Who Made It to the Finals? Five Innovators Vie for Two $50,000 Encore Prizes

The 15 semifinalists for The Encore Prize: Generation to Generation Challenge all presented great ideas for bringing people over 50 into the lives of young people who need champions.

With help from more than 12,000 voters — if you’re one, thank you! — Encore.org today announced the contest’s five finalists. At a live-pitch event in Boston on Oct. 16, two will win $50,000 each. All 15 will receive continued coaching and enthusiastic support from Encore.org.

The five finalists are:

  • Critical Bridge/Office of Mayor Sam Liccardo (San Jose, CA), which 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), which 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.
  • Grandmas2Go/Family Coaches (Jacksonville, OR), which matches volunteer “grandmas” with vulnerable families with young children (0-5) to help fill gaps in service left by stretched public dollars.
  • Hire Autism/Organization for Autism Research (Arlington, VA), which engages older-adult mentors to help young adults on the autism spectrum find jobs that match their skills.
  • Table Wisdom (St. Louis, MO), which uses technology to pair people 50+ with new immigrants of different generations, cultures, languages and geographies for conversations that  support immigrants in improving their lives and keep older people socially and civically engaged.

Family Promise and Hire Autism won the popular vote and were automatically moved into the final round. The other three organizations were selected based on a variety of factors, including strength of program, scalability, and diversity of ideas and population served.

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 fellow competitors and the audience at the live-pitch event.

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.