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,...


Ronald Stebenne

Purpose Prize Fellow 2014

This educator turned social entrepreneur built an online platform to crowdfund community improvement.

In 2010, I was 62 years old and homeless, living in a windowless storage closet of my company warehouse. The company I had founded to sell eco-friendly skateboards was not yet turning a profit, and when the economy crashed in 2008, I was downsized from my second job as a youth pastor in San Diego.

That’s when I left San Diego for Kennesaw, Georgia, where my sister lived. It was one of the most difficult decisions in my life, but it proved to be the right move. I had 30 years of experience working with sports – especially action sports – and in youth ministry, nonprofits and business. After six months, I was able to find work as a consultant helping to build a $1.8 million public skate park.

On a trip to California seeking corporate sponsors for the skate park project, I was introduced to the idea of crowdfunding. Since I was always hunting for funds to help a cause, I knew so many other community projects never saw the light of day because of lack of money. That’s when FundOurCommunity – and my encore career – was born.

  • 30 projects funded for $30,000
  • 70 more projects in the pipeline

FundOurCommunity.com is an online platform that launched in 2013 to support community-oriented campaigns. We hope to fill an enormous gap in funding for civic projects.

In less than a year we’ve been able to partially or fully fund 30 good causes for over $30,000 collectively. We have more than 70 additional projects in the pipeline.

An ambitious math student in Georgia will now benefit from a $2,500 scholarship named after a young math whiz and athlete named Lizzy who was killed in a car accident. An Episcopal reverend in San Francisco can now spend a few more weeks helping the homeless at night. And one more underprivileged kid in East Providence, Rhode Island, will be able to attend summer sports camp.

I hope to continue to mentor young entrepreneurs through FundOurCommunity. I love their energy and their willingness to be part of something that helps others. That’s the legacy I hope to leave behind.