The Encore Prize FAQ

General Information about The Gen2Gen Encore Prize

The Gen2Gen Encore Prize offers $100,000 to programs and products that bring the talents of people over 50 to help kids who need champions.

The Prize is part of the Generation to Generation campaign — a national effort to connect the over 50 population to young people who could greatly benefit from more support. By participating in The Encore Prize you will be joining the campaign, and pledging to support future generations.

Encore.org and its funders are providing $100,000 in cash prizes to the five finalists. A panel of expert judges will award one finalist $50,000; the other four will win $10,000 each. At a live pitch event this fall, the audience will select one of the five finalists for an additional $10,000 prize.

Ideas will be judged on the following criteria:

  • Innovation. New approach or critical improvement to existing models.
  • Encore Fit. Use of the talents of people 50+ in well-designed roles.  
  • Youth Fit. Serving an urgent or timely need for a specific population of youth.
  • Capacity. A team with the track record or partnerships needed to launch, develop and grow new programs or products.
  • Scalability or Replicability. Potential of the idea to grow and produce significant social change.
  • Financial Model. Clear plan for financial sustainability.
  • Diversity. Ability to engage diverse communities of people 50 and older.

While many companies are investing in innovations to extend the lifespan, few are developing innovative ways to give purpose to those added years. Funding to fill this innovation gap is scarce. The goal of The Encore Prize is to spur individuals and organizations across a wide spectrum of disciplines and settings to design new pathways and opportunities to fill this gap.

Contact Encore Prize Director Janet Oh, with general questions. If you are a member of the media, contact Marci Alboher.

The Encore Prize Pitch Event

Each finalist will have three minutes to make a fast pitch for their idea. (Individualized pitch coaching will be provided in advance by Andy Goodman.) Finalists may use slides if they choose.  After the pitches, the live audience will vote for their favorite and we will announce the $50,000 Judges’ Prize winner and the $10,000 audience prize.

The Pitch Event will take place in Los Angeles November 13-14.  All finalists are required to be present.

Eligibility

You should be able to answer “yes” to the following questions to be eligible:

  • Does your project utilize the talents of adults 50 and older to improve the lives of youth in the U.S.?
  • Is your project in an early stage or period of significant growth?
  • If you advance to the semifinals, will you be able to participate in online public voting (Sept 2018)?   
  • If you become a finalist, can you pitch your project in Los Angeles November 13-14, 2018? (Travel and accommodations will be covered)

You SHOULD NOT apply for The Encore Prize if:

  • Your project is already being done successfully in another geographic region.  We are looking for new ideas or new ways of connecting people (not replications of existing programs in new geographic areas).
  • Your project has a partisan political agenda.
  • Your project is intended to promote a specific faith or is exclusively sectarian.  (However, we do welcome and encourage faith-based organizations that have a broader social mission to apply.)
  • Your project solely benefits youth outside of the U.S.

Yes, we strongly encourage any former Purpose Prize winners or fellows who are working with kids and older adults, or who just have a great idea to apply.

Except for 2017 Encore Prize finalists, all applicants are eligible to reapply. 2017 finalists can apply with a new idea.

An innovative idea can be submitted by an individual or group of individuals who have not yet formally incorporated an organization, as well as an established organization. However, to be considered for subsequent stages of the process, the applicant will need to demonstrate a track history of success in taking an idea from the conceptual stage to execution or have connections to other organizations that will collaborate in taking the project beyond the conceptual stage.

At this time, The Encore Prize is focused on the U.S. Applications from international organizations or individuals are welcome but they must address ways to connect U.S.-based older adults with U.S.-based youth at risk. Future challenges may be open to applicants with an international focus.

However, as long as your idea includes U.S. based children and older adults, you won’t be penalized if it also includes international participants.

Yes

Yes, The Encore Prize is open to applications from individuals, non-profits, for-profits or hybrid models. In fact, you don’t even need to be incorporated in any form to apply. Individuals are welcome to submit.

Programs that have already begun operating are welcome to apply. Programs that have been around for many years, but have a new idea or a significant improvement on an existing program should submit their new or improved idea, rather than applying with a program that has already achieved some level of success or scale. There’s no such thing for us as an organization that is too new or too old. It’s the freshness of the idea that we will be looking at along with the potential to scale.

Application

There are many forms this could take, but we are really interested in models in which large numbers of people over the age of 50 might use their life experience and expertise to help large numbers of youth. It doesn’t have to be a one-on-one relationship, but it could be.

We are looking for ideas that highlight the value of older adult experience in relationships between generations. It doesn’t have to one-way though. If you have an idea for the generations working together where both benefit, we’d love to hear about it.

We would consider any application that addressed children from birth through college age or young adults as appropriate for this challenge. For example, college access or completion, or helping young adults find work would be valid problems to have older people help solve.

We, intentionally, want to remain broad in the types of youth being served.  This could be high-needs populations like foster youth or those involved in the juvenile justice system.  But, we also want to include proposals serving other groups that might not be as vulnerable too. We will look to your application to make a compelling case for why your project is necessary and how it will improve the lives of youth.

The Encore Prize Accelerator is a digital platform containing videos, webinars, and other resources to help applicants complete the 2018 application.  The Accelerator is self-guided and self-paced, allowing applicants to pick and choose which content is most relevant and helpful. It offers an introduction to  topics related to the application questions, including designing roles for and recruiting people 50 and older (also called “encore talent”), measuring impact, and perfecting your pitch.

The Encore Prize Accelerator is meant to be self-guided, allowing applicants to choose which content is most helpful.  Because the content is introductory in nature, some applicants who have been working extensively in the encore and youth fields (for example Gen2Gen partners) may be able to complete the application  without watching all of the webinars.

Since we are looking for new ideas, we don’t expect you to already have a high level of scale or have been replicated in other areas. That would actually be antithetical to the intent of this prize. Rather, the idea should have the future potential of engaging lots (eventually 100s or even 1000s) of older adults and helping the lives of 100s or 1000s of young people. You’ll need to convince us that that many older adults will be interested and that within 5 or 10 years your program could be big enough to have a significant impact. Either that or that the idea is one that others could pick up and replicate in other geographic areas.

Again, we don’t expect you to have funding yet. (It’s not a point against you if you do, of course.) But if the program is to grow, we expect that you will need more resources than a $50,000 Encore Prize. You should have an idea of how much money you’ll need and where that money could come from. It could be philanthropy if you think you’re program will appeal to donors, but you might also consider whether there are fees that you might charge, or products that you might sell. We want to invest in programs that will succeed and future sources of revenue will be part of future success.

If there is research supporting the need or the approach you’re suggesting, feel free to mention it. If there is room, include a link to the research or something else to help us track it down. This is not required however.

The Prize Process

Here’s what will happen after you submit your application:

  • Encore will review your application to ensure it is eligible
  • June 1-15: A team of reviewers will read your application and give you individualized feedback
  • June 16-29: You can revise your application (and revisit the Accelerator content, if necessary).  Final submissions are due by June 29.
  • July: The Prize team will carefully evaluate your proposal
  • July 31: Announcement of up to 25 semifinalists.
  • August – September: Semifinalist activities including online interviews with Encore staff, online peer presentations, and two weeks of public voting.
  • September 14: Supplemental materials due
  • October 1: Announcement of five finalists
  • October – November: Individual pitch coaching with Andy Goodman of The Goodman Center
  • November 13-14: Finalists will travel to Los Angeles Nov 13-14 for the Encore Summit and Pitch Event.  Winners announced at the Pitch Event.
  • Finalists will receive a year of customized, ongoing support by Encore.org.

The first step of review (June 1-15)  will be done by a large group of reviewers, including Prize applicants who choose to become peer reviewers.  Other reviewers will come from Encore.org’s extended community of leaders and practitioners including Encore Fellows and Purpose Prize Winners and Fellows.  From there, Encore and Gen2Gen staff members will select the semifinalists. Finalists will be determined through a combination of public voting, supplemental questions, peer presentations, and interviews by Encore staff.  An esteemed panel of judges will determine the $50,000 Judges’ Prize winner. The live audience at the pitch event in Los Angeles will determine who wins the $10,000 Audience Prize.

The time commitment will depend on how far you advance.

All applicants will have access to The Encore Prize Accelerator, a digital platform containing videos, webinars, and other resources to help applicants complete the application.  The Accelerator is self-guided and self-paced, allowing applicants to pick and choose which content is relevant and most helpful.  The application could require eight hours or more to complete.

Semifinalists, a group of the 15-25 top ideas, will participate in online peer presentations, interviews with Encore staff, and will answer five additional questions about their projects. Semifinalists will participate in public voting and will be invited to mobilize their networks to support their idea. This stage requires a minimum of eight hours to complete.

Semifinalists will also have the opportunity to be matched with a coach and receive eight hours of individual support over six months.

Finalists, a group of the 5 top ideas, will receive up to an hour of one-on-one coaching on your pitch by Andy Goodman. This group will travel to Los Angeles Nov 13-14 to learn and connect with peers and present your pitch to encore leaders. We will also be offering a year of ongoing consultation following the awarding of The Encore Prizes. We hope you will respond to periodic requests for information about your project to help us evaluate whether the support provided has helped bring your idea to life.

Depending on how far you advance, applicants will benefit from:

All Applicants who choose to be part of the accelerator will receive

  • Information from experts on recruiting and designing roles for encore talent, effective messaging for pitching to funders, measuring the impact of your program, and bridging divides.
  • Individualized feedback on your application

Semifinalists will receive all of the above, plus

  • The opportunity to work with a coach for 4-6 months to improve your project
  • Peer feedback on your pitch
  • The opportunity to pitch your ideas to the public, gain visibility, and win support to advance to the next level.

Finalists will receive all of the above, plus

  • A cash prize of at least $10,000 and up to $60,000 (The Judge’s Prize winner will receive $50,000 and one finalist will win an additional $10,000 Audience Prize.)
  • One-on-one coaching on your pitch by Andy Goodman
  • High-level visibility of your idea at the Encore Pitch event in Los Angeles in front of encore leaders
  • A year of customized, ongoing support from Encore.org
  • Media coverage

Up to 25 ventures will be selected as semifinalists. Five will become finalists.

Other

There is no charge to apply for The Encore Prize. Encore.org will cover travel for one team member to the Encore Prize Pitch Event in Los Angeles on November 13-14, 2018. One additional team member may attend, but Encore.org will only cover meal costs for one additional attendee per team. Travel and lodging will be the responsibility of the applicant team for an additional attendee.

Unfortunately, we don’t have the resources to connect every great idea with an interested funder. We expect that some funders, as well as the media, may be interested in the top ideas we select as semifinalists, but we cannot guarantee a connection to funders.

The $50,000 Judges Prize will be disbursed in two installments.  The first installment of $40,000 will be issued in November and the remaining $10,000 will be disbursed when agreed upon benchmarks have been met.  The $10,000 awards (for finalists and the audience prize winner) will be issued in one installment in November.