• Awarded: 2010
  • Issue Areas: Education · Post-Secondary Education
  • Region: North America
  • Web:
  • About the Organization

    While many see our aging society as a problem, (formerly Civic Ventures) views it as a solution. Those in and beyond midlife represent a powerful source of talent, with the accumulated skills, experience, and wisdom to tackle some of society’s most urgent challenges. is building a movement to make it easier for millions of people to pursue encore careers – or second acts for the greater good. The ultimate goal: to produce a windfall of talent to help solve society’s greatest problems.

    Through an inventive program portfolio, original research, strategic alliances, and the power of people’s own life stories, demonstrates the value of experience in solving serious social problems – from education to the environment, health care to homelessness. programs include The Purpose Prize, for social innovators in their encore careers; The Encore Fellowships Network, for experienced private-sector employees transitioning to encore careers; the Encore College Initiative, for higher education institutions preparing people for encore careers; and the Encore Network, a growing group of organizations building the movement one community at a time.

    American society is aging, with a potential for increasing challenges to support and care for elders, and for individual and social renewal. helps potential retirees pursue “encore careers” with positive social impact.

    Marc Freedman sees encore careers keeping people engaged and healthy, and offsetting costs of an aging society.

    Ambition for Change

    Encore careers focused on social benefit provide continued income and new meaning for individuals and help offset costs of an aging society by keeping people engaged, connected, and healthy.

    Path to Scale

    Building a Movement recognizes and supports social entrepreneurs and other midlife changemakers with a goal of inspiring others to follow their path, and encourages employers and educational institutions to adopt policies friendly to the practice.

    Business Model

    Largely philanthropic support but beginning to build earned income streams.

    Marc Freedman founded Civic Ventures – now called – in 1998 to find caring, committed adults to help young people growing up in poverty. His belief that the vast and growing older population could serve as a critical resource for children led him to spearhead the development of Experience Corps, now a highly successful tutoring and mentoring program helping 20,000 children in 20 cities. In the years since, Freedman founded The Purpose Prize, a $100,000 award for social innovators over 60, with his newest goal to get millions of boomers to pour their life experiences into “encore careers” that have positive social impact. seeks to establish a new definition of success in the second half of life, engaging millions of baby boomers as a vital workforce for change. Through an inventive program portfolio, original research, strategic alliances, and the power of people´s own life stories, works to enable those who want to pursue encore careers by addressing barriers such as missing language and vision, inadequate pathways and employer practices, and a policy landscape suited for shorter working lives. At the time of the Award, the purpose Prize was in its sixth year; Experience Corps was the largest national service program, mobilizing Americans over the age of 55 for social change, operating in 23 cities with 2,000 members serving 20,000 children.

    Impact & Accomplishments

    • The number of Purpose Prize winners and Fellows has grown to more than 465. Corporate sponsorships for prizes in specific fields have enabled increasing the number of $100,000 Prize awards each year.
    • Thanks largely to’s Encore U program, more than 20 leading universities, including Stanford, Harvard, NYU, Tulane, and the University of Washington have launched Encore programs to support midlife students transitioning to encore careers.
    • org has established the Encore Network as a resource for organizations leading the movement.
    • Encore Fellows are earning a stipend and learning how to succeed in social change work at agencies and nonprofits in 35 metropolitan areas across the U.S.


    Marc FreedmanCEO and Founder,

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