Purpose Prize

Marc Freedman Portrait

The Latest from CoGenerate

Documentary Brings the Beauty of Cogeneration to PBS

Documentary Brings the Beauty of Cogeneration to PBS

A new documentary film, Ink & Linda, chronicles the unexpected friendship between Inksap, a Vietnamese-American street artist in his 20s, and Linda, a white modern dance teacher in her 70s. Shortly after a chance encounter brings these two together, they begin...

Announcing the CoGen Challenge to Advance Economic Opportunity

Announcing the CoGen Challenge to Advance Economic Opportunity

We’re out to show the world that older and younger people can help solve pressing problems when they work together. To that end, today we’re launching the CoGen Challenge to Advance Economic Opportunity, a partnership with the Ares Charitable Foundation to elevate...


Orlando Tobon

Emma Cardenas Foundation
Purpose Prize Fellow 2008

Helping immigrant New Yorkers avoid exploitation and get services they need.

Orlando Tobon immigrated from Colombia in 1968 and still works as an accountant and travel agent. Over the years, however, his tiny office in the “Little Colombia” section of Queens has become the place for newcomers to find advice, sanctuary and critical human services, and many lives have been saved as a result. Not paid for the help he provides, Tobon sees himself as representing the immigrant community as a whole, not just Colombians and Latinos. Tobon unites facets of the community that might not otherwise have contact with each other – police, schools, social workers, drug and alcohol treatment centers, lawyers, and employers – to help immigrants avoid exploitation and get the services they need. At 57, he co-produced and acted in the critically acclaimed 2004 film “Maria Full of Grace,” about a poor Colombian woman exploited to work as a courier for the Columbian drug cartels. With proceeds from the film and the increased public awareness it generated, Tobon continues to help hundreds of immigrants each year, especially against drugs and alcohol. He has formalized his fundraising through the Emma Cardenas Foundation, which distributes clothing and books to school children. “The more involved I became, the more I realized I had a mission to continue and expand my commitment.”