Skoll Foundation

Skoll Entrepreneur(s): Marc Freedman
Award Year: 2010
Focus Area(s) Addressed: Education and Economic Opportunity

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Marc Freedman founded Civic Ventures—now called—in 1998 to find caring, committed adults to help young people growing up in poverty — as mentors, teachers and youthworkers. His belief that the vast and growing older population could serve as a critical resource for children led him to spearhead the development of Experience Corps, now a highly successful tutoring and mentoring program helping 20,000 children in 20 cities. In the years since, Freedman founded The Purpose Prize, a $100,000 award for social innovators over age 60. His newest goal is to get millions of boomers to pour their life experience into “encore careers,” that combine personal meaning, continued income and social impact. This new and growing workforce for social change could solve some of society’s toughest problems — from education to the environment, health care to homelessness.


  • Their book, “The Encore Career Handbook,” is a comprehensive, nuts-and-bolts guide to finding passion, purpose and a paycheck in the second half of life.
  • Civic Ventures developed Experience Corps, the largest national service program in America mobilizing individuals over age 55 for social change. It operates in 20 cities, serving 20,000 children in grades K thru 3. Independent evaluation shows Experience Corps has a powerful impact on children’s reading comprehension (equivalent to small class size), while improving the well-being of the Experience Corps members.
  • The Purpose Prize is transforming perceptions of the capacity of individuals over age 60 to solve the big problems facing the world. To date, the prize has attracted 8,500 nominations for 430 prizes (winners or fellows). In 2013, the White House honored a Purpose Prize Winner as a Champion for Change.
  • CV’s Encore Fellowships initiative delivers new sources of talent to organizations solving critical social problems. These paid, time-limited Fellowships match skilled, experienced professionals at the end of their midlife careers with social-purpose organizations. While they are working, the Fellows earn a stipend, learn about social-purpose work, and develop a new network of contacts and resources for the future. Following the model of the highly successful 2009 pilot, Encore Fellowship opportunities are now in Arizona, California, New York, Oregon, New Mexico, Massachusetts, Washington, and Washington D.C. – all members of a collaborative network.



© 2015 Skoll Foundation.