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,...

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...

Today, Encore.org Becomes CoGenerate

Welcome to our next chapter.

By Marc Freedman & Eunice Lin Nichols | Oct 12, 2022

“Co” means together in Latin. Think connection, collaboration, community. Think CoGenerate.

Today’s a big day for us. We’re changing our name from Encore.org to CoGenerate because we believe there’s never been a more critical — or more promising — time to reach across the generational divide and work together for change.

As Encore, we helped change cultural expectations for the years beyond 50 and expand the contributions of older people. As CoGenerate, we’re focusing on what the vast and growing older population can do in collaboration with younger generations to solve society’s most pressing problems.

We call that intergenerational collaboration “cogeneration,” and we believe it’s an essential and effective strategy to create connection across differences, combat polarization and ageism, and build an equitable, healthy, inclusive, productive, safe, and joyful world together.

The challenges — and opportunities — are clear.

According to a report from the Stanford Center on Longevity, “we are living in the most age-diverse society in human history,” with almost equal numbers of people of every age from birth to 74 and beyond.

At the same time, we’ve become a deeply age-segregated nation, one that provides few opportunities for the generations to connect in daily life, much less combine their talents. Traditionally, young people are in school, middle people at work, and older ones are often isolated at home or in retirement communities and nursing homes.

Some predict a future characterized by misunderstanding, conflict, isolation and an array of other us-vs.-them fights. But we believe our multigenerational future presents the chance to chart a different path.

Instead of being pulled apart by one crisis after another, younger and older people can choose to pull together. We can combine forces for mutual benefit and social impact, cogenerating solutions to society’s toughest problems, and co-creating a better future.

This is a change wanting to happen. A new study from University of Chicago researchers shows that nearly all Americans believe cogeneration will make life better in America and reduce divisions in our society. People want to cogenerate, but don’t often have the chance — 81% say they’re interested in working with others at least 25 years older or younger than themselves to improve the world around them. Nearly three-quarters (72%) wish they had more opportunities to work across generations for change — for a sustainable planet, education, mental health care, and so much more. And the source of the most enthusiasm for intergenerational collaboration? Young people.

Let’s face it, our world is rocked by crises no generation can handle alone. When we come together, anything’s possible.

In our next chapter, we’re going to use all the muscles we developed over the past 25 years to bring older and younger people together to cogenerate solutions.

As we have in the past, we’ll do our catalytic work in three ways.

  • We’ll show the pattern, uncovering places where cogeneration is already taking place, telling those stories and opening minds to what’s possible.
  • We’ll grow the pattern, supporting innovations and innovators of all ages who are bringing generations together for mutual benefit and social impact.
  • And we’ll accelerate the pattern, building a community of leaders, organizations and funders who can scale this work and sustain it.

We won’t stop calling for more opportunities for older people to engage in work that matters. After all, there’s no cogenerating without them. But we’ll reach out to younger changemakers, too. We’re going to need all ages.

And we’re going to need you. We enter this transition with gratitude to you for making our work — past, present and future — possible, successful and so rewarding. We hope we can count on your continued partnership and support.

The urgent problems we face today require all of us. Thankfully, America’s growing age diversity represents an extraordinary opportunity to come together in joy, understanding, and action. Let’s seize it together.

Marc Freedman and Eunice Lin Nichols are Co-CEOs at CoGenerate.

Want more cogeneration in your life? Check out this list of 10 ways to engage.