Purpose Prize

Marc Freedman Portrait

The Latest from CoGenerate

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,...

A New Chapter for the Encore Fellowships Program

A New Chapter for the Encore Fellowships Program

We’re excited to share the news that the Encore Fellowships program has moved to The Fedcap Group, a new home with the capacity, networks and drive to help the groundbreaking program expand dramatically.  Got questions? We’ve got answers. What’s The Fedcap Group? The...

*

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.”