Working on issues such as taking care of AIDS orphans in Africa, fighting industrial pollution and weaving a more reliable safety net for the homeless, 10 people have won The Purpose Prize, which honors the good works of people older than 60. The Prize, which awards up to $100,000 to each winner, is given by Civic Ventures and sponsored by The Atlantic Philanthropies and the John Templeton Foundation.
Bo Webb has been named among the winners of The Purpose Prize, giving him $50,000 for his work fighting against mountaintop removal coal mining and to improve the lives of kids who attend a West Virginia elementary school. Civic Ventures announced that Webb is among the 2010 winners of the Prize, given to entrepreneurs over the age of 60 who are using their experience and passion to make a difference.
The “golden years” dream was freedom from work, but the goal today for many is doing what you love, helping others and getting paid for it. The Purpose Prize, created by Civic Ventures, awards up to $100,000 to people 60 and older who showcase the value of experience while serving others in their encore careers. It’s important to highlight the contributions such people make to society amid national conversations about how to invest in the future.
Ditch the corporate life for a more rewarding career with a focus in health care, education, green technology and nonprofits. People seeking encore careers are often industry professionals who are switching to a more humanitarian career. Many people need to get additional education in order to be qualified to make the move to their new careers, and colleges are offering various options.
More community colleges are developing programs to train people who want to continue working, or go back to work, after retirement - particularly in health, education, the environment and social services. Since 2007, Civic Ventures has awarded $25,000 grants to 40 colleges to help older adults train for later-life careers.
President Obama’s debt commission appears set to recommend a gradual increase in Social Security’s retirement age, perhaps to 70, to help bring the system’s finances into long-term balance. But why use sticks when carrots could do? Making it easier and more appealing for more people to keep working could help balance the system’s books while minimizing any benefit cuts. Civic Ventures Vice President David Bank makes the case. (Also appeared in The Huffington Post.)
An increasing number of Americans are choosing to work during traditional retirement years. More than 5 million Americans between the ages of 44 to 70 have already launched encore careers, according to Civic Ventures, and millions more plan to join their ranks. “There’s something about achieving mastery in one field that, when you move to a new field … you have a sense of confidence and poise in the world,” says Marci Alboher, vice president at Civic Ventures.
Deeply affected by the mental anguish of soldiers returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan, psychiatrist Judith Broder put her retirement plans on hold to found the Soldiers Project. The nonprofit provides free counseling not only to service members returning from war – but to their families as well. Today, the Soldiers Project has more than 200 licensed therapists nationwide who provide counseling on a volunteer basis. Broder won a 2009 Purpose Prize for her work.
Don Coyhis, founder the nonprofit White Bison Inc., says he plans to use his $100,000 Purpose Prize to create a national Native Wellbriety Institute in Colorado Springs, Colo. The institute will allow representatives from widespread Native American tribes to receive native-centric training – on such matters as substance abuse recovery and domestic violence prevention – to bring back to their communities.
Umbrella of the Capital District has been awarded a 2009 Encore Opportunity Award, one of just eight organizations nationwide honored for making it easier for workers over 50 to transition into encore careers. Founded in 1995, Umbrella recruits 50-plus workers with skills such as carpentry and painting to help area senior citizens and people with disabilities maintain their homes.