Person

Steven Olikara

Occupation:

Founder and CEO of Millennial Action Project

 

Education:

University of Wisconsin-Madison

A self-proclaimed “political entrepreneur,” Steven Olikara is the founder and CEO of Millennial Action Project, a purportedly nonpartisan organization of millennials working to bridge political divides through legislation and policy solutions that is funded by left-of-center nonprofit organizations.

Early Life

Olikara grew up near Milwaukee, Wisconsin where he attended Burleigh Elementary School, Pilgrim Park Middle School, and Brookfield East High School. [1] Olikara grew up playing jazz music, guitar, and drums and was also a radio DJ in his hometown. [2]

At Brookfield East High School, Olikara served in a number of leadership roles including section leader in symphonic band, editor-in-chief for the school paper, and president of the National Honor Society. As a teenager, he earned a place in “18 Under 18” by OnMilwaukee, a local daily magazine, for his leadership roles in high school. [3]

Olikara went on to attend the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he was elected senior class president. While attending college, Olikara worked as an advisor to Grammy Award-winner Usher’s foundation, Usher’s New Look, on youth initiatives. [4] He graduated in 2012 as a Truman Scholar and Udall Scholar with a degree in political science and environmental studies with a minor in global health. [5]

Career

In 2014, Olikara worked as an advisor to music artist Akon for his Akon Lighting Africa project, an initiative that outfitted over one million homes in Africa with solar power. [6]

As the founder and CEO of Millennial Action Project, Olikara describes himself as a “political entrepreneur.” [7] Founded in 2014,[8] the Millennial Action Project is a purportedly nonpartisan organization comprised of millennial lawmakers attempting to bridge political divides through left-leaning, bipartisan legislation and policy solutions. The organization claims to work with over 1,500 elected leaders across the United States. [9]

Olikara sits on the boards of a number of organizations including the Africa Middle Eastern Leadership (AMEL) Project, the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Performing Arts, and the University of Wisconsin International Division. Olikara also sits on the board of Issue One, a campaign speech restriction organization linked to the left-of-center Democracy Alliance network. [10]

Political Activity

Olikara has a thin history of political contributions which include a $50 contribution to ActBlue in 2018 that was earmarked for Democratic candidate Beth Fukumoto in her campaign for the U.S. House of Representatives, as well as a $100 contribution to ActBlue in 2017 that was earmarked for Gareth Rhodes, another Democratic candidate for the House. [11]

References

  1. “Steven Olikara – Alumni Spotlight.” Elmbrook Schools, March 10, 2017. https://www.elmbrookschools.org/news-details/~post/steven-olikara-alumni-spotlight-20170310. ^
  2. Parvin Bordewich, Jean. “Bridging Generational and Partisan Divides in Congress: Q&A with Millennial Action Project President Steven Olikara.” Hewlett Foundation, January 16, 2019. https://hewlett.org/bridging-generational-partisan-divides-congress-millennial-action-project-president-steven-olikara/. ^
  3. “Steven Olikara – Alumni Spotlight.” Elmbrook Schools, March 10, 2017. https://www.elmbrookschools.org/news-details/~post/steven-olikara-alumni-spotlight-20170310. ^
  4. “Olikara, Steven.” International Division. Accessed January 14, 2021. https://international.wisc.edu/staff/olikara-steven/. ^
  5. “Steven Olikara – Alumni Spotlight.” Elmbrook Schools, March 10, 2017. https://www.elmbrookschools.org/news-details/~post/steven-olikara-alumni-spotlight-20170310. ^
  6. “Steven Olikara – Founder & President.” Millennial Action Project. Accessed January 14, 2021. https://www.millennialaction.org/steven-olikara. ^
  7. “Birthday of the Day: Steven Olikara, Founder and President of the Millennial Action Project.” POLITICO. POLITICO, March 24, 2020. https://www.politico.com/news/2020/03/24/playbook-birthday-steven-olikara-145734. ^
  8. Millennial Action Project, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990), 2017 ^
  9. “Steven Olikara – Founder & President.” Millennial Action Project. Accessed January 14, 2021. https://www.millennialaction.org/steven-olikara. ^
  10. “Steven Olikara – Founder & President.” Millennial Action Project. Accessed January 14, 2021. https://www.millennialaction.org/steven-olikara. ^
  11. “Steven Olikara Individual Contributions.” FEC.gov. Accessed January 14, 2021. https://www.fec.gov/data/receipts/individual-contributions/?contributor_name=Steven%2BOlikara&two_year_transaction_period=2000. ^
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