Purpose Prize

Marc Freedman Portrait

The Latest from CoGenerate

New Survey Reveals Benefits of Older-Younger Tutoring Teams

New Survey Reveals Benefits of Older-Younger Tutoring Teams

For the past year, Ampact, with support from CoGenerate’s Generations Serving Together program, placed cogenerational pairs of AmeriCorps members in elementary schools. The older and younger adults worked side by side to improve students’ reading and math skills. A...

The Billionaire Who Gave Away His Fortune Took a Big Chance on Us

The Billionaire Who Gave Away His Fortune Took a Big Chance on Us

We at CoGenerate (formerly Encore.org) are mourning the loss of Chuck Feeney this week. Without Chuck's vision and generosity we likely would not exist as an organization. Twenty-five years ago Atlantic Philanthropies took a chance on our start-up, playing a...


Thomas Walz

Extend the Dream Foundation
Purpose Prize Fellow 2006

Incubating small businesses owned and operated by persons with disabilities

After retiring from a career in teaching and social work in 2000, Thomas Walz founded the Extend the Dream Foundation (EDF) in Iowa City, Iowa. He had been inspired by Bill Sackter, a mentally challenged man who transformed his mental disability and 43 years of hospitalization into a life based on joy and service to others. Walz’ goal was to extend Sackter’s dream by helping low-income people with disabilities create, own, and operate small businesses that would employ other disabled people. Walz secured a grant to open a small mall where a series of small businesses and community services would operate including the Brain Injury Association and the County Coalition on Disability; leased a second building to house a furniture finishing business; and bought a third for an upscale vintage store and an e-commerce training center where persons with disabilities learn to become self-employed through buying and selling on the internet. EDF is run entirely by volunteers, many of whom come from the University of Iowa’s social work and small business administration programs; others are people with disabilities. Five of the businesses that EDF has helped launch over the past five years are now operating independently or close to it, and have been embraced by the general community.