Encore.org announces the first 20 Encore Public Voices Fellows.

Those of us who work in the aging and longevity space often talk about the need for more diverse stories, voices and perspectives about what it means to grow older today. Far too often, the same group of experts appear on panels and are quoted by the media.

It is time to open up that circle. Beginning this September, 20 thought leaders in the field — chosen from an extraordinary group of more than 180 applicants — will begin a year-long fellowship to amplify their voices through writing and speaking. They are the first cohort of the Encore Public Voices Fellowship.

These leaders will not be focusing on aches and pains or anti-aging tips. They are all working on solutions-oriented approaches to a guiding question: What needs to happen to allow everyone to find purpose and engagement in the second half of life?

The 20 fellows are diverse in many ways. They range in age from millennials to the Greatest Generation. They come from urban and rural communities, both inside and outside of the United States. They are nonprofit and faith leaders, academics, business people, housing innovators, and community activists. More than half are people of color. And more than half are women.

They are working on a wide range of topics, including:

  • Intergenerational housing approaches — from home sharing to support for foster families to new types of housing options.
  • New ways to engage older people as climate change activists and legal advocates for the most vulnerable populations.
  • New models for community change, for recruiting older people to work with children, and for democratizing philanthropy.
  • Strategies to fight ageism.
  • Efforts to create racial and religious reconciliation.
  • An exploration of the intersection of aging, gender and technology.
  • Campaigns to improve conditions for the aging poor, low-wage workers, caregivers, the care workforce, and people with disabilities.
  • Self-employment and entrepreneurship in the older population.

Over the course of an academic year beginning in September, fellows will meet in person for four interactive day-long seminars designed to expand their thinking and amplify their expertise. Two instructors, both veteran journalists, will provide one-on-one coaching and editing of their work. In between sessions, the cohorts will be in close touch online.

Over the course of the next several months, you’ll see these names bubble up as part of the ongoing public conversation on longevity and aging. To make sure you don’t miss a thing, we’ll highlight their work on social media and on the Viewpoints section of the Encore.org site.

The Encore Public Voice Fellowship is a partnership between Encore.org, The OpEd Project and Ann MacDougall. We all hope it will continue beyond this year. To learn more about why we created the Encore Public Voices Fellowship, read our initial announcement or contact me at [email protected]

Encore.org is an innovation hub tapping the talent of the 50+ population as a force for good. The Public Voices Fellowship is The OpEd Project’s highest-impact program, part of a prestigious national initiative to change who writes history with institutional partners including, Yale, the Ford Foundation and a dozen other institutions and foundations. Ann MacDougall, the former president of Encore.org, is a Senior Advisor to Encore.org.

Our advisory council for this initiative is comprised of a small group of outstanding social innovators and media professionals. Founding members are Ellen Goodman (chair), Mary C. Curtis, Katie Orenstein, Trabian Shorters, Sree Sreenivasan, Ken Dychtwald and Lester Strong.

Please join me in congratulating this first cohort of Encore Public Voices Fellows! (Read their full bios here).


Published: August 29, 2018

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