Why offer this fellowship now?
We need new ways to bring older and younger people together to solve problems, bridge divides and create a better future for all. Critical problems — like racial inequality, climate change and social isolation, just to name a few — require all of us working across the divides of age and race. As the pandemic recedes, we call on the nation’s most talented innovators and entrepreneurs to marshall their best ideas to create and scale intergenerational solutions.
What are Encore.org’s goals?
- The overarching goal of the fellowship is to elevate, catalyze and support social innovation and entrepreneurship that brings older and younger people together to solve problems, bridge divides and create a better future for all. We will help each fellow move through an inflection point in their work, further test their idea, develop traction, and shift to the next stage of progress and impact in their work.
- And in the process, we will work to influence and engage the broader field of social innovation, a world that has largely ignored intergenerational solutions.
What will I receive if I am selected to be a fellow?
- A powerful, cohort experience with a mix of virtual and in-person sessions over nine months.
- Expert coaching and peer assistance to advance your program design, pitch to funders, tell your own story well and widely, and more.
- $10,000 to advance your Gen2Gen work.
- Exposure to important networks, including funders, journalists, innovators and experts in the field.
- Professional editorial support.
- An opportunity to present at the Gen2Gen Fellowship Showcase, a virtual event convening changemakers, thought leaders, and funders working in the intergenerational arena.
Who is eligible for this fellowship?
You are eligible if:
- You have an intergenerational program in place, in an early stage or significant period of growth.
- Your project leverages the assets of adults 50+ to bridge generational divides.
- You can commit to fully participating in fellowship meetings.
You SHOULD NOT apply for the fellowship if:
- Your project does not connect older and younger people.
- Your project is still in the idea stage and does not have an observable pilot on the ground.
- 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 people outside of the U.S.
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.
Can people who participated in previous fellowships or won the Purpose Prize or Encore Prize apply?
Previous prize winners and fellows are welcome to apply if they have a new idea. Previous work that was supported will not be funded again.
Are international applications accepted?
International applicants are accepted if they are connecting olders and youngers in the U.S. Fellowship meetings will be based on U.S. working hours and all fellows will be expected to participate regardless of time zone.
What criteria will be used to select fellows?
Applicants are judged on the following criteria:
- Compelling story. Can the work and the applicant inspire others to engage the talents of younger and older people to solve big social problems?
- Innovation. Is the applicant using a new or creative approach, or making critical improvements to existing models?
- Co-generation. Does the applicant utilize the assets and talents of younger and older people for mutual benefit?
- Impact. Is there strong potential or existing evidence that the program works? Is there a way to measure impact in the future? Does the work have the potential to spread?
- Urgency. Does the work address an issue that is urgent and timely?
- Leadership. Is the applicant able to mobilize others to make their vision a reality?
Ideal fellow candidates will be:
- Solutions-oriented innovators and creatives working at the intersection of intergenerational connection, collaboration and social justice.
- Promising entrepreneurs at an early inflection point beyond concept but before wide-scale implementation, poised to take a compelling and scalable pilot to the next level OR entrepreneurial leaders making fundamental shifts with far-reaching impact to embed new intergenerational practices in established programs.
- Collaborative and humble learners committed to forming a supportive community with like-minded peers who live and lead Gen2Gen.
- Deep believers in the assets and value of old and young as contributors to society and their own potential as leaders to make intergenerational connection and collaboration the norm.
Are innovative ideas sufficient?
No. All innovations are required to be at least in a pilot stage.
How “new” does the program need to be?
Existing programs that have added a significant improvement in the past few years are eligible.
What do you mean by “scalable” or “replicable”?
We are looking for projects that have the potential, at some point in the future, to engage hundreds, if not thousands, of older adults and younger people. We are looking for models that, within five or 10 years, could be big enough to have a significant impact or could be replicated by others in other geographic areas.
Can nonprofit and for-profit organizations apply?
Yes, the fellowship is open to individuals working with nonprofits, for-profits, hybrid models, or civic institutions. The fellowship is also open to those not affiliated with any organization.
Are you interested in fellows who engage young people to help older ones — or vice versa?
We are looking for ideas that highlight the value of olders and youngers in relationships that solve problems by connecting the generations for mutual benefit. Applications engaging young people to help older people will only be considered if the interactions are designed to also call upon the assets of older people. Similarly, projects engaging older people to serve youth need to show how the assets and talents of younger people are being utilized.
What is the curriculum for the fellowship?
Fellows will hone their intergenerational model, learn how to craft a compelling talk, and find new ways to spread their ideas to a broader audience and influence the national conversation. During the fellowship, fellows will enhance their leadership skills and build deep connection to a community of leaders in the intergenerational field.
If I am a co-founder, can more than one of us participate in fellowship sessions?
While some virtual meetings may be able to accommodate more than one person from a project, the fellowship is for a single individual.
How many fellows will be chosen?
Fifteen people will be named as Gen2Gen Innovation Fellows. While multiple people from a team can participate in parts of the fellowship (social media consulting, initial storytelling webinar, etc.), the majority of activities will be for the 15 fellows selected.
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. The first half of the cash award will be dispersed at the start of the fellowship. The second half of the award will be dispersed midway through the fellowship. Cash awards not directed to a 501(c)3 nonprofit may be subject to tax. We recommend fellows seek the counsel of their tax advisor if they have questions on potential tax implications of the award.
What happens if I change jobs during the fellowship or my project folds?
The fellowship is an investment in the growth, development and success of the innovator and their body of intergenerational work, not specifically the organization they are affiliated with.
To this end, we expect that some ideas, no matter how promising, may not pan out. This is a natural and necessary risk inherent in investing in early-stage entrepreneurship. We will select highly creative and committed fellows with the entrepreneurial horsepower to pivot if they run into roadblocks. In the event a fellow’s pilot project cannot be sustained or completed, we will continue to support that fellow as they pursue a new intergenerational endeavor.
If a fellow leaves an organization and does not plan to launch a new intergenerational endeavor, we will consider — on a case-by-case basis — allowing the fellow to transfer their fellowship to the new project lead. The new project lead will need to submit a new fellowship application and be approved by the selection committee. There will not be a second $10,000 grant awarded to the new project lead.
How much time does the fellowship require?
Fellows will participate in one virtual three-hour cohort meeting per month for the duration of the nine-month fellowship. These cohort meetings are on the first Thursday of the month from 9:30-12:30pm PT/12:30-3:30pm ET. Supplemental individual coaching sessions will be offered based on the interest and availability of the individual participants. These coaching sessions are optional, except for three coaching sessions to develop a talk in preparation for the Gen2Gen Fellowship Showcase. Fellows should expect to do 2-3 hours of work between meetings, but that work will closely align with and enhance what fellows are already doing to advance their projects. In 2022, we plan to bring all fellows together for a two-day, in-person event on Feb. 2-4. Travel stipends will be available for all fellows.
How long does the fellowship last?
While formal fellowship activities will begin on October 7, 2021 and last for nine months, fellows are considered “fellows-for-life.” Encore.org will proactively seek opportunities to elevate graduated fellows as leaders of the broader movement in the following ways:
- Connect fellows with reporters, writing opportunities and speaking roles.
- Engage fellows as advisors to our work and mentors to other fellows.
- Ask fellows to serve as reviewers in the selection process for future fellows.
Are there requirements to successfully “graduate” from the fellowship?
- Fellows must actively participate in virtual and in-person meetings (including the Gen2Gen Fellowship Showcase).
- Fellows must be generous in peer learning, coaching and support of their cohort, and serve as an informal Encore.org ambassador during the fellowship.
- Fellows must produce and deliver a three-minute presentation of their Gen2Gen work, while moving their initiative to the next stage of development and laying a foundation for greater influence and impact.
- Fellows must also produce one published essay or equivalent (significant interviews, keynote speech, performance, etc.).
For more information
Will you be offering the fellowship in 2022?
We hope so! We typically open applications in June. To stay up-to-date, sign up for our newsletter.
I heard you run other fellowship programs. How can I learn more?
Yes, applications are also open for the Gen2Gen Voices Fellowship (formerly known as the Encore Public Voices Fellowship). Click here to learn more about our other open fellowship.