$100,000 in Cash Prizes for Innovation Across Generations

How can we get more people over 50 engaged in the lives of young people who need more champions?

Today, Encore.org announced 15 semi-finalists for The Encore Prize: Generation to Generation Challenge. Each of them has a great answer to that question.

“Millions of kids growing up in challenging circumstances need more caring adults in their lives,” said Generation to Generation Campaign Director Eunice Lin Nichols. “The Encore Prize will invest in innovators who bring the generations together, delivering the strength of encore talent to vulnerable kids.”

Here are the 15 semi-finalists for the 2017 Encore Prize: Gen2Gen Challenge.

  • Benchwarmers (Los Angeles, CA) connects empathetic and supportive coaches age 50+ to kids who are not considered athletic, giving youngsters a chance to build their self-esteem through playing basketball.
  • Braid Mission (San Francisco, CA) engages experienced adults as facilitators of cross-generational teams of mentors with youth in foster care.
  • Chess Across Borders (New York City, NY) taps into the experience of volunteers over 50 to teach chess, tai chi, music and storytelling to high-need students in economically challenged communities.
  • Critical Bridge/Office of Mayor Sam Liccardo (San Jose, CA) integrates caring, older-adult mentors into the city’s workforce and community-college programs to help youth get on track, discover new opportunities and change the trajectory of their lives.
  • Family Promise (Summit, NJ) partners with faith-based and secular groups to provide older financial literacy coaches to youth and their families to help them achieve housing stability and financial independence.
  • FIRST 5 Santa Clara County (San Jose, CA), integrates older adult volunteers into their family programs to help promote the social, emotional, health and wellness of children, prenatal through age 5, and their families.
  • Grandmas2Go/Family Coaches (Jacksonville, OR) matches volunteer grandmas with vulnerable children and families, to help fill gaps in service left by stretched public dollars.
  • Hire Autism/Organization for Autism Research (Arlington, VA) engages older-adult mentors to help young adults on the autism spectrum find jobs that match their skills.
  • Journey to Success/Child and Family Service (Ewa Beach, HI) connects older adults as mentors to youth, using technology and social media to provide the island’s only exploratory career talks for young people.
  • Neighbor Ed/Goodwill Industries of North Central Wisconsin (Menasha, WI) equips older neighbors as block connectors and neighborhood educators who work with youth to identify and develop grassroots projects that build their skills, while strengthening their communities.
  • One Body Collaboratives (Rockford, IL) creates a platform for matching encore-stage adults from faith and secular communities — as tutors, mentors, coaches, drivers, professional services volunteers and more — with local youth and youth organizations.
  • Parkin-A-Punch/Iowa State University (Ames, IA) matches young boxers with older adults who have Parkinson’s. As older adults learn boxing, they become role models, helping their young coaches identify and pursue their goals and dreams.
  • Pushy Moms/LaGuardia Community College (Long Island City, NY) helps first-generation community college students transfer to four-year colleges by harnessing the expertise of moms over 50 who have guided their own children through college.
  • Restorative Justice Project of Maine (Belfast, ME) engages older adults in mentoring at-risk youth to keep kids away from criminal activity, while working to transform the justice system away from punishment and over-incarceration and toward repair and reintegration.
  • Table Wisdom (St. Louis, MO) uses technology to pair people 50+ with new immigrants of different generations, cultures, languages and geographies for conversations that keep older people socially and civically engaged and support immigrants​ in improving their ​lives​.

What’s next? On Sept 12, Encore will announce five finalists. Then a distinguished panel of judges — including Soledad O’Brien, broadcast journalist and co-founder of the PowHERful Foundation; Chip Conley, author and founder of Joie de Vivre Hospitality; Obie Mckensie, managing director at Blackrock; and Doug Rauch, former president of Trader Joe’s and now president of Daily Table — will select one of the $50,000 winners. The other $50,000 winner will be chosen by his or her fellow competitors.

The Encore Prize is funded by The John Templeton Foundation and the MetLife Foundation, and has the support of Aging2.0, IDEO, the MFA in Social Innovation at the School of Visual Arts, the Milken Center on the Future of Aging, the Stanford Center on Longevity and the Stanford Distinguished Careers Institute. 

Encore.org is a national nonprofit building a movement to tap the skills and and talents of experienced adults to improve communities and the world. Generation to Generation is Encore.org’s five-year campaign to mobilize adults 50+ to help young people thrive.