Gen2Gen Innovation Fellowship

The Gen2Gen Innovation Fellowship will identify, advance and disseminate the work of 12 practical visionaries of all ages with ambitious initiatives to bridge generational divides.

Applications for the Gen2Gen Innovation Fellowship are now closed.

There is a critical need for new ways to bring older and younger people together.

Connections between generations were strained before Covid-19. Since then, physical distancing has created more division, disconnection, ageism and loneliness. By separating us, the pandemic has created a deeper appreciation for our essential interdependence and for the creativity that will be needed to bring young and old together again when it’s safe. To boost and support that creativity, and to respond to our urgent need for connection, we call on the nation’s most talented innovators and entrepreneurs to marshal their best ideas to create and scale intergenerational solutions.

Over nine months, beginning in October 2020, fellows will receive:

 

  • Expert coaching and peer assistance to advance their program design, pitch to funders, ability to tell their own story well and widely, and more.
  • Exposure to important networks, including funders and experts in the field.
  • Traditional and social media attention.
  • Professional photography and editorial support.
  • An opportunity to present at Gen2Gen Live, the soon-to-be-launched annual convening of the most talented changemakers and thought leaders working in the intergenerational arena.
  • $10,000 to advance their Gen2Gen work, plus the opportunity to win an additional $5,000 Judges’ Award.

We seek candidates who are: 

  • Solutions-oriented innovators and creatives working at the intersection of aging, intergenerational connection and social justice.
  • Practical visionaries eager to measurably advance their impact and invest in making intergenerational connection and collaboration the norm.
  • 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 2020-21 year will be virtual and in-person, as safety permits. Travel stipends will be available for any in-person meetings.

All applications are due at 5pm PT / 8pm ET on July 15.

For more information

Watch the information session

  • Watch the recording of our July 6 info session here.

 

Funders

Thanks to the generous funders of this fellowship:

  • The John Templeton Foundation
  • The David and Lucile Packard Foundation
  • The Eisner Foundation
  • The May & Stanley Smith Charitable Trust

Judges

  • Amy Clark, Communications, Ashoka U.S.
  • Andrew J. Scott, Professor of Economics and former Deputy Dean at London Business School
  • 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, President, Democracy Alliance
  • 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
  • Nancy Morrow-Howell, Director, Harvey A. Friedman Center for Aging, Washington University, St. Louis
  • Patrice Martin, Co-founder & CEO, The Holding Co.
  • 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
  • Sherry Lansing, The Sherry Lansing Foundation & Former Chairman, Paramount Pictures
  • Sherry Turkle, Professor of the Social Studies of Science and Technology, MIT
  • William Damon, Professor & Director, Center on Adolescence, Stanford University

Background

Why offer this fellowship now?

The nation’s inequalities are in full view. We need bold thinkers and bridge builders to lead the way toward a better future.

Connections between generations were strained before Covid-19. Since then, physical distancing has created more division, disconnection, ageism and loneliness — all while reminding us how much we need one another.

By separating us, the pandemic has created a deeper appreciation for our essential interdependence and for the creativity that will be needed to bring young and old together again when it’s over.

To boost and support that creativity — and to respond to our urgent need for connection across divides — we are launching the Gen2Gen Innovation Fellowship. In service of a better future for all generations, 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 new fellowship is to elevate, catalyze and support social innovation and entrepreneurship aimed at addressing cross-generational disconnection and division. 
  • 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 aging and intergenerational issues.  
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.
  • $10,000 to advance your Gen2Gen work and the chance to win a $5,000 Judges’ Prize at the Gen2Gen Innovation Showcase, a virtual live-pitch event.
  • An opportunity to be showcased at Gen2Gen Live, the soon-to-be-launched 2021 convening of the most talented changemakers and thought leaders working in the intergenerational arena.
  • Expert coaching and training to advance your program design, and help you pitch to funders and tell your own story well and widely. 
  • Exposure to important networks, including funders and experts in the field. 
  • Traditional and social media attention.
  • Professional photography and editorial support.

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 won the Purpose Prize or the 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 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 connect the generations?
  • Innovation. Is the applicant using a new or creative approach, or making critical improvements to existing models?
  • Encore fit. Does the applicant engage people 50+ in a way that sees aging through an asset-based lens?
  • Impact. Does the model serve communities that stand to gain the most from increased social connection? Is there strong potential or existing evidence that the program works? Is there a way to measure impact in the future?
  • Scalability or replicability. Does the work have the potential to spread?
  • Leadership. Has the applicant demonstrated leadership in their field or within their community?

Ideal fellow candidates will be:

  • Solutions-oriented innovators and creatives working at the intersection of aging, intergenerational connection and social justice.
  • Practical visionaries eager to measurably advance their impact and invest in making intergenerational connection and collaboration the norm.
  • 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?

We are looking for ideas that highlight the value of older adult experience in relationships that connect 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.

How do I nominate someone?

Go to our nomination page. 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 will then receive instructions on how to apply.

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 interviewed from Aug 24-28, 2020. 
  • We will inform all applicants of their status and announce new fellows by mid-September 2020.
  • Fellowships will begin in October 2020.
Who will review my application?

Encore.org staff will review applications and select 12 fellows in the first year. A panel of judges — made up of experts, funders, and practitioners — will learn more about the 12 fellows, then determine which one will become the winner of the $5,000 Judges’ Prize. 

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 meetings and two signature events (the Gen2Gen Innovation Showcase and Gen2Gen Live) that overlap with regular working hours, and/or 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 June 15 & 22 and July 1, 7 & 13. Sign up here for a 15-minute appointment.

Fellowship participation

What is the curriculum for the fellowship?

Fellows will move through three modules focused on honing their intergenerational model, crafting a compelling pitch to potential investors and partners, and spreading their ideas to a broader audience and influencing the national conversation.

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?

Twelve people will be named as Gen2Gen Innovation Fellows in Year 1; 18 will be selected in Year 2. 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 12 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 shortly after the virtual Gen2Gen Innovation Showcase. 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 will the fellowship require?

Fellows will participate in one virtual half-day cohort meeting per month for the duration of the nine-month fellowship. 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 pitch coaching sessions with Andy Goodman in preparation for the Gen2Gen Innovation Showcase and a consultation with a member of Encore.org’s communications team to hone their op-ed. Fellows should expect to do independent work between meetings, but that work will closely align with and enhance what fellows are already doing to advance their projects. In 2021, we hope to bring all fellows together for a two-day, in-person event held in conjunction with Gen2Gen Live in June 2021. If travel restrictions are still in place at that time, we will shift these convenings to a virtual format.

How long does the fellowship last?

While formal fellowship activities will begin in October 2020 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 Encore/Gen2Gen movement in the following ways:

  • Connect fellows with media interviews, 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 Gen2Gen Live).
  • 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 pitch of their Gen2Gen work, while moving their initiative to the next stage of development and laying a foundation for the next stage of influence and impact.
  • Fellows must also produce one op-ed or equivalent in 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 10 (register here) or June 18 (register here). You can also sign up for office hours (15-min slots offered on June 15 & 22 and July 1, 7 & 13).  

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

I heard you have another fellowship open. How can I learn more?

Yes, applications are also open for the Encore Public Voices Fellowship. Click here to learn more about our other open fellowship.

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