Columnist Nicholas Kristof announces that for this year’s “win-a-trip contest,” for which he takes a university student on a reporting trip to the developing world, he’s going to also take someone over 60. He writes, “It used to be that it was mostly young people who wanted to change the world. But increasingly older generations are joining in and doing extraordinary work – the winners of the annual Purpose Prize for people over 60 are extraordinarily inspiring. And an encore career … allows seniors to do meaningful work on their own schedule.”
The value of nonprofits is in what they do, their strategies for action and social change, their perseverance against the odds and their willingness to take on entrenched powers in business and government to fight for people not getting a fair shake. Exemplary on this score is a Cleveland-based organization called Empowering & Strengthening Ohio's People, founded by Purpose Prize winner Inez Killingsworth. The group fights to protect homeowners from foreclosure.
Under the leadership of Purpose Prize winner Inez Killingsworth, Empowering & Strengthening Ohio’s People (ESOP) has hatched a method for connecting neighbors who are tired of watching their neighborhoods wither. The organization persuades people who seek the help of its foreclosure-relief program to work to save not only their homes but also their neighborhoods. ESOP has helped thousands of tenuous mortgage holders statewide.
Given the grim news in lending and home financing in recent months, it would appear that little can be done to stem the tide of foreclosures sweeping the nation. But a Cleveland-based nonprofit called Empowering & Strengthening Ohio’s People, founded by Purpose Prize winner Inez Killingsworth, has been unusually successful in helping struggling Ohioans to hold onto their homes.
From beekeepers using the Internet to fight colony collapse disorder to wireless soil sensors optimizing farm resources, a return to sustainable farming does not mean a rejection of what technology has to offer. In that vein, Purpose Prize winner Timothy Will set about using the power of the Internet to promote social justice, reverse the decline in small farming and create a vibrant food economy for his community.
New Education Report Offers Data, Call to Action
12/01/2010 - 10:14:39am
America's Promise Alliance, along with Civic Enterprises and Johns Hopkins University's Everyone Graduates Center, just released an important new report about high school graduation rates.
David Bornstein on Struggling Social Entrepreneurs
11/29/2010 - 09:47:45am
If you spend any time with David Bornstein, as I have been lucky to do recently, you will likely start thinking that the world is a place filled with altruistic people who dedicate their time and talents to fixing what’s wrong. As one of the leading experts on social entrepreneurship and social innovation, Bornstein, a senior fellow with Civic Ventures, has written three books and interviewed hundreds of leaders in the field.
The 2010 Purpose Prize winners are all over 60 and have founded projects that have achieved sufficient success to justify the cash and acclaim that goes with the honor. At the awards ceremony in Philadelphia, there was almost no mention of politics in the ways we usually define it. What seemed to matter was the dedicated, even fierce commitment of individuals and their entrepreneurial enterprises.
Margaret Gordon, a Oakland, Calif., port commissioner, has received a $100,000 Purpose Prize from Civic Ventures. The Prize goes to social entrepreneurs over 60 who, in their encore careers, are using their experience and passion to make an extraordinary impact on society’s biggest challenges. Gordon received the award for her work as an environmental activist supporting her neighborhood of West Oakland.
For the past five years, Civic Ventures has gotten foundation funding to bestow what its calls The Purpose Prize upon 10 social entrepreneurs, all 60 or older, paying them awards of up to $100,000 each. The program also designates a large group of fellows each year and uses the awards to demonstrate that life can indeed begin anew for many people once they've retired from their day jobs.