Gen2Gen Innovation Fellowship

The Gen2Gen Innovation Fellowship elevates, catalyzes and supports the work of 15 practical visionaries of all ages with ambitious initiatives to bridge generational divides.

Applications now open for 2021-22

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 generational divides.

As the pandemic recedes, we need the nation’s most talented innovators and entrepreneurs to marshall their best ideas to create and scale intergenerational solutions.

That’s why we’re opening applications for the second group of 15 Gen2Gen Innovation Fellows.

Over nine months, beginning in October 2021, fellows will receive:

  • A powerful, cohort experience with a mix of virtual and in-person sessions over nine months.
  • Expert coaching and peer assistance to advance their program design, pitch to funders, tell their own story well and widely, and more.
  • $10,000 to advance their 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, an event convening changemakers, thought leaders, and funders working in the intergenerational arena.

“I learned so much from the Encore.org team and the members of my cohort about how to formalize intergenerational work. I learned a lot about persistence and tenacity from watching members of my cohort launch impressive things. I can’t tell you how much I benefited from their individual and collective wisdom.”

Sherreta Harrison
MetroMorphosis, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

“I learned so much from the Encore.org team and the members of my cohort about how to formalize intergenerational work. I learned a lot about persistence and tenacity from watching members of my cohort launch impressive things. I can’t tell you how much I benefited from their individual and collective wisdom.”

Sherreta Harrison
MetroMorphosis, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Encore.org seeks candidates who are:

  • 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.

Programming for the 2021-22 year will be primarily virtual, with one in-person gathering planned for Feb 2-4, 2022, as safety permits. Travel stipends will be available for all fellows.

For more information
You can attend one of two information sessions.

After reading our FAQs (below) and attending one of the information sessions, If you still have questions, you can sign up here for a 15-minute conversation with a member of our team on July 6, 7, 12-14. (If you have an existing Google calendar account, time slots will be customized to your registered time zone. If you do not have a Google calendar account, the office hours will default to Pacific Time.)

“I so appreciate the great support and thoughtful consultation of the entire Encore team. There’s no doubt that Encore.org is pulling out all the stops to build a nationwide network of caring, talented innovators and invaluable, intergenerational programs!”

Jim Isenberg
Grandpas United, White Plains, NY

“I so appreciate the great support and thoughtful consultation of the entire Encore team. There’s no doubt that Encore.org is pulling out all the stops to build a nationwide network of caring, talented innovators and invaluable, intergenerational programs!”

Jim Isenberg
Grandpas United, White Plains, NY

Funders

The Gen2Gen Innovation Fellowship is made possible by generous support from:​

  • The John Templeton Foundation
  • The Eisner Foundation
  • The May & Stanley Smith Charitable Trust
  • The RFF Foundation for Aging

Advisors and coaches

  • Amy Clark, Communications, Ashoka U.S.
  • Andrew J. Scott, Professor of Economics and former Deputy Dean at London Business School
  • Cal J. Halvorsen, Assistant Professor, Boston College School of Social Work and Senior Research Fellow, Encore.org
  • Carol Larson, former President & CEO, The David and Lucile Packard Foundation
  • Courtney E. Martin, Co-founder, Solutions Journalism Network
  • Chip Conley, Founder, Modern Elder Academy, Strategic Advisor, Airbnb, and Founder, Joie de Vivre Hospitality
  • David Hsu, Fellow, Omidyar Network
  • David Vásquez-Levy, President, Pacific School of Religion
  • Donna Butts, Executive Director, Generations United
  • Eric Liu, Co-founder & CEO, Citizen University
  • Gara LaMarche, former President, Democracy Alliance, and Senior Fellow, Encore.org
  • Harriette Cole, Senior Fellow, Encore.org
  • Isabel González Whitaker, Senior Fellow, Encore.org
  • Jamal Joseph, Founder & Executive Artistic Director, IMPACT Repertory Theatre
  • Jason Marsh, Executive Director, Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley
  • Jehan Velji, Managing Director, Blue Meridian Partners
  • Jenn Lishansky, Chief Engagement Officer, Be Social Change
  • Jennie Chin Hansen, former President AARP, Former CEO American Geriatrics Society
  • John Gomperts, former President & CEO, America’s Promise Alliance
  • Justin Kaufflin, Jazz Pianist and Composer, featured in “Keep on Keepin’ On”
  • Kate Schaefers, Executive Director, University of Minnesota Advanced Careers Initiative
  • Keanne Henry, Vice President, AARP
  • Laura Carstensen, Director, Stanford Center on Longevity, Stanford University
  • Lester Strong, Founder, The Peaceful Guardians Project and former CEO, AARP Experience Corps
  • Lori Broglio Severens, Associate Director, Ascend at the Aspen Institute
  • Max Tuchman, Co-founder & CEO, Caribu
  • Michelle Hynes, Change Facilitator and Career Coach
  • Nancy Morrow-Howell, Director, Harvey A. Friedman Center for Aging, Washington University, St. Louis
  • Patrice Martin, Co-founder & CEO, The Holding Co.
  • Phyllis Segal, Senior Fellow, Encore.org
  • Ruth Wooden, Program Director, Union Theological Seminary, former President of Public Agenda and the Ad Council
  • Robert Egger, Founder, DC Central Kitchen
  • Sandro Olivieri, President, Productive, and Entrepreneur-in-Residence, AT&T Aspire Accelerator
  • Scott Keoni Shigeoka, Creative in Residence, Encore.org
  • Sherry Lansing, The Sherry Lansing Foundation, and Former Chairman, Paramount Pictures
  • Sherry Turkle, Professor of the Social Studies of Science and Technology, MIT
  • Susan Gianinno, Senior Advisor, Publicis North America and Chair Emeritus, The Advertising Council’s Board of Directors
  • William Damon, Professor & Director, Center on Adolescence, Stanford University

“I’ve gained a community of peers who are working toward a similar vision, facing the same challenges. Every time I go into a cohort meeting, I’m stressed about something, but then I leave feeling relaxed and happy with a sense of clarity about the next steps for Big & Mini.”

Aditi Merchant
Big & Mini, Austin, Texas

“I’ve gained a community of peers who are working toward a similar vision, facing the same challenges. Every time I go into a cohort meeting, I’m stressed about something, but then I leave feeling relaxed and happy with a sense of clarity about the next steps for Big & Mini.”

Aditi Merchant
Big & Mini, Austin, Texas

Background

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.

Eligibility

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?

No. Applicants must be U.S.-based.

Criteria

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.

Application

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. You can start anytime, then save and return later.

How long will the application take to complete?

While this will vary, we estimate the application will take a few hours to complete.

What happens after I apply?
  • Encore.org staff will carefully evaluate your application.
  • Finalists will be selected and invited to participate in a learning circle, modeled after our cohort meetings, on either August 31 or September 1 (10:30-12:30pm PT). We will inform all applicants of their status and announce new fellows by mid-September 2021.
  • Fellowships will begin on October 7, 2021.
Who will review my application?

Encore.org staff and advisors will review applications and select 15 fellows.

Who from my team should apply to be the fellow?

The application should list the name of the person who will participate in fellowship meetings. If you are associated with an organization, this is likely the founder, CEO or spokesperson for the program. The person must have decision-making authority and influence over the design and implementation of the project. If you are part of a co-founding team, it is important to note that the fellowship is for a single individual. You will need to decide which co-founder will apply.

Do I need permission from my organization to apply?

Yes. Applicants affiliated with organizations overseeing their intergenerational project will need consent to participate. Engagement in the fellowship will require full participation in monthly virtual meetings, one in-person gathering (if safety allows) and one special event, the Gen2Gen Fellowship Showcase,that overlap with regular working hours, and may require travel. The organization will also need to be supportive of the fellow developing and using their public voice. Fellows will need to indicate they have the consent of their organization in their application.

Can I get any help with my application?

Yes. Encore.org staff will offer office hours on July  6, 7, 12, 13 and 14. Sign up here for a 15-minute appointment. (If you have an existing Google calendar account, time slots will be customized to your registered time zone. If you do not have a Google calendar account, the office hours will default to Pacific Time.)

Fellowship Participation

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?

Yes.

  • 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

I’ve got more questions. What can I do to get them answered?

Please register to attend an information session on June 29 (register here) or July 8 (register here). You can also sign up for office hours (15-min slots offered on July 6, 7, 12, 13, 14). (If you have an existing Google calendar account, time slots will be customized to your registered time zone. If you do not have a Google calendar account, the office hours will default to Pacific Time.)

If your questions aren’t answered there, please send remaining questions to Encore.org’s Director of Innovation Janet Oh at [email protected].​

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.

Meet the 2020-2021 Gen2Gen Innovation Fellows

The 2020-21 Gen2Gen Innovation Fellows, above, bring generations together to fight social isolation, even the playing field for youth, create stronger cities and more affordable housing, strengthen the multigenerational workforce, and so much more.

Here’s a brief introduction to the group.

Aditi Merchant, Co-founder, Big & Mini
Reducing isolation through unexpected intergenerational friendships

Alex Owens, Founder, Be Loud Studios
Helping youth and elders tell their collective story through radio and digital media

Arielle Ayala, Associate Director of Stockton Service Corps, Reinvent Stockton Foundation
Anchoring national service in intergenerational collaboration

Brittany T. Paschall, Founder & Board Chair, We Remember Nashville
Bringing generational healing and compassionate action to Nashville

Charlotte Japp, Founder, CIRKEL
Connecting older and younger professionals for two-way mentorship and networking

Dana Griffin, Co-Founder & CEO, Eldera
Harnessing technology to build a virtual global village for elders and youth

Elizabeth “Like” Lokon, Founder & Director, Opening Minds through Art, Scripps Gerontology Center, Miami University
Creating a dementia-friendly app that fosters intergenerational friendship through collaborative art

Gee Kin Chou, Co-founder, The Boombox Collaboratory
Enabling older adults who have connections to make introductions for kids who don’t

Jim Isenberg, Co-founder, Grandpas United
Mobilizing grandpas to be role models for boys, changing the narrative about older men in the process

Lennon Flowers, Co-Founder & Executive Director, The Dinner Party
Piloting a new intergenerational approach to grief and loss

Noelle Marcus, CEO & Founder, Nesterly
Tackling urban housing affordability and aging in place through intergenerational homesharing

Rowena Richie, Artist & Teacher, For You and Senior Atlantic Fellow for Equity in Brain Health, Atlantic Institute
Launching a creative movement of art making as gift giving between artists and elders

Sarah LaFave, Board President & Founder, Lori’s Hands
Transforming the learning experience of next-generation health care leaders and the lives of their chronically ill patients

Sherreta R. Harrison, Sustainability Catalyst, MetroMorphosis
Sustaining the social sector through intergenerational co-leadership models

Sue Phillips, Co-Founder, Sacred Design Lab
Helping high-impact organizations bring spiritual wellness and intergenerational joy to their work

Fellows in action

THE WASHINGTON POST: The cure for pandemic loneliness? Friends of a different generation.
Includes Big & Mini | June 3, 2021

 

FORBES: Recruiting Actions Companies Need To Take Now To Improve Workplace Inclusion
Includes Charlotte Japp / CIRKEL | April 28, 2021

 

AARP: 15 Lessons the Coronavirus Pandemic Has Taught Us
Includes Nesterly | March 4, 2021

“I have always been an eager learner, but the fellowship has expanded the field of who I can learn from. The introductions made inside and outside the fellowship group have been invaluable.”

Elizabeth Lokon
Opening Minds through Art, Miami University, Oxford, OH

“I have always been an eager learner, but the fellowship has expanded the field of who I can learn from. The introductions made inside and outside the fellowship group have been invaluable.”

Elizabeth Lokon
Opening Minds through Art, Miami University, Oxford, OH

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