Frequently Asked Questions

What is The Encore Prize?

The Encore Prize, offering $100,000 in cash prizes, coaching and a year of ongoing support, is looking for the next generation of programs and products that bring the talent of 50+ adults to social problems. Our first challenge: To help kids at risk.

Applications for the 2017 competition will open on March 27 and a group of five ventures will present their ideas at a regional convening of encore leaders and foundation program officers in Boston on October 16.

How is The Encore Prize connected to the Generation to Generation campaign?

The Prize’s first challenge is part of the Generation to Generation campaign — a national effort to connect the over 50 population to young people who could greatly benefit from more support. By participating in The Encore Prize you will be joining the campaign, and pledging to support future generations.

Who is eligible for The Encore Prize?

You should be able to answer “yes” to the following questions to be eligible:

  • Does your project utilize the talents of adults 50 and older to improve the lives of youth?

  • Is your project in an early stage or period of significant growth?

  • If accepted, will you be able to participate in four online workshops and provide supplemental information requiring at least six hours of your time from May to July?  If you become a finalist, can you present your idea on October 16 in Boston?

You SHOULD NOT apply for The Encore Prize if:

  • Your project is already being done successfully in another geographic region.  We are looking for new ideas or new ways of connecting people (not replications of existing programs in new geographic areas).

  • Your project has a political agenda and is not bipartisan.

  • Your project is intended to promote a specific faith or is exclusively sectarian.  (However, we do welcome and encourage faith-based organizations that have a broader social mission to apply.)

How established does an organization need to be to apply?

An innovative idea can be submitted by an individual or group of individuals who have not yet formally incorporated an organization, as well as an established organization. However, to be considered for subsequent stages of the process, the applicant will need to demonstrate a track history of success in taking an idea from the conceptual stage to execution or have connections to other organizations that will collaborate in taking the project beyond the conceptual stage.

Are international applications accepted?

At this time, The Encore Prize is focused on the U.S. Applications from international organizations or individuals are welcome but they must address ways to connect U.S.-based older adults with U.S.-based youth at risk. Future challenges may be open to applicants with an international focus.

Can a collaborative (or multiple organizations) apply?


Can non-profit and for-profit organizations apply?

Yes, The Encore Prize is open to applications from individuals, non-profits, for-profits or hybrid models.

What makes for a winning idea?

Ideas will be judged on the following criteria:

Encore Fit – venture utilizes encore talent in well-designed roles that have potential to be used widely to address the social problem.  Winners join us in becoming leaders of the encore movement, demonstrating the power of encore talent.

Innovation – venture consists of a new approach that hasn’t been tried before or a critical improvement to an existing model.

Organizational/applicant strength – organization/applicant demonstrates ability to carry out project successfully.  Good track record or clear support from other organizations/partners.  Understands team assets and gaps.  

Scalability/Replicability – venture has capacity to grow to produce significant social change.

Financial Model – venture has a clear plan for financial sustainability utilizing diverse and repeatable streams of revenue such as earned income, and public and private funding.

Diversity – ability to engage people and organizations representing diverse communities, particularly those in which children and youth are at particularly high risk, for example high levels of gun violence or families being separated due to immigration status.

Why are we investing in new programs?

While many companies are investing in innovations to extend the lifespan, few are developing innovative ways to give purpose to those added years. Funding to fill this innovation gap is scarce. The goal of The Encore Prize is to spur individuals and organizations across a wide spectrum of disciplines and settings to design new pathways and opportunities to fill this gap.

Should I consider applying?

We want to encourage anyone with a creative idea about engaging older adults with kids in a powerful way — and the commitment to bring this idea to life  – to apply. 

We welcome applications from all groups including: start ups, established encore groups or youth-serving organizations, groups of friends, faith-based congregations or interdenominational groups, city, county or state governments, or coalitions of individuals and nonprofits in a single city, neighborhood associations, teams of MBA students, solo entrepreneurs, and for-profit businesses.

Once you choose to participate in the two-month accelerator that follows applying, you’ll have the opportunity to refine your ideas and even find others who can partner with you to give your team the capacity to turn your great idea into a powerful product or program.

What happens after I apply?

After submitting an application, in order to be eligible for a cash award and other resources, applicants will:

  • Participate in our online accelerator, consisting of four online trainings  written exercises and provide supplemental information in the period from May through June. All applicants will be invited to join the accelerator.
  • If selected as one of 15 semifinalists, applicants will participate in public voting and peer review, be interviewed by Encore staff and paired with an Encore coach to prepare materials for the judges.
  • Five finalists, selected in September, will receive one-on-one follow-up coaching on making a fast pitch offered by Andy Goodman of The Goodman Center.
  • Finalists will travel to Boston on October 15 to present their idea to an audience of Encore leaders and foundation program officers on October 16, 2017.
  • Finalists will receive a year of customized, ongoing support by

Does it cost anything to be involved in The Encore Prize?

There is no charge to apply for The Encore Prize. Finalists will be reimbursed up to $1,000 for travel expenses to the Boston meeting. If the travel costs for you (or any teammates) exceeds $1,000, you will be required to cover the difference yourself.

If I become a semifinalist, how will I be matched with an Encore Coach?

Applicants selected as semifinalists will take an inventory of strengths and weaknesses in different areas. Based on this inventory, will match you with one or more coaches who have expertise in the areas where you indicate you would like help.

What time commitment is required to participate in The Encore Prize?

The time commitment will depend on how far you advance. 

All applicants who choose to join the accelerator will participate in four one-hour online trainings and prepare follow-up written exercises, which could require six or more hours to complete.

Semifinalists, a group of the 15 top ideas, will receive up to three additional hours of personalized coaching and two more hours of online cohort meetings to get feedback from your peers. Peer feedback and coaching will be incorporated into a final presentation sent to the panel of judges. Semifinalists will participate in public voting and will be invited to mobilize their networks to support their idea. 

Finalists, a group of the 5 top ideas, will receive up to an hour of one-on-one coaching on your pitch by Andy Goodman. This group will travel to Boston Oct 15-16 for on-site training, cohort voting, and presenting your pitch to encore leaders and funders.


What will I get out of my participation?

Depending on how far you advance, applicants will benefit from:

All Applicants who choose to be part of the accelerator will receive

  • Information from experts on design process, best practices regarding recruiting and designing roles for encore talent, effective messaging for social causes and pitching to funders.

Semifinalists will receive all of the above, plus

  • Up to three hours of personalized coaching by experts.
  • Peer feedback and support on specific areas of challenge to improve your project.
  • The opportunity to pitch your ideas to the public, gain visibility, and win support to advance to the next level.

Finalists will receive all of the above, plus

  • One-on-one coaching on your pitch by Andy Goodman
  • Opportunity to win one of two $50,000 cash prizes
  • High-level visibility of your idea at the Encore Pitch event in Boston in front of encore leaders and foundation program officers
  • A year of customized, ongoing support from

Winners will receive all of the above, plus

  • One of the two cash prizes of $50,000 that will be awarded
  • Media coverage

How many ventures will be selected as semifinalists and finalists?

Fifteen ventures will be selected as semifinalists. Five will become finalists.

What will happen at the event in Boston?

Each finalist will have three minutes to make a fast pitch for their idea. (Individualized communications coaching will be provided in advance by Andy Goodman.) You may use slides if you choose. No cash prizes will be based on your pitch, although foundation program officers, potential other investors, and encore leaders will be at the pitch event. Cash prizes will be determined prior to the pitch, based on the strength of your idea as determined by (1) a panel of expert judges, who will award a single $50,000 prize and (2) by a vote of the entire group of finalists, who will select one other member to receive $50,000.

Who will be attending the Boston event?

The Boston event will be a Northeastern regional convening of Encore leaders. The event is scheduled the day before the opening of the annual meeting of Grantmakers in Aging and attendees of the GIA event will be invited to attend the Boston pitch event.

Will my travel be covered to attend the event in Boston?

Organizations traveling to Boston will be reimbursed up to $1,000 for airfare and lodging. Encore will cover meals. If your travel exceeds $1,000, you will need to cover the difference. Travel logistics will be handled individually by participants although suggestions for accommodations will be provided.  

How many people from my organization can attend the Boston event?

Up to two people from each organization can participate.

What is the amount of The Encore Prize?

The winner of the Judges Award will receive $50,000.  One other finalist will be awarded $50,000 based on the vote of the cohort members. The winner of the Judges Award is not eligible to win the Cohort Award.