The Impact of Intergenerational Service

The Impact of Intergenerational Service

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hCElJjBO8Zo National service in this country is predominantly age-segregated. AmeriCorps largely enrolls young adults, while AmeriCorps Seniors exclusively recruits older ones. As a result, we’re missing big opportunities to pair the...

These 10 Innovators Use Cogeneration to Advance Economic Opportunity

These 10 Innovators Use Cogeneration to Advance Economic Opportunity

Our first group of CoGen Challenge awardees are bringing older and younger people together  to boost the economic prospects of substitute teachers, artists with disabilities, people without homes, girls facing hardship in Appalachia, and so much more.   To learn more...

‘I Want These Girls to Know They Have Limitless Possibilities’

‘I Want These Girls to Know They Have Limitless Possibilities’

Gwen Johnson is the founder of Mamaw Mentorship in Eastern Kentucky and one of 10 awardees of the CoGen Challenge to Advance Economic Opportunity. Watch for interviews with all 10 of these innovators bringing older and younger people together to open doors to economic...

Need a Guide To Spark Productive, Intergenerational Conversations?

Need a Guide To Spark Productive, Intergenerational Conversations?

In March, we released our latest report, What Young Leaders Want — And Don’t Want — From Older Allies, summarizing what 31 Gen Z and Millennial leaders had to say about working with older people to solve pressing problems — aka “cogeneration” — and how it can be...

Event Recording: The 2024 CoGen Innovation Showcase — Advancing Economic Opportunity

By Duncan Magidson | May 29, 2024

The 2024 CoGen Innovation Showcase — our signature event of the year — is your chance to hear from 10 front-line innovators who are bringing older and younger people together to open the doors to a more inclusive, prosperous future.

Hear from leaders bringing generations together to help the homeless, teach financial literacy, help substitute teachers thrive, provide employment opportunities for artists with disabilities, and so much more.

The event was co-hosted by CoGenerate CoGen Challenge Director Cristina Rodriguez and Co-CEO Eunice Lin Nichols. It also featured:

  • Maree Beers, Urban Rural Action
  • Mariela Briceño, Venprendedoras Foundation, Inc.
  • Kathrine Cagat, Mayors for a Guaranteed Income
  • Lyiam Galo, Northern Santa Barbara County United Way
  • Brenda Jimenez, MENTOR New York
  • Gwen Johnson, Hemphill Community Center
  • Damon McLeese, Access Gallery
  • Erin Ruegg, Substantial Classrooms
  • Jill Watts, Arizona State University Lodestar Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Innovation
  • E.N. West, The Church Council of Greater Seattle
  • Michelle Armstrong, Executive Director, Ares Charitable Foundation.

Transcript (machine generated):

Cristina Rodriguez 

Hello everyone. Welcome to the CoGen Challenge Showcase. I am Cristina Rodriguez the CoGen Challenge director, and I’m pleased to co-host with CoGenerate’s Co-CEO Eunice Lin Nichols. Today, we’re united by shared commitment to tackling the economic barriers faced by millions in the US. Younger and olders often face roadblocks to economic prosperity due to age discrimination, limited opportunities for education and training, on affordable housing, inadequate care solutions and a lack of mentorship. But we’re here to change that narrative today. With the support of the Ares Charitable Foundation, we brought together 10 innovators to reimagine solutions by bringing generations together. Eunice you’re muted.

 

Eunice Lin Nichols 

Despite all the practice, it’s good, I like to set the bar low and then everyone else can far exceed me. So over the next hour, we’ll hear from these frontline innovators from rural advocates advancing financial empowerment to national service members connecting homeless families to housing. We’ll also hear from two way mentoring relationships and workforce solutions and education and for artists with disabilities. These cogenerational projects have revealed important insights into four critical questions. The first is why cogeneration is the secret sauce to advancing economic opportunity. The second is how working across generations actually helps us solve problems better. The third insight is why co mentoring creates the strongest foundation for economic empowerment. And the fourth one is how big bold cogenerational solutions build social capital to help us reimagine our collective futures. As our event comes to a close, we’ll hear reflections from Michelle Armstrong, the president of the Ares Charitable Foundation, which has generously funded this body of work. We have a jam packed agenda today. So we won’t have time for audience questions. But I’ll give you details on how you can get in touch with folks at the end of today’s event.

 

Cristina Rodriguez 

Thanks Eunice for laying the foundation for our conversation today. Let’s dive right in. So economic stability is a pressing concern across diverse communities in the United States. And I want to invite to innovators Mariela and Damon, who are working with immigrant communities and with communities of people with disabilities to shed light on the realities they face and the solutions cogeneration offers. So Mariela and I love to start with you. You immigrated to Miami, Florida from Venezuela 20 years ago, and you have witnessed the outflow of refugees and immigrants from your home country, part of the largest displacement crisis in the world since last year. With over 7 million immigrants that’s a lot in response to you have founded Venprendedoras to empower immigrant women entrepreneurs of all ages to build financial security for themselves. So why bring younger and older women immigrants to advance economic opportunity?

 

Mariela Briceño  

Thank you, Christina. I’m super happy to be here. And the reason is very personal to me. I’m very it is very rewarding to give other women what I will wanted to have when I came to this country. And I’m gonna give you an example of what we do in Venprendedoras. Let’s wait for the picture of two of our intrapreneurs in our network These are  Michelle and Naima. Michelle is 29 years old. She has the English fluency and the confidence that Naimi who is 52 don’t have however, Naima has the life experience and knowledge than Michelle requires. They met in one of our programs and ever since that happened. Michelle has been working with Naima strengthening her ability to speak English and to convey their message in a more powerful way. Not only that Michelle now is working with other women from our community. Helping them convey their messages in English is earning money and is expanding her business. So enabling this mutual benefit is why we do what we do in Venprendedoras is getting together these women empowering them, women from different countries and different ages, so they advanced their businesses. The idea of it came to me in 2019 When I did an entrepreneurship program alongside 20 Other women entrepreneurs, if I, we can have the next slide. Yeah, that was me with that group in 2019. And that all of them, we were women trying to advance our businesses. So I clearly saw the opportunity of uniting those women. And ever since we created Venprendedoras, in 2020, we have been bringing together women older and younger, organically. Being part of the CoGen Challenge has enabled me to put intentionality to what was happening organically in our community, and also to develop strategies to enhance these opportunities. This, opportunity to be in the CoGen Challenge also has been a game changer for me. Because I thought that we may with an accent like mine typically don’t get these kinds of opportunities. So being here today, not only has empowered me and my organization, but also the women in our community, women older and younger than me that, like the ones you see in this picture. And in the following picture. Here, these women, we are working towards the next phase of our program, we want to prepare these entrepeneurs to pitch to funders to get the funds they need so they can get their business to the next level. Thank you.

 

Eunice Lin Nichols

Thank you, Mariela, for walking us through your journey and also for sharing those powerful insights that really show what can happen when we intentionally focus on cogeneration. And Damon, I know you’ve encountered similar challenges and also opportunities at Access Gallery, where you’re working with artists of all ages are with disabilities to create economic opportunity for themselves. And after 30 years of being a nonprofit, you changed your mission statement. And I want to hear more about that. So can you share more about why you pivoted and what you see when younger and older artists with disabilities work together?

 

Damon McCleese 

Yes. First of all, thank you so much for for allowing us to have this time to share what we’ve learned during the CoGen Challenge. And yeah, we pivoted our mission. A few years ago, we were running our programs, and we realized that simply having access to the arts for people with disabilities was a fine and noble goal. But if our artists couldn’t afford the bus fare to get to our programs to learn about Picasso or another artist, it really didn’t matter. Though, as we leaned into this a little bit, we realized that nearly 70 to 90% of people with disabilities in this country are unemployed or underemployed. We realized that that was really a place that we could make a difference. A lot like Mariela, we were doing intergenerational work very organically. And by putting the economic opportunity model in place, we were able to hone in on that a little bit. Our mission now is economic opportunity, educational opportunity, and access to the arts for people with disabilities in Colorado. We focus on entrepreneurship, job skills, and paths to employment in the arts. We believe fully that creativity, collaboration and community, and all of those things are better done in intergenerational teams. In addition to the typical gallery sales that artists can make money on, we have three additional ways that we have found that intergenerational teams can make money through our program. We have a lot of corporations that will hire us to make artwork for their boardroom, therefore their their entire offices, we find that putting groups of intergenerational artists together ends up making a better product for our corporate clients. We have people as young as 17 and as old as 60. Working together. We’re also started to take on paying clients in the area of graphic design. During the pandemic, we learned that a lot of our artists were doing things on computers and in InDesign and Adobe and we were able to leverage that knowledge some of the things we learned during the pandemic. And now we are taking on paid graphic design clients and we are thrilled to do that again in a communal setting. And lastly, we really are branching into the public art realm here in Denver. In Denver, there is a one person for the arts. So every budget of a million dollars for the city of Denver construction projects has to go into pool a public arts In we started applying for not only to get our artists on to public art panels to help select the art, where they’re getting paid for their expertise and their knowledge. But we’ve also started applying for public art calls. And we just got our first public art call where a team of our artists intergenerational team of artists will be designing three bus stops along Colfax, the longest Street in Colorado. So the intergenerational model that we’ve leaned into has been just phenomenal for us, and for our artists. And I’d like to leave you all with if you need anything creative, artistic or design oriented. Give us a call. Thank you so much.

 

Cristina Rodriguez 

Thank you so much, Damon, I really love how you laid out all the different opportunities that arise when you intentionally bring artists that different skill sets or different ages to create better results. So thank you so much for sharing. Thank you, Mariela, and Damon, for joining this conversation for sharing your cogenerational strategies, and for helping your neighbors with conomic stability. So you all might now be wondering: how exactly do we join forces in ways that benefit from age diverse collaboration? Can we simply just put youngers and olders together in a room, cross our fingers and hope for the best? Not quite. Working across generations to solve problems is an art in itself. And I’d like to pass it on to my co hosts Eunice to guide us in the next conversation.

 

Eunice Lin Nichols 

So CoGenerate, has spent 25 years deeply invested in education and national service, two incredibly important levers for change in our country. So I’m particularly excited about our next group of innovators, Jill, Lyiam and Erin, who are doing work in these areas and will share what they’ve learned about bringing generations together to drive economic opportunity. So Jill, we’re gonna start with you your work building the cogenerational service academy at ASU Lodestar Center is all about bringing together younger AmeriCorps members with older volunteers to work in teams to tackle community issues affecting economic opportunity. My question for you is what have you observed about the benefits and tensions that arise when these two groups come together?

 

Jill Watts 

Thanks, Eunice. So yes, there definitely can be tensions when you bring together people from such different perspectives and viewpoints. But what we found is that when you address those tensions, that’s when the really great benefits happen. So I think everyone on this call really believes in the magic of cogeneration. When you bring together people with with those different viewpoints, that’s how you get the greater social impact. But it doesn’t just happen magically. It really does take structure and support in order to address those tensions and and to start realizing those benefits. So let me describe what I mean there. So when youngers and olders come together to collaborate, it’s pretty common that they have different preferences for communications and decision making, for example, are our youngers want to be able to communicate over text message and do it asynchronously throughout their day when they have time, and our olders want to be able to pick up the phone and have a real time conversation and get decisions made and move on. So we found that was a real disconnect when we started bringing our all our people together. So we started our sessions with shared agreements on how to communicate and check in with each other as team members. We also emphasized the importance of being transparent when it comes to needing support. And also, you know, raising your hand if you need some help. A lot of our younger people were really overcommitted with work and school and service. And sometimes priorities change. And so rather than struggling in silence, we scheduled these check ins where we could revisit those agreements, and then make adjustments where necessary, so no one was called out and everyone felt comfortable. So setting these norms really allowed our teams to move through that storming and norming phase of team development that helps them to start contributing authentically from their own lived experiences that would help them solve the problem at hand. So let me share a couple quick stories to illustrate. So the youngers in one of our groups had really big aspirations for their team project, they wanted to set up this one day market for local businesses that would help future business owners get their licenses. And our older folks were not deterred by this grand vision. In fact, they came to the table with real world experience of starting businesses. So the resulting event just wouldn’t have been possible without the energy and the belief of our younger crew that something you know, this this big could come together in such a short period of time. And our older folks connections were absolutely key and getting the resources that we needed for the event. And on another team, our members were deliberating which economic opportunity that they wanted to address and true to that service spirit. They wanted to tackle all of them and literally, you know, help everyone which is really is impossible within the timeframe of our project and our deadlines. So one of our older participants who had a lot of experience in community organizing, he helped guide the team through a process to weigh the pros and cons of each of the options and narrowed down what would be the best choice to fit the needs and goals of our of our project. So ultimately, these teams created inclusive spaces where social change could occur. So now we’re actually hearing from both olders and our youngers that they actually feel more at ease now working across generations than they do in just teams of their own generation. And we believe this openness to diverse perspectives is really the key to more innovative ideas and, and better outcomes around economic opportunity.

 

Eunice Lin Nichols 

Thanks Jill , you had on so many important points in what you just shared. It does take time and practice to work effectively across generations and finding unique ways to utilize each one’s skills and experience. A report on young leaders that we recently put out in the spring reveals that young people really need and want models for productive conflict. And one way older people can be helpful is by showing them how to work through disagreements and tensions. So, so appreciate your work. Lyiam, I want to bring you into the conversation. I love that you’ve intentionally recruited for age diversity within your AmeriCorps program and the volunteer network at United Way of Northern Santa Barbara County, and that you have nearly equal numbers of service members in every generation. So my question for you is how do younger and older is work together to address the homelessness crisis? And how does that collaboration lead to better outcomes?

 

Lyiam Galo 

Thanks, Eunice. Well, you can be homeless at any age. So we strive to create a program that’s age representative of the population that we serve. Also, I work cogenerationally. My co director of the AmeriCorps program is Leon Martindale. She’s 20 years older than I am. So when we’re designing the program, I mean, it’s really baked into the DNA of our program. In terms of how olders and youngers work together and why it’s more effective. I’ll tell you a story about Anna Gina. So Anna is in her early 30s. And Gina is in her 50s. And they are collaborating as like an AmeriCorps outreach pair to get people housed every week. So there is a lot of strength in all kinds of diversity. But I’m finding that that includes especially age diversity honors in her second year, you know, and Gina is a new member with prior experience of having lived on the streets. So that gives her a natural connection with the homeless community. She was just there. So like, literally last year, she she became an AmeriCorps member this year. They work really well together, you know, they leverage their complementary knowledge and experience. And what’s remarkable is that even though she’s younger on as serving as a mentor to Gina, because she’s already served as an AmeriCorps member, so she’s got like case management best practices down she she knows how to properly document a case. That knowledge combined with Gina’s lived experience and perspective makes them an incredibly effective outreach team. So that’s part of why I’m such a believer in cogeneration. Every day, I see how my AmeriCorps members and volunteers bridge difference. And I want to spread that what we’re doing around age diversity like wildfire, you know, I want to recruit for age diversity, because it not only reduces ageism and improves outcomes, but it also expands pool of candidates for organizations that work with either AmeriCorps members or volunteers. Were part of the United Way, which includes hundreds of other organizations using volunteers. And we’re encouraging them to recruit for age diversity for AmeriCorps members if they have those programs, but also for volunteers. Getting people housed has obvious economic benefits to the individual and to a family. Because I mean, once they’re housed, it makes it much more likely that they can acquire and retain employment, you know, they have better access to things that will make them thrive. I’d say that there’s also economic benefits to being an AmeriCorps member and to volunteering. When we expand the pool of people we’re considering to include folks of all ages, we’re expanding their economic opportunities because American membership in volunteerism is often an on ramp to long term employment. Our program is a perfect example of this, a quarter of our members every year are hired on by their service site, and many more go on to pursue education and other personal economic enrichment endeavors locally. So like in my county, they don’t leave, which is incredible. When you’re looking to expand economic opportunity locally, I would find that these programs this kind of volunteerism is a really good way to do that. It builds capacity for the public sector, public sector by helping professionals that are just starting their career, or reentering the workforce to leverage AmeriCorps membership or just regular volunteerism to get to that point. And so yeah, I believe that sparking a greater interest in national service by leveraging age diversity could expand economic opportunity and local communities across the country. And I believe that because it has to mine.

 

Eunice Lin Nichols 

Thanks Liam. I I’ve really enjoyed getting to know Anna and Gina and their story. It is the perfect example of what can happen when we bring the talents of younger and older together to solve a common problem. And I think your message is one that national service as a field needs to hear, to really bring in that age diverse approach. All right, Erin, I want to bring you in to the section, your experience in education and now at Substantial Classrooms has really shown the urgent need for substitute teachers. This is not a topic that many people spend a lot of time thinking about, but I know you obsess over it. So that’s that’s so important. Across the country, schools are struggling to find and retain enough subs, as I’ve learned from you. And in New Mexico, they’ve even had to call in the National Guard to keep schools open. So you’ve seen firsthand how important it is to bridge the gap between younger and older to address this shortage. Can you talk to us about SubClubs and how they provide a layer of critical intergenerational support in this system?

 

Erin Ruegg 

Yeah, thanks, Eunice. I’m really happy to be here. I want to start by telling a story about why I think really captures why SubClubs are needed. It’s about Miss Golden and Miss Baer. They are school based subs in the same building in Columbus, Ohio. Miss Golden is in her 60s and she has a really close relationship with students there. They come to her to talk about everything, their celebrations, their fears, their you know their best friends. Miss Baer is just out of college, and she is having to learn whether she might want to become a classroom teacher. She wishes that she could make stronger connections with students and she tries not to feel intimidated when they’re loud or when they don’t follow her directions. I met Miss Golden and Miss Baer because of our nonprofits, Substantial partners with their school district to provide coaching and workshops for substitute teachers. And as you alluded to, it’s actually quite unusual for subs to get professional learning for the skills and the knowledge that they need in the classroom. And it’s even more unusual for them to have a structured way to get together and to share with other subs. At one of our meetings, Miss Baer brought up her struggle to connect with students and Miss Golden jumped right in to offer support and guidance, she told her stick with it, just keep showing up. And that’s how you’re going to earn those students respect. Later on. In the same meeting, Miss Golden brought up feeling exhausted because she was the students number one all the time, and she never really got a break during the day. And Miss Golden and the other subs encouraged her to take lunch by herself, or leave the school, you know for a few minutes to recharge her batteries. The subs are in the same building but had never had a conversation like this before, because they weren’t given the opportunity to talk with their peers and to offer each other support. And these kinds of interactions help people sustain and keep their full hearts in the job. Since the pandemic districts across the country have increased pay for sub for substitute teachers makes it more attractive. But pay is just part of the equation how it feels to do this job really matters to it matters for the adults who raise their hand to help in schools. It matters for how they show up and how they keep showing up for students. And that’s what inspired SubClubs And that’s our CoGen project. SubClubs are like a book club, but they’re focused on finding connection and building skills as a sub. What we do is offer micro grants to people willing to form and lead SubClubs in their area to provide access to sub school, our professional learning curriculum. And guess what, a year later, Miss Golden was one of the first people who signed up to lead her own SubClub, and Miss Baer was one of the first people she invited. I just love this picture of the two of them. In addition to miss Golden’s group, we have four other SubClubs across the country. The most important thing that we’ve learned from the SubClubs is just how important this need for professional connection is for substitute teachers. subs are essential for keeping schools running. And the CoGen Challenge for Economic Opportunity allowed us to test a new way to empower subs to self organize, and to get the knowledge and connection that they need to thrive in these roles. We’re already organizing our next group of SubClubs. So if you’re interested or if you know somebody who is you can find SubClubs on the changex.org platform.

 

Eunice Lin Nichols 

Thanks, Erin. what a what a beautiful vision for what how to redeem substitute teaching and make it central to the education of our kids. Appreciate you and Lyiam and Jill for joining us to explore why cogeneration matters for economic opportunity, and how intentional strategies that bring olders and youngers together can improve outcomes for all. But what I’m hearing is that ultimately, it’s about more than just putting youngers and olders together. It’s about the art of collaboration across generations and a powerful approach to working together. In some ways. Aaron I wrote down this phrase where you said it helps us keep our hearts in the job that’s so important. In our next conversation, I’d like to pass it back to my co host Cristina to dive deeper into how co creation and Co-Mentoring can drive economic empowerment.

 

Cristina Rodriguez 

I’d like to invite MaMareery and Brenda to join us into this conversation. Welcome, Maree, and welcome, Brenda. Maree, you started your career in finance, and got to see firsthand the barriers that arise from not understanding personal finance and your work. You’re currently working in Tillamook County on the rural or Oregon Coast to promote financial wellness. And I love that you’re committed to doing that through community partnerships, which often include both younger and older residents. So I’d like to hear a little bit more of how you’re seeing that co creation between youngers and olders. are playing a role in financial empowerment for both.

 

Maree Beers 

Yeah, great question. Thank you. I come from a long career in banking and mortgage lending in a very rural community on the Oregon coast. And this experience really opened my eyes to the shared struggles we have collectively navigating financial systems in our society. And I learned that wellness included being financially well, and that’s when I made my transition out of banking and lending and into financial education. So until then, my County, Oregon, our project is to provide free financial literacy to the community. And we don’t just teach youth in the school districts, we we also include our college aged adults as well all the way to our seniors. And just targeting that spectrum of Ages was kind of the first place where we saw cogeneration and cogenerational aspects come into play. I’ll just tell you a story. Just one of my favorite stories. And it comes out of Trask River High School, which is an alternative high school correctional facility which is part of Oregon Youth Authority, our state juvenile detention system. And in the class where they were learning about credit, the students told the volunteer that they felt like financial success wasn’t really attainable for them because being financially stable, and they use words like being wealthy or being rich, isn’t for people who are poor, or who have made mistakes like they have. And this volunteer who was a retired disabled veteran, shared, he he connected with them by sharing about his troubled past, which led him to choose the military since at the time that was presented to him as his only option to get his life on track. We’ve all heard that before. And then he shared though however, when he got out of the Army, there were still a lot of financial lessons that he had to learn some hard ones. But he got to share about how it felt the first time he was able to save and buy his first piece of equipment for his excavating business, and then also how he was able to use credit as a tool to purchase his first home for his family. And it was really inspiring for those students to hear him teach through his story that success doesn’t necessarily equate to being rich, but that being responsible and creating stability, aided his overall mental health and wellness. During the orientation for our first set of volunteers in Tillamook County, who are going to be going into these different areas to teach the financial literacy program. I did just like a quick overview of the curriculum and brought samples of the workbooks and the presentations. And immediately there were just overwhelming comments about like, Man, I wish I had this when I was in school, or I wish I had learned this when I was younger. I mean, there was just immediate buy-in about the need for this. The connection that we are making is the how so humanizing financial education is our strategy to bring this knowledge to the community. And we do this through cogenerational facilitation and storytelling, because so many lessons are learned through talking about major financial experiences someone might have had. And we also strive to break the stereotype that older folks are kind of tasked with teaching younger people the ways of the financial world. And instead, we use a knowledge sharing model that uses age diversity as a key component.,

 

Cristina Rodriguez 

Thank you so much, Maree. I love how you’re building that social capital for both youngers and the olders. And like you said, humanizing something that sometimes can be really intimidating, intimidating for all of us. So thank you so much, and I love how you are making it more relatable and also incorporating those perspectives and a variety of tools. And Brenda, in MENTOR New York, you have been focusing on making mentoring more mutually beneficial and sticky. And something I’ve loved seeing is how you increase that social capital as well for both mentor and mentees. And it’s the heart of your model success. So how is this new mentoring model that you’ve developed, helping to rescale and upskill, the youngers and olders, in your program?

 

Brenda Jimenez 

Thank you, Christina, thank you for having me. This has been really important and amazing work for us. So you know, mentoring relationships can be really transformative for young people. And many times, we’re touting that longer, stronger relationships are important. But we wanted to test and introduce mentoring mindsets into intense short term programming that could create impactful relationships that influence perspective and behaviors, while building on social capital, who are both seniors and high school students, that many times really need those networks of support in their lives and in their communities. So our goal was to pair sort of the two age groups that are always not necessarily the most popular to come together, right seniors in high school students to explore their financial futures and make mentoring mindsets a central variable for the experience. So with local partners that we have from Queens, New York, we match 32 seniors with 32 high school students to talk about a subject that is sometimes feels taboo about speaking about which is their finances, their personal finances and how they dream to manage for their own economic freedom. So we hosted two two hour sessions, in local senior centers full of interactive activities, focused on relationship development and talking about money, of course, by playing games and engaging in learning activities to support each other and make learning about money management, more fun. They also realized that many misconceptions they had about one another and were not necessarily what they thought to be true. And then on April 24, we actually brought both groups together for a full day symposium at their local community college. With a partner of ours, Bethpage Federal Credit Union to talk about sort of the financial, health and credits that they can have in good sound, financial management. And so we had interactive activities for them. They even got as appear to be assigned a profession and annual salary that they would have to manage to secure shelter, food, transportation, clothing, savings, all the necessaries. And each pair learns that no matter how modest your salary is, you can generate savings and investment opportunities for yourself. So even during lunch, as you can see, the seniors pulled out the young people and they started to dance and have an impromptu party to make sure that they stayed active during the day. And after the symposium, one of our seniors share that they had they had this opportunity 50 years ago, she probably would be in a better place today. Some of our young people talks about the aspiration to save for college, or maybe a car or even their own homes, while others shared the mutual desire to travel and see the world. One young person even said that, you know, it was great to have someone from their community that was of their same ethnic background sharing such important information in order to change their perspectives on the world. So the relationships we built in this process really paved the way for deep meaningful relationships that could be developed further in the community and to natural mentors, in their own realities.

 

Cristina Rodriguez 

Thanks for sharing Brenda, I feel like seeing the pictures and hearing the stories, I feel like I was there at the event. And really, those relationships are the catalyst for, you know, gaining this knowledge and tools that are that are essential to making personal finance choices in our everyday lives. So thank you for sharing that. And thank you, Maree for joining us as well in this conversation, and how creating that really shows how creating a new way of being together through valuing each other’s gifts and lived experiences can lead to economic empowerment. I’d like to bring Eunice back to guide us in our final group conversation with innovators who are working to reimagine our collective future, and all of them have big bold solutions for economic equity.

 

Eunice Lin Nichols 

Thanks, Cristina. We definitely need more big and bold ideas here and love that these efforts really highlight the transformative potential when younger and older generations unite for shared purpose. So with that, I’d like to bring our final set of innovators into the conversation I want to introduce Kathrine from Mayors for a Guaranteed Income and E.N. from Faith Land Initiative. So, Kathrine, you’re currently working on an exciting movement for guaranteed income that has the potential to serve as a critical social safety net for all generations. Can you help our audience can paint a picture for what that could look like and how younger and older is play a role in that position.

 

Kathrine Cagat 

Thanks, Eunice for that question. Great to be here with all of you today, the vision of Mayors and Counties For A Guaranteed Income is to provide an income floor by way of guaranteed income, a recurring and conditional cash based systems. So during the pandemic, we saw a government do this through the expanded Child Tax Credit, which is essentially a guaranteed income for parents, that federal action cut child poverty in this country. And our goal is to make such policies permanent, and part of our social safety net, not just something that happens during a global crisis. There’s this horrible narrative that poverty is somehow a moral failing. But it’s clear in people’s stories and research that poverty is not a moral failing, it’s a policy one. As the example of the Child Tax Credit shows, we can choose better policies that advance economic equity in a way that really benefits people across different generations. There’s not one magic solution that can achieve this, but giving people an income floor to a guaranteed income can contribute to financial stability. From the stories of pilot participants. And in research data. We see how when people are given extra monthly income, they support family members across different generations. I’d like to share a story from Stephanie who’s a program recipient from Tacoma’s pilot definitely was able to quit her second job and just have one full time job while helping out her parents and her daughter who just had a child as she stayed. I just worked one full time job. And that’s great. It allows me time to go to my parents house on the weekend and help out with them. My daughter just had our first kid so I’m a grandma and I get to I get time to spend with them. As you can see on the next slide, mayors and counties for guaranteed income is a cogenerational coalition of mayors and county elected officials advocating for guaranteed income. In fact, the coalition’s youngest members Mayor Jaylon Smith, who the mayor pro Arkansas, and when he joined Mayors for a Guaranteed Income he was 19 years old. A cogenerational Spirit also shows up in teams across cities and counties that have implemented a guaranteed income pilot, as shown in the next slide. Early career professionals work alongside alongside people who have decades of experience in the nonprofit, public or academic sectors. And together they brainstorm strategies to turn the idea of a pilot into a reality. One of the ways that we showcase this work is through the character income work national tour, which you can see on the next slide. The tour aims to build momentum for guaranteed income and teachers the voices in store to percipient, as well as mayors, elected officials and community partners. So people involved in the work and the audience if you participate in it come from different generations, events have taken place across the US from Hudson, New York to Long Beach, California. Guaranteed Income has been gaining momentum in the past few years in 2020, we had 11 mayors and four pilots within our network. Now we have over 100 mayors and over 50 pilots. Beyond our network, there have been over 150 pilots launched in the US. And leveraging that momentum in order to go from pilot to policy will require cogenerational action and effort that can lead to better policy. Thank you.

 

Eunice Lin Nichols 

Thank you, Kathrine. Your story really highlights the importance of our leadership and solutions reflecting the age diversity and the age diverse needs of our communities. So I want to thank you for your work. E I’m really excited to bring you into this conversation. Because when we think about economic opportunity, we often hear in the media about the silver tsunami, which is can be a reference to the largest generational wealth transfer in American history. But we don’t always associate that trend with faith communities. Something I’ve been learning from you and your body of work is that religious communities are often land rich, while also being located in communities that are faced with economic and racial disparities. And in this landscape, there’s really an emerging opportunity to shift the status quo. We’d love for you to tell us about the fate land initiative and how you’re bringing younger and older together to steward underutilized land.

 

E.N. West 

Thanks, Eunice. And hi, everyone. So the idea for the Faith Land Initiative was sparked in 2018. At that time, my colleagues and I were in conversation with faith leaders around our region. And it became clear that many predominantly white faith communities were experiencing declining membership and feeling burdened by underutilized church buildings are becoming hard to keep up. And for context, in just the city of Seattle alone, there are approximately 300 acres of faith owned land, much of which is underutilized and in really prime areas of the city for community development. And this reality is actually true across the United States. So at the same time that we were having those conversations Many predominantly black faith communities and secular groups led by communities of color, were responding to economic displacement that had moved their friends and neighbors outside of the city and sometimes even the county. And they were engaged in visioning and planning for a future that brought people back and rebuilt the community. However, at the same time, they expressed they often didn’t have the space, the land, political will, or financial capital needed to bring those visions to life. So my colleagues and I were situated between these different communities. And of course, both were asking for the church council support. We didn’t have an answer at that time. But ultimately, our response became the faith land initiative, and that’s really where it was born. So the faith led initiative of The Church Council of Greater Seattle supports faith communities in King County, Washington to faithfully and equitably steward land, and other assets. We do our work through faith through to community organizing practices, and an anti racism framework, which shapes a discernment process through which faith communities can make decisions about the land and other assets they own, grounded in their own mission, vision and values, and deeply informed by the larger community. faith communities are one of the few spaces left in American society that organically bring people together across generations. And because of this, our work is inherently cogenerational. We’ve noticed that olders bring a deep understanding of the financial and structural realities of the buildings that they own, grounding discernment very much in the practical. At the same time, youngers bring deep commitment to the professed values of their faith community, as well as racial and social justice, which challenges everyone involved to dream bigger, and center equity and justice in their decision making. Both youngers and olders care deeply about their faith community and the surrounding neighborhood, which inspires them to take transformative action that will benefit the surrounding community, the city, the county and ultimately the world 100 years into the future. So since our first cohort of faith leaders in 2020, we’ve seen how younger and older is purposefully working together can lead to unique, equitable and community oriented solutions, such as land transfers to communities of color, affordable housing projects, and democratized use of church building space. All these solutions bring economic opportunity to those who have historically been dispossessed of land and generational wealth, while providing a sustainable path forward for the faith communities. Thanks for your time.

 

Eunice Lin Nichols 

Thank you, E and thank you, Kathrine for painting this picture of what the future could look like when we take older and younger generations and resources that have been underutilized, disregarded, pushed off to the side and just put those pieces together in empowered ways. Throughout this process of hearing all of you speak, it’s made me think about how at the center of cogeneration. Embedded there is human aspiration and human dignity, and the desire for our solutions to reflect the beautiful age diversity of the people we serve. So thank you for that. With this, I’m going to bring us towards our clothes. It is really my my pleasure and my deep privilege to invite Michelle Armstrong from the Ares charitable foundation to join us to share some of her reflections on key insights she’s taken away from the webinar today, and how these insights will influence the work of the Foundation going forward. Over to you Michelle.

 

Michelle Armstrong 

Thank you so much Eunice, and I can’t tell you how absolutely inspired and delighted I am to hear from innovators and the important work that you all have undertaken as part of this CoGen Challenge for Economic Equity. You know, when I think about the work of the Ares Charitable Foundation, and we are the philanthropic arm of Ares Management Corporation, which is a leading alternative investment management firm, we’re really dedicated to the mission of helping to accelerate economic equity and equality for all people. And when we say all people, we’re looking across the age spectrum, from the youngest to the oldest individual, because it’s part of our intention to ensure that we’re helping to be a catalyst for shared prosperity. And I think that oftentimes age is the dimension of diversity that is frequently overlooked. And you know, when we think about what can we do to bring attention to not only the importance of thinking about older adults, but thinking about the importance of how you bring those older adults and younger adults together, it’s an opportunity for us to think about how can we be a bellwether, in terms of how we fund and what we fund, but also how can we enjoy the privilege of partnering with an innovative organization like CoGenerate to bring that type of work to life, and I can’t tell you how delighted and how honored We have been to partner with Eunice and Cristina, and Janet and Michelle, and Marci and Marc and the entire CoGen team over the past several months, as they have worked tirelessly to bring this work to life. When I also think about this idea of living in silos, when it comes to age, which I think is something that often happens by default here in the US, it can lead to myriad problems, everything from feelings of isolation and loneliness, to simply failing to tap into and to harness the talents of older adults, and also the creativity of younger adults, and bringing those two together to spark something magic. And so the opportunity that the innovators today have talked about, and how they’ve been able to create these conversations, and beyond that create these communities among innovators, is something that is truly thrilling and inspiring, and I hope, also something that we truly reflect on about how can each of us make this happen in our own communities? You know, we think about existential challenges, like economic inequity, which is something again, that our foundation is very much committed to helping to address. And, you know, I think that it’s not only about addressing that in very tactical, strategic ways, but and this was brought up earlier, it’s about how do you touch the hearts and the minds of people who are participating in initiatives like this, or who have the opportunity to participate in programs like this, so that they’re not only making a difference in their community, but they’re also building their own capacity, so that they can pay it forward, where they live, where they work, and where they play. And I’ll just close by saying that I heard some themes that resonated throughout today’s presentation, I heard empowerment, I heard inclusivity. And I think my greatest takeaway is I heard the art of collaboration. And that means stretching the age band, that many of us find ourselves in, by default, of where we work, the people we call colleagues and those within our friendship band. So I would like to, again, encourage each of us to think about how can we be a change agent in our own community? How can we not only do that ourselves, but also encourage our families, our friends, our co workers to do the same. And I really think that that requires thinking outside of the box. But beyond that, rallied others together, who are like minded and who share this ethos and who shared this passion. And this initiative has not only helped us think about how we do that, as individuals and the Aries foundation, but beyond that, how we think about what we fund going forward, and how we also encourage intergenerational thinking and teamwork, at Ares. So again, thank you for your time. Thank you for joining us today. And thank you again to the CoGenerate team for bringing this very, very important work to life. And so with that, Eunice, I will pass the baton back over to you.

 

Eunice Lin Nichols 

Thank you, Michelle. I don’t know if you heard my dog could not help but shouting and barking in agreement to everything you for saying he was so excited. But honestly, we’re just so grateful for you as a thought leader and a real champion of this cogenerational work in advancing economic opportunity. So often we will have funders and the highest bar is to have philanthropy deeply engaged in the content as well as with our innovators and you all your team has been wonderful to work with. So we’re thankful for that support, and also thankful for all our innovators. The work you’ve put forth is so inspiring, as you’ve seen in the chat box, to my team who has made this event possible. Today, Duncan, shout out to you in particular for being behind the scenes, and to you, the audience for taking time out of your busy day to join us to engage in these important topics. We invite each of you to join us in this continued journey toward economic equity and empowerment. Whether you’re a community leader, policymaker and educator and advocate a philanthropist, your contributions matter. We’re going to launch a quick poll right now. So you can provide us with some feedback on whether this showcase helped you to advance your understanding of economic opportunity. And as you fill that out, I know many of you are eager to connect with the innovators you heard from today. So if you have a question or want to get in touch with a specific innovator, please respond to the follow up email. We’ll be sending you tomorrow and we can forward your message to the right person. You can also go to our code and challenge web page which is going to be putting our chatbox for more information on each of the innovators and their projects. Those pages include links to their organizational websites and theirs social media handles. So with that, in closing, we challenge each of you to look at the work you’re doing and the communities you’re part of and see how embracing more age diversity and cogeneration can lead to better solutions for everyone. We truly believe that together we can build a world where every individual has the opportunity to thrive regardless of age or background. So go forth and coenerate and we will see you the next time around. Thanks, everyone.