Civic Ventures Announces National Initiative to Invest in Social Entrepreneurs Who Lead with Experience


Initiative Draws Attention to 'Immense Untapped Resource' — Americans in the Second Half of Life Eager to Make Social Contribution Five Over 60 Will Win New $100,000 Purpose Prize
News Release - For Immediate Release -
12/01/2005
For more information, contact:
Anne Purdy, (240) 863-2103
apurdy@fenton.com

SAN FRANCISCO — Civic Ventures announced today that nominations are open for the Purpose Prize, five $100,000 investments in Americans over the age of 60 who are combining their passion, creativity, experience and entrepreneurial skills to tackle issues of social significance. The nonprofit think tank and program incubator, which works to help America achieve the greatest return on experience, said sixty semi-finalists ("60 at 60+") will also be honored for their social innovations.

The Prize is part of a new national initiative to inspire and encourage millions of Americans to use their experience for the greater good as they reach the cusp of what once was called "retirement." The $9 million effort, funded by The Atlantic Philanthropies and The John Templeton Foundation, includes a national summit to convene experienced and aspiring social innovators from across the country. A $1.5 million Fund for Innovation will provide grants to help prize winners and finalists expand their community work and take breakthrough ideas to scale.

Beginning January 1, the first of roughly 77 million baby boomers will turn 60. What will members of the largest, healthiest and best-educated generation in American history do with this next phase of their lives? The possibilities are endless, particularly for a passionate generation that has always done things its own way.

"America is in the midst of a demographic revolution," said Marc Freedman, founder and president of Civic Ventures and author of Prime Time: How Baby Boomers will Revolutionize Retirement and Transform America. "Whether they know it or not, the first of the baby boomers to turn 60 are pioneers in a new stage spanning the decades between middle and late life. They represent an extraordinary pool of social and human capital.

"This initiative aims to tap this tremendous potential and to provide these social entrepreneurs with the resources and support they need to put their experience to use in solving critical social problems," Freedman continued.

Purpose Prize winners will be selected by a jury, including Sherry Lansing, recently retired president of Paramount Pictures, and Harris Wofford, former U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania and former CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service. Winners and semi-finalists will be announced at the organization's summit in June 2006.

There are roughly 77 million baby boomers in the United States, and 32 million of them are already age 50 or older. An estimated 3.4 million of them will turn 60 in 2006 alone.

"We're looking for experienced social innovators," said Jim Emerman, executive vice president of Civic Ventures and director of the Purpose Prize initiative. "Local or national, big or small — these stories are out there. Our ideal candidates are unsung heroes who are making a social contribution after midlife, and are ready to take it to the next level."

Civic Ventures began accepting nominations, including self nominations, for the prize today at www.LeadWithExperience.org. The site also includes more information about the Purpose Prize and a new online guide for journalists covering the aging of the baby boom.

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Civic Ventures is a think tank and incubator, generating ideas and inventing programs to help society achieve the greatest return on experience.

The Atlantic Philanthropies are dedicated to bringing about lasting changes in the lives of disadvantaged and vulnerable people through grant-making. Atlantic focuses on critical social problems related to ageing, disadvantaged children and youth, population health, and reconciliation and human rights. Programmes funded by Atlantic operate in Australia, Bermuda, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, South Africa, the United States and Viet Nam.

The John Templeton Foundation's focus on the human person is guided by Sir John Templeton's unyielding optimism that there is much to learn from examining scientifically the nature and benefits of such spiritual principles as creativity, gratitude, altruism, and purpose. From cutting-edge research that examines how young people can acquire a sense of noble purpose in today's world to recognizing the contributions of "purpose pioneers" through a prize program that honors innovative older adults who improve their communities through their work and inspiring vision, the Foundation's efforts aim to promote the benefits of purpose throughout the lifespan.