Early Childhood Innovation Fellowship
The Early Childhood Innovation Fellowship (formerly The Gen2Gen Innovation Fellowship / Early Childhood) supports innovators tapping the talents of adults, age 50 and older, to improve the care and education of children, age 0 to 5.
This year’s five fellows are (pictured left to right, below) Jennifer Thompson of Power Packs Project, Michael Batie of STEM Parents Network, Treasure Nguyen of San Jose Public Library, Max Tuchman of Caribu and Lisa Armao of Montessori Intergenerational Learning Communities.
Founder and Chef
Lancaster Intergenerational Nutrition Collaborative
Each Fellow received $5,000 plus coaching and support designed to boost visibility, contacts and funding. Lisa Armao won an additional $5,000 Judges’ Prize awarded by the panel of 27 experts listed below.
- Brigid Ahern, CEO, Turnaround for Children
- Rhian Allvin, CEO, National Association for the Education of Young Children
- Lynette Aytch, Director, Zero to Three
- David Bornstein, Co-founder & CEO, Solutions Journalism Network
- Kristen Burns, Associate Director, Grable Foundation
- Donna Butts, Executive Director, Generations United
- Steffanie Clothier, Investment Director, Gary Community Investments/The Piton Foundation
- Patricia Cosgrove, Preschool Director/Early Childhood educator
- Lynette Fraga, Executive Director, Child Care Aware of America
- Catalina Garcia, Founder, Gma Village & Director of Network Growth, Care.com
- Gabe Hakim, Co-founder & Partner, Promise Venture Studio
- Keanne Henry, Vice President, AARP Foundation Experience Corps
- Kate Jerome, Children’s Book Author/President, Insight Editions
- Anu Malipatil, Vice President, Overdeck Family Foundation
- Courtney E. Martin, Co-founder, Solutions Journalism Network
- Margie McHugh, Director, National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy, Migration Policy Institute
- Enyi Okebugwu, Investor, Imaginable Futures, a venture of The Omidyar Group
- Shelley Pasnik, VP and Lead, Early Childhood Initiatives, Education Development Center
- Abby Copeman Petig, Research and Policy Specialist, Center for the Study of Child Care Employment, University of California, Berkeley
- Carly Roberts, Program Officer, Overdeck Family Foundation
- Chris Sciarrino, Director of Early Childhood Practice and Innovation, The Early Learning Lab
- Joshua D. Sparrow, MD, Executive Director, Brazelton Touchpoints Center, Boston Children’s Hospital; President, Brazelton Touchpoints Foundation; Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School
- Deborah Stahl, Special Projects, BUILD Initiative
- Karen Sughrue, Senior Producer, Retro Report
- Kim Syman, Managing Partner, New Profit
- Yasmina Vinci, Executive Director, National Head Start Association
- Jane Woo, Director, Too Small to Fail, Clinton Foundation
Special thanks to The David and Lucile Packard Foundation for funding for this project.
FAQs (downloadable pdf)
Why offer this fellowship now?
Several intersecting trends make this fellowship timely:
- Brain science and research have made it clear: Investing in young children yields the highest societal ROI.
- There is a growing body of research about the value of stable, caring relationships in children’s lives and the benefits of intergenerational connection for young children, older adults, families, schools and communities.
- There is a growing, national shortage of early childhood care and education workers.
- The number of older adults in the US — including a large subset who seek connection, purpose and a paycheck — is growing rapidly, representing a solution hidden in plain sight.
What are Encore.org’s goals?
- To shine a light on great examples of older adults helping our youngest children thrive.
- To help innovators tell their stories in compelling ways that will attract attention and funding.
- To spark new programs and investment in early childhood workforce solutions that include people over 50.
What will fellows receive?
Between December, 2019 and February 2020, fellows will get:
- A $5,000 award, plus the chance for an additional $5,000 Judges’ Prize.
- Expert one-on-one coaching with The Goodman Center to help each fellow tell compelling stories on the motivation behind the work, its impact and your vision. Fellows will be coached on how to combine the stories to make a powerful pitch to funders.
- An on-site session with a professional photographer.
- A Q&A profile ready for publishing or sending to the media.
- Two one-hour sessions with Encore.org experts on social media.
- Exposure to important folks. Encore.org will pitch your story to local and/or national media; showcase your work with early childhood experts, funders and policymakers; and highlight your work through Encore.org’s social media channels and newsletters.
Eligibility & Criteria
Who is eligible for this fellowship?
You are eligible if:
- Your project uses the talents of adults, age 50 and older, to improve the lives of children, age 0 to 5, in the US? (Can include working with pregnant women and parents of children from 0 to 5 years old.)
- You are able to work with a communications coach, Encore.org’s communications team, and a photographer between December 2019 and February 2020?
You SHOULD NOT apply for the fellowship if:
- Your project has a partisan political agenda.
- Your project is intended to promote a specific faith or is exclusively sectarian. (We do encourage faith-based organizations that have a broader social mission to apply.)
- Your project solely benefits children outside of the US.
Applications can be submitted by an individual associated with an existing organization OR by an individual who is not yet formally incorporated as an organization or affiliated with an organization.
What criteria will be used to select fellows?
Applicants will be judged on the following criteria:
- Compelling story. Can the work and the applicant inspire others to engage the talents of older adults to support children?
- Innovation. Is the applicant using a new or creative approach, or making critical improvements to existing models?
- Encore fit. Does the applicant engage the talents of people 50+ in well-designed roles?
- Impact. Is there any evidence that the program works? Is there a way to measure impact in the future?
- Scalability or replicability. Does the model have the potential to spread?
- Meeting the need. Does the model serve children and families in poverty, dual-language learners, or others who stand to gain the most from high-quality care and education?
Are innovative ideas sufficient?
No. All innovations are required to be at least in a pilot stage.
What do you mean by “scalable” or “replicable”?
We are looking for programs that have the potential, at some point in the future, to engage hundreds or even thousands of older adults to help hundreds or thousands of children. We are looking for models that, within 5 or 10 years, could be big enough to have a significant impact or could be replicated by others in other geographic areas.
Can people who won the Purpose Prize or the Encore Prize apply?
- We encourage former Purpose Prize winners and fellows who are working with children and older adults to apply.
- We encourage Encore Prize applicants who did not win a cash prize to apply. Those who did win cash awards are not eligible to apply.
Are international applications accepted?
Applications from international organizations or individuals are welcome, but they must address ways to connect U.S.-based older adults with U.S.-based children.
Can nonprofit and for-profit organizations apply?
Yes, the fellowship is open to individuals working with nonprofits, for-profits or hybrid models. The fellowship is also open to those not affiliated with any organization.
Do the older adults need to work one-on-one with young children?
We are interested in all the ways older adults can use their life experience and expertise to help young children, including:
- helping young children one-on-one,
- working as coaches for teachers,
- supporting parents,
- providing business support to the owners of child care centers, and
- other creative ideas!
Are you interested in fellows who engage young people to help older ones?
We are looking for ideas that highlight the value of older adult experience in relationships that connect the generations. It doesn’t have to one-way though (in fact, it rarely is!). If you are bringing the generations together in ways that provide benefits to all, we’d love to hear about it.
How do I nominate someone?
Go to our nomination page. You’ll need to create an account or login to begin. After filling out the brief form (it’ll just take a few minutes!), your nominee will receive an email letting them know they were nominated. They’ll also receive instructions on how to apply.
Application & Next Steps
Can I start my application, save it, then come back to finish later?
Yes. You can preview the application questions here. Once you are ready to apply, begin your application here. We estimate that applications may take a few hours to complete. You can start anytime, then save and return later.
What happens after I apply?
- Encore.org will review your application to ensure you are eligible.
- If you submit by 5pm Pacific Time on Oct. 3, 2019, an Encore.org staff member will give you individualized feedback. You will then have time to revise your application. All final submissions are due by 5pm Pacific Time on Oct. 17, 2019.
- Encore.org staff will carefully evaluate your proposal and interview top candidates.
- We will inform all applicants and announce new fellows by Nov. 26, 2019.
- Fellows will work one on one with communications guru Andy Goodman of The Goodman Center and with an on-site photographer in December and January.
- We will announce the winner of the Judges’ Prize by March 3, 2020.
Who will review my application?
Encore.org staff will review applications and select the five fellows. A panel of judges — made up of early childhood experts, funders, and practitioners — will learn more about the five fellows, then determine which one will become the winner of the $5,000 Judges’ Prize.
Can I get any help with my application?
Yes. If you submit by 5pm Pacific Time on October 3, 2019, Encore.org staff will review your application and provide written feedback, which you can use to revise your application. The deadline for all applications is 5pm Pacific Time on October 17, 2019.
Who from my team should apply to be the fellow?
The application should list the name of the person who will participate in individualized communications coaching. If you are associated with an organization, this is likely the founder, CEO, or person responsible for talking publicly about your program.
How many fellows will be chosen?
Five people will be named as Gen2Gen Innovation Fellows. While multiple people from a team can participate in parts of the fellowship (social media consulting and the initial storytelling webinar), individual coaching with Andy Goodman will be with one person from each team.
What can I do with the cash award?
The cash award will go to the individual fellow or organization (fellows may choose) and will have no restrictions or conditions. Encore.org will follow each innovator to track progress and be of support, as requested.
I’ve got more questions. What can I do to get them answered?
Please attend an information session on September 24, 11:30 am-12:15pm Pacific Time OR October 10, 11:30 am-12:15pm Pacific Time. If your questions aren’t answered there, please send questions to Janet Oh, Director of Innovation Fellowships, at [email protected].