Purpose Prize

Marc Freedman Portrait

The Latest from CoGenerate

Overheard on Text: Imposter Syndrome

Overheard on Text: Imposter Syndrome

As colleagues from different generations (x/millennial), we’ve been leading talks and workshops sharing our insights about working across generations – what we call “cogeneration.” As we plan, we’re usually texting furiously, sharing ideas and reflections. So we...

This Cogenerational Pair Calls for ‘Radical Inclusion’ of Youth

This Cogenerational Pair Calls for ‘Radical Inclusion’ of Youth

I was thrilled when I heard about the new book, Why Aren’t We Doing This! Collaborating with Minors in Major Ways, written by Denise Webb, age 20, and Wendy Schaetzel Lesko, age 73, (both pictured above) and published by Youth Infusion, a clearinghouse co-founded by...

Music Is Having a Moment — And It’s a Cogenerational One.

Music Is Having a Moment — And It’s a Cogenerational One.

Sunday’s show featured three big moments reminding us that music can be a bridge not only across race, culture, and genre, but also age. Tracy Chapman & Luke Combs. Much attention, rightfully, has gone to the duet between Tracy Chapman, who turns 60 next month,...

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Mary Peterson

ElderSpirit Community
Purpose Prize Fellow 2006

Building a cohousing community of mutual support and late-life spirituality.

At 18, Geraldine (Dene) Peterson left her parents and ten siblings to join a convent. She ultimately chose to leave the religious order, but her spirituality remained deeply rooted. In 1995, at age 65, she created the ElderSpirit Community in Abingdon, Virginia. Inspired by a Danish model, Peterson wanted to form a co-housing retirement community that would allow friends to live together in a collaborative and supportive setting while also offering some of the autonomy of private dwellings. Peterson also envisioned an alternative to institutional long-term care, a place where community members would have the emotional support of their peers as well as the necessary medical assistance to live out their lives at home. Using a creative patchwork of funding from public and private resources, Peterson raised $3.5 million, and her vision materialized. Construction of the 29 residences, common community building, and a prayer room was completed in late spring of 2006 and will house both the moderate and low-income. The model has gained national attention, and an ElderSpirit outreach extension program in now helping to plan similar communities in Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, Kansas, and Virginia.