Critical Bridge and Hire Autism win $50,000 awards to bring mentors over 50 into the lives of young people who need champions

Excitement was in the air, as the five finalists for The Encore Prize gave their three-minute pitches to a live audience of 125 people in Boston yesterday. (You can watch below!)



Each presented a great new idea for tapping encore talent to improve the lives of young people who need champions. Each brought passion and polish. Each was determined to win one of two $50,000 prizes that most certainly will change lives.

With help from 12,000 voters, 17 judges, dozens of reviewers, the finalists themselves (who rated each other’s performance), and all those in the room yesterday, we finally have our winners.

Congratulations to (drumroll, please)…

  • Critical Bridge/Office of Mayor Sam Liccardo (San Jose, CA), which will integrate caring, older-adult mentors into the city’s workforce and community-college programs to help youth get on track, discover new opportunities and change the trajectory of their lives.
  • Hire Autism/Organization for Autism Research (Arlington, VA), which will engage
    older-adult mentors to help young adults on the autism spectrum find jobs that
    match their skills.

These two organizations will use their $50,000 awards to recruit and train more people 50+ to help more young people find work, hope and a brighter future.

In addition, the three other Encore Prize finalists will receive $5,000 awards to further their work. They are:

  • Family Promise(Summit, NJ), which partners with faith-based and secular groups to provide older financial literacy coaches to youth and their families to help them achieve housing stability and financial independence.
  • Grandmas2Go/Family Coaches (Jacksonville, OR), which matches volunteer “grandmas” with vulnerable families with young children (0-5) to help fill gaps in service left by stretched public dollars.
  • Table Wisdom(St. Louis, MO), which uses technology to pair people 50+ with new immigrants of different generations, cultures, languages and geographies for conversations that support immigrants in improving their lives and keep older people socially and civically engaged.

Thanks to all – funders, voters, advisers, partners, staff and judges – for helping a little innovation contest go a long way. And thank you for spreading the word that people over 50 are a powerful, sustainable, renewable and effective resource to help kids thrive.

I hope you’ll continue to stand up and show up for kids every day by:

  • Joining the Gen2Gen campaign. When you do, you’ll get information about our next Encore Prize competition.
  • Offering your help to any of our semifinalists. See below for contact information.

These are difficult times for so many, but together I know we can create a better future for future generations.

These semi-finalists welcome your inquiries and support.