The CoGen Challenge to Advance Economic Opportunity

The CoGen Challenge

Bringing generations together to advance economic opportunity

An illustration of a multigenerational crowd waiting at a bus stop

The opportunity

The CoGen Challenge to Advance Economic Opportunity elevates cogenerational models that bring older and younger generations together to help create a more inclusive and prosperous future.

The Challenge will engage thought leaders to inspire and activate others, provide $20,000 investments to each of eight innovative initiatives, and sponsor a virtual public showcase of their cogenerational work.

Leaders of the selected initiatives will participate in a six-month accelerator providing a supportive community, plus expert and peer coaching in program development, expansion, storytelling and fundraising.

Applications now open!

We’re seeking eight groundbreaking, cogenerational models that can open doors to economic opportunity and transform the landscape — and the leadership required to make them come to life.

Qualifying innovators can be (but are not limited to) nonprofits, social enterprises, commercial ventures, policy shops, academic institutions, faith organizations, and government institutions.

You can download this template to preview questions, draft responses offline, and check word counts before pasting your final responses into the online application portal.

Deadline: Applications must be submitted online by 5pm PT on October 16, 2023.

Events

đź’­Thought leadership

A Conversation with Ai-jen Poo on the Caregiving Crisis:
Exploring how cogenerational initiatives can help advance economic opportunity for all

The Power of Younger + Older = Economic Opportunity
September 28 12pm PT / 3pm ET
A conversation between Sarita Gupta, VP of U.S. programs at the Ford Foundation, and David Hsu, Director of the Building Cultures of Belonging program at Omidyar Network

📣  Info sessions

Info Session #1
September 27, 9am PT / 12pm ET
Get your questions answered and learn more about eligibility, selection criteria, accelerator timeline and curriculum.

Info Session #2
October 4, 9am PT / 12pm ET
Get your questions answered and learn more about eligibility, selection criteria, accelerator timeline and curriculum.

Got questions?

Read the FAQs.

Register for an hour-long, live info session at 9am PT on October 4.

Sign up for strategy sessions (book here for 15-min slots)

Thanks to our funder!

Funding for the CoGen Challenge to Advance Economic Opportunity has been provided by the Ares Charitable Foundation.

The Ares Charitable Foundation (the “Ares Foundation”) is a 501(c)(3) qualifying organization sponsored by Ares Management Corporation (“Ares”), a leading global alternative investment manager. Established in 2020, the Ares Foundation seeks to accelerate equality of economic opportunity through grants to nonprofit organizations whose programming provides Career Preparation & Reskilling, encourages Entrepreneurship and deepens individuals’ understanding of Personal Finance. The Ares Foundation’s vision – a world in which people benefit from equitable access to knowledge, resources and opportunities so that they can achieve their full potential – reflects Ares’ core values and staunch commitment to philanthropy.

Acknowledgements

The following leaders have provided guidance, thought leadership and outreach that has been instrumental in shaping the CoGen Challenge. We’re grateful!

Michelle Armstrong, Ares Management

Donna Butts, Generations United

Laura Carsensen, Stanford Center on Longevity

Cindy Downing, Irvine Foundation

Lee Fabiaschi, Ares Management

Ernest Gonzales, NYU Center for Health and Aging and Innovation

Sarita Gupta, Ford Foundation

David Hsu, Omidyar Network

Michele Kahane, The New School

Bobbie Lauer, Campus Compact

Daniel LĂłpez, America Forward

Alex Miller, Economic Hardship Reporting Project

Julie Miller, AARP Thought Leadership for Financial Resilience

Ai-jen Poo, Caring Across Generations and National Domestic Workers Alliance

Alissa Quart, Economic Hardship Reporting Project

Ramona Schindelheim, WorkingNation

Lul Tesfi, Irvine Foundation

Acknowledgements

The following leaders have provided guidance, thought leadership and outreach that has been instrumental in shaping the CoGen Challenge. We’re grateful!

 

Michelle Armstrong, Ares Management

Donna Butts, Generations United

Laura Carsensen, Stanford Center on Longevity

Cindy Downing, Irvine Foundation

Lee Fabiaschi, Ares Management

Ernest Gonzales, NYU Center for Health and Aging and Innovation

Sarita Gupta, Ford Foundation

David Hsu, Omidyar Network

Michele Kahane, The New School

Bobbie Lauer, Campus Compact

Daniel LĂłpez, America Forward

Alex Miller, Economic Hardship Reporting Project

Julie Miller, AARP Thought Leadership for Financial Resilience

Ai-jen Poo, Caring Across Generations and National Domestic Workers Alliance

Alissa Quart, Economic Hardship Reporting Project

Ramona Schindelheim, WorkingNation

Lul Tesfi, Irvine Foundation

Overview

What is the CoGen Challenge to Advance Economic Opportunity?

The CoGen Challenge to Advance Economic Opportunity elevates cogenerational models that bring older and younger generations together to help create a more inclusive and prosperous future.

The Challenge will engage thought leaders to inspire and activate others, provide $20,000 investments to each of eight innovative initiatives, and sponsor a virtual public showcase of their cogenerational work.

Leaders of the selected initiatives will participate in a six-month accelerator providing a supportive community, plus expert and peer coaching in program development, expansion, storytelling and fundraising.

This project is funded by the Ares Charitable Foundation.

What problem is the CoGen Challenge working to solve?

Millions of people in the U.S. lack access to essential stepping stones to financial well-being, such as education, job training, healthcare, affordable housing, financial literacy, and caregiving support. 

When older and younger generations join forces to address these issues, they leverage diverse talents; bridge the divides of age, race and identity; and create powerful solutions. 

The accelerator supports innovators who can bring together older and younger generations to create and grow models that advance economic opportunity.

I’m interested in the accelerator. Tell me more about it.

The accelerator’s primary goal is to support innovators in developing and growing cogenerational solutions that advance economic opportunity. We’re looking for eight groundbreaking, cogenerational models that can open doors to economic opportunity and transform the landscape — and the leadership required to make them come to life.

Qualifying innovators can be (but are not limited to) nonprofits, social enterprises, commercial ventures, policy shops, academic institutions, faith organizations, and government institutions.

Applications opened on Sept. 5 and will close on October 16, 2023.

If I’m chosen for the accelerator, what will I receive?

Selected innovators in the CoGen Challenge will receive a $20,000 investment; coaching in program development, expansion, storytelling, and fundraising; and the opportunity to participate in a six-month accelerator. 

They will be part of a supportive community and receive expert and peer coaching to further their cogenerational solutions. 

All selected innovators will present their work in a virtual public showcase.

What kinds of initiatives are you looking for?

We’re looking for initiatives that bring generations together to open doors to economic opportunity. Examples include (but are NOT limited to) initiatives that:

  • Bring older and younger people together for cross-mentoring that can advance their careers.
  • Bring generations together for job training, financial literacy or financial counseling.
  • Bring generations together in ways that can help close the racial wealth gap.
  • Bring generations together to help support minority- and female-owned small businesses.
  • Make homesharing matches that bring older homeowners with extra room together with younger people seeking affordable housing, offering both more stable financial futures.
  • Bring generations together to offer a solution to caregiving issues (daycare, elder care, care for people with disabilities) that free people up to pursue schooling, jobs or other economic advancement.

If you wonder if your initiative qualifies, please register for the information session on October 4.

Are you looking for any special characteristics?

We will give priority consideration to initiatives and organizations that:

  • Help people in the U.S. gain access to essential stepping stones to prosperity, such as education, job training, healthcare, affordable housing, and caregiving support.
  • Serve diverse and under-resourced communities.
  • Have diverse leadership and teams.
  • Have demonstrated effectiveness in measuring outcomes and scaling impact over time.
What exactly do you mean by cogeneration?

When we use “cogeneration,” we mean the power generated when older and younger people come together to solve problems and bridge divides. We seek cogenerational initiatives that solve a critical problem and advance economic opportunity by involving older and younger people in roles that allow both to learn and grow.

What do you mean by “older” and “younger”?

It’s all relative, but one way we think of younger is under 30 and older as over 50. Another way we think about it is bringing generations together that are separated in age by 25 years or more. While there is no perfect definition, we are looking to breakdown generational silos, meaning connecting generations that don’t typically work together for change. If you have questions about age as it relates to your initiative, please register for the information session on October 4.

Who is funding this initiative?

We’re grateful to the Ares Charitable Foundation for supporting the CoGen Challenge to Advance Economic Opportunity and for helping to create a future where age-diversity becomes one of our nation’s greatest strengths.

The Ares Charitable Foundation (the “Ares Foundation”) is a 501(c)(3) qualifying organization sponsored by Ares Management Corporation (“Ares”), a leading global alternative investment manager. Established in 2020, the Ares Foundation seeks to accelerate equality of economic opportunity through grants to nonprofit organizations whose programming provides Career Preparation & Reskilling, encourages Entrepreneurship and deepens individuals’ understanding of Personal Finance. The Ares Foundation’s vision – a world in which people benefit from equitable access to knowledge, resources and opportunities so that they can achieve their full potential – reflects Ares’ core values and staunch commitment to philanthropy.

Eligibility

Am I eligible to apply for the $20,000?

We’re seeking U.S.-based initiatives that advance economic opportunity with groundbreaking, cogenerational models.

Applicants can be (but are not limited to) nonprofits, social enterprises, commercial ventures, policy shops, academic institutions, faith organizations, and government institutions. Applicants do not need to be older/younger pairs.

Your organization SHOULD NOT apply if:
  • Your initiative does not bring older adults and younger people to advance economic opportunity.
  • Your initiative has a partisan political agenda.
  • Your project is intended to promote a specific faith or is exclusively sectarian. (We do encourage faith-based organizations that have a broader social mission to apply.)
  • Your project solely benefits people outside of the U.S.
  • You are not able to fully participate in our accelerator.

If you have a question about your eligibility that isn’t answered here, please register for the information session on October 4.

Can organizations apply if they have been associated with CoGenerate fellowships or prize programs before?

Organizations that have a previous association with one of our fellowship or prize programs (e.g., Innovation Fellowship, Generations Serving Together, Encore Public Voices Fellowship, The Encore Prize, The Purpose Prize) are welcome to apply if they have launched a new cogenerational initiative or are significantly deepening or scaling their existing cogenerational work.

Are international applications accepted?

No. Applicants must be U.S.-based.

Criteria

What criteria will be used to select innovators?

Applications will be judged on the following criteria:

  • Cogeneration. Does the applicant use the assets and talents of younger and older people working together to solve a problem?
  • Innovation. Is the applicant using a new or creative cogenerational approach to advance economic opportunity or making critical improvements to existing cogenerational models?
  • Feasibility. Are the 6-month goals clear and achievable with the resources available?
  • Impact. Is there a solid plan to measure and evaluate the impact of the cogenerational initiative?
  • Scale. Does the work have the potential to spread or scale?
  • Compelling story. Can the applicant’s initiative inspire others to engage the talents of younger and older people to advance economic opportunity for those who need it most?

Ideal applicants will be:

  • CoGen champions, committed and eager to spread the practice of cogeneration in their circles of influence.
  • Entrepreneurial, with the skills to grow a compelling pilot and take it to the next level or to make fundamental shifts that will embed new cogenerational practices in established programs.
  • Committed to experimenting with new ideas and embracing a rapid iterative process as part of the 6-month accelerator.
  • Collaborative and humble, ready to form a supportive community with like-minded peers who live and lead cogenerationally.
  • Asset-based, with a deep belief that old and young are valuable contributors to society and that intergenerational connection and collaboration can become the new norm.
Does my cogenerational initiative need to be up and running?

The strongest proposals will have piloted their idea, even if only with a few people. Proposals that can show evidence of readiness to launch quickly (committed partners, additional funding in hand, a pilot that builds on existing infrastructure, processes, and relationships, etc.) will be considered.

How new does the program need to be?

Existing cogenerational programs will be considered, but they must demonstrate that they are ready to significantly deepen or expand their cogenerational efforts.

What do you mean by “potential to spread or scale”?

We’re looking for projects that have the potential, at some point in the future, to engage hundreds or thousands of older and younger people. We’re looking for models that, within five or 10 years, could be big enough to have a significant impact within a community or could be replicated in other geographic areas.

Are you interested in initiatives that engage young people serving older ones — or older people serving younger ones?

We are looking for ideas that bring older and younger people together to solve a community problem in ways that leverage their complementary assets and allow both generations to learn and grow. We’re not looking for initiatives that are primarily about one generation serving the other.

The kinds of programs we seek include (but are NOT limited to) initiatives that:

  • Bring older and younger people together for cross-mentoring that can advance their careers.
  • Bring generations together for job training, financial literacy or financial counseling.
  • Bring generations together in ways that can help close the racial wealth gap.
  • Bring generations together to help support minority- and female-owned small businesses.
  • Make homesharing matches that bring older homeowners with extra room together with younger people seeking affordable housing, offering both more stable financial futures.

Bring generations together to offer a solution to caregiving issues (daycare, elder care, care for people with disabilities) that free people up to pursue schooling, jobs or other economic advancement.

Application

How long will the application take to complete?

While this will vary, we estimate the application will take 3 hours to complete.

Can an application be started, saved, and then finished later?

Yes. Download the application template here to preview questions, draft responses offline, and check word counts. Once you are ready to apply, begin your actual application here. You can start anytime, then save and return later.

What happens after the application is submitted?
  • CoGenerate staff and advisors will carefully evaluate your application.
  • We will notify finalists on November 8 and invite them to participate in one of two virtual learning circles on November 13 or 14. These sessions will help us choose winners.
  • Innovators who are selected will be notified on November 22. We’ll announce the winning initiatives publicly in January, 2024.
  • For those selected, the CoGen Accelerator will meet every second Thursday of the month from January 11, 2024 through June 30, 2024. There will be one required, in-person gathering near San Francisco on February 6-8, 2024.
Who reviews the applications?

CoGenerate staff and advisors will review applications and make final selections.

I still have questions about the application. How can I get help?

Register to attend the information session on October 4 to learn more about the grant opportunity, hear tips on how to complete a strong application, and participate in a live Q&A. We will send recordings to everyone who registers.

CoGenerate staff will also offer strategy sessions in for applicants who have reviewed the FAQs and attended or listened to an information session, and still have questions. Sign up here for a 15-minute appointment.

If your questions aren’t answered there, please send remaining questions to Cristina Rodriguez at [email protected].

When do applications close?

October 16 at 5pm PT / 8pm ET.

Funding Award

How many initiatives will be chosen?

Eight.

How much funding will each receive?

$20,000. In addition, the selected innovators will participate in a six-month accelerator providing a supportive community, plus expert and peer coaching in program development, expansion, storytelling, and fundraising. All selected innovators will also present their work in a virtual public showcase.

What can I do with the award funds?

The funds must help support your cogenerational pilot or scale your cogenerational initiative. Funds may be used to support innovator salaries.

When will innovators receive funds?

Funds will be released in two $10,000 installments, one in January and the other in April. CoGenerate will seek opportunities to elevate innovators’ stories and learnings throughout the year.

What kind of reporting will be required?

Innovators will share progress updates and learnings informally during monthly cohort meetings. A final, written reflection will be due at the end of the accelerator in June.

CoGen Accelerator

If I’m chosen for the accelerator, what will I receive?

Selected innovators in the CoGen Challenge will receive a $20,000 investment; coaching in program development, expansion, storytelling, and fundraising; and the opportunity to participate in a six-month accelerator. 

They will be part of a supportive community and receive expert and peer coaching to further their cogenerational solutions. 

All selected innovators will present their work in a virtual public showcase.

Who participates in the accelerator?
  • Each selected initiative can appoint ONE person to participate in the accelerator.
  • This individual should be a decision maker — overseeing the design, implementation, evaluation, and management of efforts to test or scale your cogen solution. In a small organization, this could be the executive director or founder. In a larger organization, it could be a director or project lead. 
  • There will be opportunities for other team members within your organization/initiative to engage in the accelerator to learn about cogeneration and how it can be applied more widely within your organization.
How much time will participating in the cohort require?

Innovators will attend monthly, two-hour, virtual cohort meetings on the second Thursday of each month from 9:30-11:30am PT / 12:30-2:30pm ET, January through June 2024. There will be one mandatory in-person meeting near San Francisco from February 6 to 8.  

Cohort meetings will focus on peer learning, joint problem solving, networking, and access to experts in intergenerational program development, communications, and fundraising. Individualized supplemental coaching will be offered.

Independent work that advances your organization’s cogenerational initiative will take place between each meeting. Cohort participants will be invited to stay connected with the 200+ alumni of our innovation community after the CoGen Accelerator ends.

What are the specific cohort meeting dates?

Meeting Times: 9:30-11:30am PT / 12:30-2:30pm ET

January 11
February 6-8 (in-person in San Francisco)
March 7
April 11
May 9
June 13
*Virtual Showcase TBD in May/June

For More Information

I’ve got more questions. How can I get them answered?

Register to attend the information session on October 4 to learn more about the grant opportunity, hear tips on how to complete a strong application, and participate in a live Q&A. We will send recordings to everyone who registers.

CoGenerate staff will also offer strategy sessions for applicants who have reviewed the FAQs and attended or listened to an information session and still have questions. Sign up here for a 15-minute appointment.

If your questions aren’t answered there, please send remaining questions to Cristina Rodriguez at [email protected].

I heard you have other fellowships and challenges available. How can I learn more?

Learn more about our Encore Fellowships and Encore Physicians programs. Please join our mailing list to be updated on future CoGen Challenges.

Begin your application now.

Have a question?
Contact us

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