Skoll Foundation

Skoll Awardee(s): Marc Freedman
Award Year: 2010
Issue Area(s) Addressed: Education

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“We are a movement of millions of people who are using our passions, skills, and decades of experience to make a difference in our communities and the world.”

Sub-Issue: Post-Secondary Education American society is aging, with a potential for a demographic disaster of increasing burdens on the younger generations to support and care for their elders, but also with great potential for individual and social renewal.

The Skoll Awardee: Marc Freedman founded Civic Ventures – now called – in 1998 to find caring, committed adults to help young people growing up in poverty. 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 60, with his newest goal to get millions of boomers to pour their life experiences into “encore careers” that have positive social impact. seeks to establish a new definition of success in the second half of life, engaging millions of baby boomers as a vital workforce for change. Through an inventive program portfolio, original research, strategic alliances, and the power of people´s own life stories, works to enable those who want to pursue encore careers by addressing barriers such as missing language and vision, inadequate pathways and employer practices, and a policy landscape suited for shorter working lives. At the time of the Award, the purpose Prize was in its sixth year; Experience Corps was the largest national service program, mobilizing Americans over the age of 55 for social change, operating in 23 cities with 2,000 members serving 20,000 children.

Impact since joining the portfolio in 2010:

  • The number of Purpose Prize winners and Fellows has grown to more than 465. Corporate sponsorships for prizes in specific fields have enabled increasing the number of $100,000 Prize awards each year.
  • Thanks largely to’s Encore U program, more than 20 leading universities, including Stanford, Harvard, NYU, Tulane, and the University of Washington have launched Encore programs to support midlife students transitioning to encore careers.
  • org has established the Encore Network as a resource for organizations leading the movement.
  • Encore Fellows are earning a stipend and learning how to succeed in social change work at agencies and nonprofits in 35 metropolitan areas across the U.S.



© 2015 Skoll Foundation.