What’s in a name?
We were founded 25 years ago as Civic Ventures with the idea that the growing, older population was less a problem to be solved than an opportunity to be seized. In 2012, we became Encore.org to put a name on the years beyond midlife and imbue them with social purpose. Today, as CoGenerate, we focus on what the vast (and still growing) older population can do in collaboration with younger generations to solve our nation’s most pressing problems.
Here’s a quick look at where we’ve been. Hope you’ll join us going forward!
- 1993Two social innovators, one 80 and hugely accomplished and one just starting out, meet at a conference. John Gardner — former Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare, founder of Common Cause, and winner of the Presidential Medal of Freedom — becomes a friend and mentor to Marc Freedman, then 35, as the two develop an idea to mobilize the time, talent and experience of older Americans to help children thrive.
- 2005Civic Ventures launches The Purpose Prize to tell a new story about the tremendous potential for social contribution and impact in later life. Over 10 years, with support from the John Templeton Foundation and Atlantic Philanthropies, the program invested $5 million in more than 500 social entrepreneurs over 60. The Purpose Prize lives today as a program of AARP.
- 2007The New York Times covers Freedman’s new book, Encore: Finding Work that Matters in the Second Half of Life (“Discovering Second Acts in Sustained Working Lives”). The Times called Freedman "the voice of aging baby boomers who are eschewing retirement for what he calls 'encore careers,' long periods of meaningful and sustaining work later in life."
- 2009Civic Ventures creates Encore Fellowships to match skilled, seasoned professionals with social sector organizations in high impact, paid leadership engagements. To date, more than 2,000 Fellows have provided over 2 million hours of service, working on multigenerational teams and contributing the equivalent of $200 million in talent to nonprofits in 50 metropolitan areas.
- 2020In the early days of the pandemic, Encore team members Phyllis Segal and Dr. Gerry Bourne call for an intergenerational vaccine corps in a Newsweek op-ed. With support from AmeriCorps Seniors, it becomes a reality. The Encore Intergenerational Vaccine Corps mobilizes retired medical professionals — and volunteers of all ages — to help vaccinate 47,000 underserved people in the Bay Area.
- 2020To support ambitious initiatives to solve problems and bridge generational divides, Encore’s Gen2Gen Innovation Fellowship enlists its first cohort of 15 innovators of all ages. The nine-month program provides expert coaching and peer assistance, exposure to important networks, help creating a three-minute pitch video, and a $10,000 stipend.
- 2021The Stanford Social Innovation Review (SSIR), an award-winning and influential magazine and website, publishes “Meeting the Multigenerational Moment” in partnership with Encore.org and The Eisner Foundation. The 13-part series shines a light on some of the nation’s most promising intergenerational innovations.
- 2022Marc Freedman captures an emerging cultural shift in an essay published by The Boston Globe. There’s evidence, he writes, that popular culture is moving away from ageist stereotypes in favor of artistic collaborations that “illustrate the power of cross-generational connection and collaboration” and win over audiences, too.