Skoll Foundation

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

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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.


  • The Purpose Prize, now in its ninth year, is the nation’s pre-eminent large-scale investment in people over 60 who are combining their passion and experience for social good. The Prize awards at least $100,000 annually to individuals creating new ways to solve tough social problems. The 2014 Purpose Prize awarded $300,000 to six individuals. Since its inception The Purpose Prize has garnered nearly 10,000 nominations, honored more than 465 winners and fellows, attracted millions of dollars in new resources for winners to expand their projects and merited hundreds of news stories in The Wall Street JournalTime, NPR and other outlets. In 2013, the White House honored a Purpose Prize Winner as a Champion for Change.
  • 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.
  • 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. In 2014, more than 250 Encore Fellows in 35 metropolitan areas across the United States are working at nonprofits and public agencies, building their capacity to deliver on their missions. The program was featured in a “What Works” Case Study in the Winter 2013 issue of the Stanford Social Innovation Review and selected as a finalist for the 2013 Eisner Prize for Intergenerational Excellence.



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