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 envision a society that pursues not just “more,” but more of what matters—and less of what doesn’t.
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:
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.
Jason Greenwald, Vice-Chair – Strategic Communications Adviser
Tracy Bowen – Former Executive Director, Center for a New American Dream
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).
Kelley Dennings – Behavior and Social Change expert; former New Dream fellow
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
Edna Rienzi – Former Director of Programs, New Dream
Mark Valentine – Strategy and Management Expert for Nonprofit Organizations; Founder, ReFrame It Consulting
Liz Barratt-Brown Senior Adviser, Natural Resources Defense Council
Robert Engelman Senior Fellow, Worldwatch Institute
Caitlin Frauton Founder, DIY Wedding Mentor
Bea Johnson, blogger and author, Zero Waste Home
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
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)
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, 350.org: "[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