Purpose Prize Innovation Network

Join in the discussions with all Purpose Prize Winners and Fellows and other social innovators. This is a special group for use by social innovators, and Purpose Prize winners or fellows since 2006.

You can post questions or ideas for feedback from a dynamic set of winners and fellows who understand what it takes to be a social innovator working to make the world a better place.


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New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg talks in this video about his delight at discovering the term "encore career" and mentions his own encore career in public service, where he says he is "doing the most important and intense work of my life."

Global Partnership for Afghanistan Helps Farmers Prosper

Purpose Prize Fellow Dana Freyer sends along the news that CNN World Report has picked up a film clip from NATO TV that shows how the Global Partnership for Afghanistan is helping Afghan farmers prosper and giving them a vested interest in a peaceful Afghanistan.

The three-minute segment features GPFA staff and farmers in Guldara district, north of Kabul, where GPFA began its work in 2004. Please share this link with your friends.

Hello I am happy to be here.

I am going for a bike ride but will explore later!

The Image of Older Americans and The Purpose Prize

Has the image of the role of older Americans evolved since The Purpose Prize was introduced in 2006? That's the question Civic Ventures is trying to answer with a research project that looks at how the mainstream media portray adults in the second half of life.

Bids for the project are due October 1. Click here for details.

Do you think the image of Americans in the media has changed in the past three years?

New Database Will Spread Information About Social Entrepreneurs

Peter Panepento of The Chronicle of Philanthropy reports:

What if there was an easy way for the public to get detailed information about the work of some of the world’s most successful social entrepreneurs?

Would it lead to better ideas that could someday solve some of the world’s most pressing problems?

The Skoll Foundation, PopTech, ideablob, and Civic Ventures are about to find out.

Washington, D.C., & Webcast: Accelerating Social Entrepreneurship

"How Technology Is Knocking Down Doors and Fueling Social Innovation." How are you using technology to expand opportunities for social change? When do you grab hold of your computer or your PDA to stay connected to others who are serving the greater good?

Podcasts Available from the Summit

Two of the most provocative sessions at the 2008 Encore Careers Summit, "Lessons for a New Social Movement" and "Journeying Through Multiple Careers," are now available podcasts as part of Stanford's series of Social Innovation Conversations

In "Lessons for a New Social Movement," four distinguished panelists discuss the origins of three great social movements in the United States: the women's movement, the civil rights movement and the environmental movement and explore the lessons for the encore careers movement as it seeks to harness the energy of people over age 50 to tackle urgent social challenges.

An idea won't work unless you do

Our company, MIA Consulting, was the first to bring services to individuals where they live, thus avoiding unnecessary institutionalization and cost. To achieve economies of scale, our service delivery model first catered to public housing residents, serving a large and permanent concentration of low-income seniors and disabled adults with common needs.

Finding one’s compass in trying economic times

Editor's note: Barbara Cervone, 2008 Purpose Prize winner, launched What Kids Can Do (WKCD) in 2001 to bring youth voices and action to the attention of the larger media, educators and communities.

To call the current economic times "trying" seems an understatement. For those of us leading small nonprofits aimed at helping, healing, restoring, and change, the times seem more like a perfect storm. The needs that inspired us to step up and out are more compelling than ever, while the funds that previously supported our work shrink like ice caps in Antarctica. Staying afloat competes with taking risks. The temptation to "go where the money is" (assuming there is money) can end up in "mission creep."

As someone who lived through what now seem like lesser storms in the 80's and 90's--as a school reformer and grant maker--I thought I knew the dilemmas that face change-driven nonprofits in tough times. But that was before I took the helm of my own nonprofit (who had heard of an "encore career"?) and the term "global economic meltdown" entered our vocabulary.

New 30-second Purpose Prize promotional video

We've created a short Web video spot to seek nominations for this year's Prize. There are only two weeks left before the March 5 deadline, so please spread the word by posting this widely on your Web sites, on blogs you like, and in email to friends.

here's the link:


here's the video:

Finding good English teachers/ A major challenge

ASSET India Foundation provides English language and computer instruction to children of sex workers and girls rescued from trafficking in major cities in India. We presently have seven centers and will be adding three more by the end of the year.

Obama Leading by Modeling and Showing Respect

On December 17 I posted a comment on a Salon article dealing with Obama's appointment of Arne Duncan as secretary of education. The announcement took place at a Chicago elementary school. Obama had a conversation with first to fourth graders.

Here's what I posted corrected for spelling, grammar and clarity.

GROWING POWER: Recognition of Older Innovators

Encore.org member David Cohen, a senior fellow at Experience Corps, contributed this comment:

Choosing Will Allen, the Milwaukee urban farmer, for a MacArthur genius award gave me great pleasure.

I was part of a team at the Advocacy Institute--with key colleagues Sharvell Becton, Laura Chambers, Keiko Koizumi and Kathleen Sheekey-- that worked on the Leadership for a Changing World Program (LCW) in partnership with the Ford Foundation and the Robert Wagner School of Public Service at New York University (NYU).

Our purpose was to award through varieties of recognition, including money, social change leadership that tackled intractable social problems systemically and systematically. Our focus was to find those leaders whose leadership made a difference in people's lives but who were largely unrecognized.

Social Enterprise Conference, Pepperdine U.

"Join the Revolution through Social Enterprise" is a one-day conference on social entrepreneurship sponsored by the Geoffrey H Palmer Center for Entrepreneurship and the Law at Pepperdine University.


Nearly 10 years ago, Richard and Michele Steckel decided they couldn't sit by and just watch as people all over the world experienced the mayhem of ethnic cleansing, race riots and hatred.

To bridge divides, they sought to chronicle in photographs the humanity shared by all people - a project that led to a traveling exhibit they named "The Milestones Project."

The Steckels, 2007 Purpose Prize fellows, have now been honored by the National Education Association with its "Author-Illustrator Human and Civil Rights Award."

THE BIG QUESTIONS: A tribute to Sir John Templeton

The passing of Sir John Templeton provides an opportunity to reflect on "The Big Questions" that were the focus of his philanthropic work.

Templeton, one of the world's leading investors and philanthropists, died today in Nassau, Bahamas. He was 95. A native of Tennessee, he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1987 for the philanthropic work he pursued in his encore career.

In 2006, the John Templeton Foundation helped establish The Purpose Prize to recognize social innovators over 60 with awards of up to $100,000, and remains a major funder. (The Purpose Prize is a project of Civic Ventures, publisher of Encore.org.)

Huffington Post Blog on Encore Careers Needs Your Commentary

Civic Ventures released a new survey today estimating that between 5.3 and 8.4 million Americans have launched "encore careers," positions that combine income and personal meaning with social impact and nearly half of those surveyed are interested in finding their encore career.

Read Civic Ventures CEO Marc Freedman’s blog about the report in today's Huffington Post at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/marc-freedman/bill-gates-deserves-an-en_b_107891.html.

ENCORE STORY: Helping heal coal country

In Appalachian coal country, the underground mines have been shut for decades. But the legacy of coal mining remains in its waterways -- and it’s toxic. Streams and ponds gleam from the orange acidic water that fills them, the result of a poisonous discharge of sulfuric acid and iron known as acid mine drainage.

Allan Comp was initially skeptical that much could be done to revitalize the ravaged coal country towns, yet during the past six years the 2007 Purpose Prize Fellow founded an Appalachian Coal Country Watershed Team that has resulted in massive environmental cleanup efforts in eight states by volunteers who have contributed more than 100,000 hours. In the process, they have restored the soul of local communities, too.

DAVID BROOKS: Entrepreneurs for the public good

J.B. Schramm, founder of College Summit, which partners with school districts to help low-income students through the college application process.

Social entrepreneurship has arrived as a significant public policy tool, according to New York Times columnist David Brooks in today's piece, "Thoroughly Modern Do-Gooders.

Brooks queues up the next big challenge for social entrepreneurs: "Their problem now is scalability. How do the social entrepreneurs replicate successful programs so that they can be big enough to make a national difference?"

CHANGEMAKER: Turning 'bad boys' into good men

Sister Eileen McNerney helps make "good men from bad boys" through hands-on job training and job placement.

McNerney, a 2007 Purpose Prize fellow, recently presented her ideas to participants in Changemakers, a network organized by Ashoka, the pioneer in the field of social entrepreneurship. This week, her organization, Taller San Jose was named one of the winners of Ashoka’s Collaborative Changemaker Competition, and will receive a $5,000 Changemaker award.

Taller San Jose was honored for its innovative approach to curbing youth violence through a comprehensive employment program that helps youth “at the edge of crime” or recently incarcerated young people change their behaviors through hands-on job training and placement. More than 90% of previously incarcerated graduates have not re-offended due to the motivating power of paid work.

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