Miller Center

Media Contact: Howard Witt, 434-924-6051

Milstein Symposium

Ideas for a New American Century

The Milstein Symposium is a five-year initiative that will convene distinguished stakeholders and eminent scholars to advance innovative, non-partisan, action-oriented ideas, grounded in history, to help rebuild the American Dream.  The Miller Center will organize three Milstein commissions each year. More →

Click here to read the latest report, "Can Startups Save the American Dream?"


PODCAST: Can Startups Save the American Dream?

The Miller Center's Lead Policy Analyst Tony Lucadamo recently went on local radio affiliate, WINA Morning News to discuss the recent Milstein Symposium report, Can Startups Save the American Dream? 

The podcast covers an array of topics including the ability of start-ups to improve the American middle class. The interview goes on to cover the merits the proposal that  a national K-12 entrepreneurship competition similar to a spelling bee be instituted. The idea was suggested in the Milstein report as a means of incentivizing students at the K-12 level to expand their use of creative thinking and to begin to think of entrepreneuship as a profession to which they can aspire rather than solely the domain of Silicon Valley.  

ARTICLE: Raising New Capital for Your Mission-Driven Startup

The Miller Center's Director of Policy Jeff Chidester co-authored an editorial with Village Capital CEO and Milstein commissioner Ross Baird in Forbes. The article spins off of the recent Miller Center report, Can Startups Save the American Dream? released as part of the Milstein Symposium: Ideas for a New American Century

The op-ed discusses the challenge that many social entrepreneurs face getting access to much-needed capital. As a remedy, Chidester and Baird tout the "hundreds of billions of dollars" available via Program Related Investments (PRIs). PRIs can be loans, loan guarantees, or equity investments that foundations can make to companies that share their mission.

To combat the underutilization of this too-often overlooked instrument, the authors list "four things you need to know in order to raise a PRI." The work serves as an education tool and ideally a blueprint for social entrepreneurs and impact investors. 

ARTICLE: Red Tape Is Killing Startups - Here’s How To Fix It

The Miller Center's Lead Policy Analyst Tony Lucadamo teamed up wtih RocketHub CEO and previous Milstein Symposium commissioner Brian Meece to pen a recent Forbes editorial

The article tells the story of a Manhattan-based entrepreneur and his struggles navigating red tape, in particular managing his relationship with the USDA and the effect that has had on his young business. The piece goes on to suggest solutions for the business owner interviewed and others like him based on the Miller Center's recent production, Can Startups Save the American Dream?

ARTICLE: Beyond Silicon Valley

Lenny Mendonca, a commissioner from the Milstein Commission on Entreprepeneurship and Middle Class Jobs, and Laura Tyson, a former chair of the U.S. President's Council of Economic Advisers, referenced Miller Center work in a recent editorial published in Project Syndicate. 

The authors argue that we need to find ways to package the "entrepreneurial and innovative prowess" of Silicon Valley and transcribe it to Main Street America. One solution posited by the Miller Center to this issue, and reiterated by Mendonca and Tyson, is the ongoing need to find ways to make accessing capital easier for small businesses. There is a large pool of untapped and overlooked resources available to would be start-ups. A few examples are highlighted. 

ARTICLE: Teaching Tomorrow’s Founders: Ideas for K-12 Education

In an April 23rd Forbes piece, the Batten Institute's Gosia Glinska discussed the need for programs that increase the number of women working in technology -- focusing on one UVa grad who is working to make it happen. 

Glinska went on to pitch the merits of changing our national education system to be lest test-driven and more focused on creativity. The work partnered nicely with a similar message expoused in a previously referenced editorial by Darden's Raul Chao and the Miller Center's Cristina Lopez-Gattardi Chao. A similar topic was also discussed in the Milstein Commission's most recent report, Can Startups Save the American Dream?

Glinska's full article is available here

ARTICLE: How America’s Education Model Kills Creativity and Entrepreneurship

The Miller Center's Cristina Lopez-Gattardi Chao and the Darden School of Business' Raul Chao discussed the impact our current K-12 system is having on creativity and entrepreneurship levels in a recent Forbes piece

They argue that in today's job market, creativity is a critical skill, one which we are not doing enough to foster. And much of this boils down to curricula that stigmatizes risk taking and failure. 

In the piece, they cite the Miller Center's recent Milstein Symposium reportCan Startups Save the American Dream? and lauds some of the ideas advanced as a step in the right direction on this important matter. 

ARTICLE: Impact Investing: Time to Unleash PRIs

Impact investing has been a hot topic in the news lately. On January 21, the White House hosted its third Pay for Success summit in Salt Lake City, Utah. Days later, New York Times columnist David Brooks lauded impact investing as the "most promising form" of social capitalism there is today. 

Jeff Chidester, the Miller Center's Director of Policy Programs, weighs in on the topic in his most recent article. He notes that philanthropic foundations are missing a massive opportunity in this space. They possess an overlooked capacity to tap into hundred of billions of dollars in unused capital. The chief vehicle would be program-related investments (PRIs), a tool that allows foundations to give working capital to organizations in the form of loans, loan guarantees, or equity investments.

Unfortunately, burdensome regulation and costs are constraining that ability. The most recent Milstein report addresses this point and how to fix it. 

Read the full editorial, as published in the Stanford Social Innovation Review here

ARTICLE: Can Startups Save the American Dream

In a recent article, AOL co-founder Steve Case posed the question: To what extent can startups increase jobs for the middle class?

He details the role that the Miller Center -- and his work with the Milstein Commission in particular -- helped him in his search for answers. Case goes on outline the report's conclusions and laud their merits. In his words, "entrepreneurs must again be at the heart of rebuilding the American economy."

ARTICLE: How Foundations Can Help Entrepreneurs Save the American Dream

Milstein commissioner and Village Capital Executive Director Ross Baird penned an editorial recently covering the latest report, "Can Startups Save the American Dream?"

His first area of focus was on bottlenecks in risk capital. 50% of venture capital funds invested globally in 2013 went to just three states -- California, New York, and Massachusetts. And of all firms that received such funding, only 5% were co-founded by women, 1% by latinos or african-americans. 

Baird also examined the impact that Program Related Investments (PRIs) and more broadly, social entrepreneurship, can have on businesses across the country. 

VIDEO: Case, Fiorina Headline Entrepreneurship Panel

Watch a panel featuring AOL founder Steve Case and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina. The Milstein Symposium's latest report entitled, "Can Startups Save the American Dream?" is discussed at length. More broadly, the conversation focuses on the link between entrepreneurship and middle class jobs. 

Case and Fiorina served as co-chairs of the nonpartisan commission behind the work. They are joined on stage by three fellow commissioners, Ross Baird, Executive Director of Village Capital, Lenny Mendonca, retired Senior Partner at McKinsey & Co., and Brian Meece, CEO of RocketHub. Steve Clemons of the Atlantic serves as moderator. 

REPORT RELEASE: “Can Startups Save the American Dream?”

The Miller Center’s Milstein Symposium on the Middle Class released its second report on January 13th. 

The release, entitled “Can Startups Save the American Dream?” proposes a series of actionable, impactful and non-partisan ideas. The goal is to improve the middle class via targeted reforms impacting the entrepreneurial community.

The panel was held in Washington D.C. and was moderated by Steve Clemons of The Atlantic. The Commission’s Co-Chairs, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina and AOL founder Steve Case were in attendance. McKinsey’s Lenny Mendonca, Rockethub’s Brian Meece, and Ross Baird of Village Capital rounded out the discussion.

Miller Center CEO Bill Antholis made opening remarks, as did philanthropist and project funder Howard P. Milstein.

The report is the result of the second Commission in the ongoing Milstein Symposium on the Middle Class. The Miller Center partnered with U.Va.'s Batten Institute at the Darden School of Business. 

Read the two- and five-page executive summaries, or the full report.

For media coverage, click here

ARTICLE: Businesspeople, Educators Seek Ways to Teach Entrepreneurship

A recent Wall Street Journal article references the current Milstein report with a focus on one proposal in particular: the idea of a K-12 entrepreneurship competition.

The author looks on the notion favorably within the context of a piece focusing on alternative entrepreneurship education. 

Commission member and RocketHub CEO Brian Meece is quoted in the article. He notes that our education system currently focuses too much on preparing students to become employees at the cost of potentially becoming employers. In his words, students should have the opportunity to "tinker, and compete in a fun, competitive landscape" as a way of jarring that mindset free. 

ARTICLE: “Fiorina Says ‘There’ll be Time’ to Scrutinize ‘Other Presidential Candidates’”

Bloomberg News attended the most recent report release to cover Fiorina's remarks made on the panel.

The author heavily emphasized the possiblity of Fiorina running for president in 2016. He noted the Commission Co-Chairs remark that Washington is all about "big business, big labor" when it should be keeping its eyes on smaller entrepreneurs like the "corner tacqueria and nail salon." 

ARTICLE: “Carly Fiorina Takes a Swipe at ‘Big Government’ in D.C. Visit

Time Magazine covered the release event for the latest report in Washington, D.C. 

The article focuses mostly on Commission Co-Chair and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina's remarks. At one point, the conversation shifted to heavily emphasis elements of the release focusing on start-ups more easily navigating federal regulation. Fiorina stated, “It’s like geologic sediment. We have eons, millennia of rules and regulations at the federal level, at the state level and at the local level, and it has become a primordial soup. And if you’re a big company you can handle it, but if you’re a startup or small company you really can’t. The point is, we have to start undoing some of this stuff.”

ARTICLE: “The American Dream is Dying: How Small Businesses Can Change That.”

Inc. Magazine's Jeremy Quittner released an op-ed providing his comprehensive assessment of the latest Milstein report.

The article pulls quotes from multiple Commissioners. Co-Chair and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina states that, "we all believe in a shared hypothesis, that you want to encourage entrepreneurship as a pathway to the middle class." The Commission's other Co-Chair, AOL founder Steve Case adds that, "entrepreneurs must again be at the heart of rebuilding the American economy."

EVENT: Commission on Entrepreneurship to Release Final Report on Jan. 14th in D.C.

AOL co-founder and CEO of Revolution Steve Case and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina will be headlining a Jan. 14th release event at the Halcyon House in Washington, D.C. They will discuss the final report of the Miller Center’s Howard P. Milstein Symposium: Commission on Entrepreneurship and Middle-Class Jobs, along with other members of the Commission. 

To watch this event live, click here. To attend the event, please RSVP here

VIDEO + PHOTOS: Milstein Infrastructure and Middle-Class Jobs Commission Meeting

Milstein Infrastructure Commission members

Listen to Milstein Commission on Infrastructure and Middle-Class Jobs members -- who represent some of the top thinkers on the critical needs of the nation's infrastructure -- discuss the issues at hand, as well as proposed solutions.  Short interview clips can be found here. Photos from the meeting are available here

Ray LaHood, Antonio Villaraigosa to Co-Chair Commission on Infrastructure and Middle-Class Jobs

Co-Chairs LaHood and Villaraigosa

Former Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa will co-chair a new University of Virginia Miller Center commission charged with developing innovative, bipartisan ideas on how to create and sustain middle-class jobs through infrastructure policy. Read the media advisory here

ARTICLE: ‘Made in America, Again”

Misltein Commission on New Manufacturing member James Fallows references the commission report in The Atlantic, stating that "The Miller Center report, 'Building a Nation of Makers,' is mainly about practical steps that might let start-ups and small companies take advantage of global trends. For instance, mapping now-opaque manufacturing supply chains could help connect smaller companies with potential customers. Because they are so practical, ideas like these don’t figure into normal political debate. But their very practicality increases their chances of paying off."

ARTICLE: “Making the SF Case for a Second Stimulus”

Milstein Commission on New Manufacturing member Kate Sofis and Miller Center lead policy analyst Tony Lucadamo recommend the return of programs that offer low-interest, fixed-rate loans that manufacturing SMEs can use for hiring new workers in a San Francisco Business Times opinion piece.

Third Milstein Symposium to Focus on Infrastructure and the Middle Class

This symposium, the third in a series focusing on creating the jobs of the future, will convene experts to identify a sufficient and sustainable infrastructure funding model to keep goods and people moving safely and efficiently and to support the projects required to keep the system functioning optimally.

ARTICLE: Commissioner on Entrepreneurship and Middle-Class Jobs Ross Baird in Forbes

Ross Baird during Commission meeting

Ross Baird, executive director of Village Capital and a Milstein Commission member, co-wrote a recent article in Forbes titled "Why Creating The Next Silicon Valley ... Is The Wrong Goal". Read it here

VIDEO: Interviews with Milstein Entrepreneurship Commission members

Co-Chairs Carly Fiorina and Steve Case

Commission Co-Chairs Carly Fiorina and Steve Case

Listen to Milstein Commission on Entrepreneurship and Middle-Class Jobs members -- who represent some of the top thinkers on small business and innovation -- discuss entrepreneurial trends and ideas for strengthening the nation's entrepreneurial activity in short interview clips found here.  

Milstein Commission Report on New Manufacturing Released Today!

Today, the Miller Center releases Building a Nation of Makers: Six Ideas to Accelerate the Innovative Capacity of America's Manufacturing SMEs, the report containing the unanimous recommendations of the Milstein Commission on New Manufacturing.  This report offers six innovative, yet practical, ideas to facilitate the growth of America’s manufacturing SMEs. 

Read the executive summary, the one-page synopsis, or the full report.

Washington Post and Miller Center Partner on Poll

The Miller Center and The Washington Post partnered on a poll exploring Americans’ changing definition of success and their confidence in the country’s future as a starting point for the Milstein Symposium.