Founder, ReFrame It Consulting

Emeritus Advisory Council

Liz Barratt-Brown  Senior Adviser, Natural Resources Defense Council

Christine Carter – Sociologist and Senior Fellow, UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center; Author, The Sweet Spot: How to Find Your Groove at Home and Work (2015) and Raising Happiness: 10 Simple Steps for More Joyful Kids and Happier Parents (2011).

Robert Engelman  Senior Fellow, Worldwatch Institute

Caitlin Frauton  Founder, DIY Wedding Mentor

Bea Johnson, blogger and author, Zero Waste Home

Tim Kasser  Professor of Psychology, Knox College; Author, The High Price of Materialism

Holly Minch  Communications and Strategy Expert; Founder, LightBox Collaborative

Vicki Robin  Co-founder, Center for a New American Dream; Author, Your Money or Your Life: Transforming Your Relationship With Money and Achieving Financial Independence

Juliet Schor  Co-founder, Center for a New American Dream; Professor of Sociology, Boston College

Michael Silberman  Campaign Strategist; Global Director, Mobilisation Lab; Adjunct Faculty, George Washington University

Gus Speth  Co-founder, Natural Resources Defense Council; Professor of Law, Vermont Law School; Author, America the Possible: Manifesto for a New Economy

Betsy Taylor  Former Executive Director, Center for a New American Dream; Strategic & Philanthropic Consultant; Founder, Breakthrough Strategies & Solutions

Jeff Yeager  Author, The Ultimate Cheapskate book series

(Organizations listed for identification purposes only)

What people have said about New Dream

Robert Reich, former U.S. Secretary of Labor: “[A] a bold and gutsy group. Through a combination of public outreach and well-targeted advocacy, [New Dream] is forging the way toward a more equitable and sustainable future.”

Danny Glover, actor: “[New Dream] helps Americans understand that the current model of overconsuming not only affects our quality of life and the environment, but is also an issue of social and economic justice. I strongly support this very valuable work.”

Bill Bradley, former U.S. Senator: “[New Dream] shows the connection between protecting our environment and achieving social justice. Both are essential for the shrinking world of the 21st Century and both will be enhanced by the work of [New Dream].”

Meryl Streep, actor “[A]n environmental group with vision, common sense, and best of all, a sense of humor. By challenging and inspiring people across the country to make simple but extremely important changes in their consumer behavior, [New Dream] is helping to restore balance to both the planet and our lives.”

Barbara Kingsolver, author: “I believe with all my heart there is still time, and still hope, for Americans to reorder our lives around the ideals of kindness, community, and a sustainable life on our wondrous planet. [New Dream] offers a doorway through which any of us may enter, today, and live that better life.”

Rep. Nydia M. Velazquez, Congresswoman, NY 12th District: “[O]ne of the few groups that truly understands the links between improving quality of life, protecting the environment and promoting social justice. Keep up the great work.”

Julian Bond, Chairman, NAACP National Board of Directors: “[New Dream] is helping our common dreams come true—the dream we won’t mindlessly consume all that is best about our world.”

Ed Begley Jr., actor: “[New Dream] is the perfect immunization against the ‘affluenza’ that is afflicting us all. An antidote to the orgy of consumerism that escalates unabated, year after year. They can help us find a way to live simply, so that others may simply live.”

Bill McKibben, author and founder, "[New Dream] has hit on just the right mission and just the right tone: we can live happier lives, and when we do our communities, human and natural, will prosper as a result. If there's any more essential work underway, I don't know of it."

More Fun, Less Stuff... More Joy, Less Stress... More Love, Less Waste