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More on the Boomer Entrepreneurs

Earlier this week, 15 people over the age of 60 who lead projects to solve a pressing social problem were selected as finalists for the $100,000 Purpose Prize. Recently, I mentioned the prize in a post about "encore careers," a term coined by Marc Freedman, the head of Civic Ventures, which just so happens to be the group awarding the prize. Prize SealThe range of issues addressed by these finalists is impressive: humane treatment of farm animals, better care for foster children, saving energy for low-income home owners, and many others. And one of the finalists is 91!


Freedman is quite the evangelist about the potential of older Americans to engage in transforming the world around them. He founded Civic Ventures for starters. He's also just published a new book, Encore: Finding Work That Matters in the Second Half of Life. In a statement about the Purpose Prize finalists, Freedman gave some context to this rise in 60+ social entrepreneurs:

As baby boomers leave their midlife careers and continue working into their 60s, we are experiencing the biggest transformation of the American workforce since the women's movement. One of the most interesting and significant developments from this transformation is the emergence of social innovation and entrepreneurialism from people over 60.

Here's the list of finalists:

Ray Anderson, 72, (Atlanta, GA): Leading the business community by adopting practices for his own multi-million dollar carpet company that protect the environment and boost profits

Gloria Jackson Bacon, 69, (Chicago, IL): Training hundreds of low-income parents to inspire and support their children in school and help them succeed in life

Donald Berwick, 60, (Cambridge, MA): Enlisting wide-scale cooperation and scientifically-proven protocols to help hospitals improve care and save more than 100,000 lives

Sally Bingham, 66, (San Francisco, CA): Leading an interfaith response to global warming by helping churches, synagogues, temples and mosques buy green electricity, reduce energy consumption and add a moral dimension to environmental activism

Phil Borges, 64, (Seattle, WA): Utilizing stories, pictures and technology - podcasting, videoconferencing, and the Web - to expand cross-cultural understanding among youth around the world

Richard Cherry, 64, (New York, NY): Saving energy and providing green building services to low-income New Yorkers

Adele Douglass, 60, (Herndon, VA): Advancing the humane treatment of farm animals through the certification and labeling of meat and poultry

Jose-Pablo Fernandez , 62, (Houston, TX): Teaching Hispanic parents computer skills to get them involved in their children's educations and to boost the children's chances of success

Sara J. Gonzales , 71, (Atlanta, GA): Training new Hispanic entrepreneurs and linking them to the larger business world

Gordon Johnson , 74, (Daytona Beach, FL): Creating new approaches to foster care that keeps siblings together and improves the quality of care and attention given to each child

H. Gene Jones , 91, (Tucson, AZ): Accelerating student achievement by integrating music and art in a district-wide curriculum that improves critical thinking, problem-solving and test scores

Marian Kramer , 63, (Detroit, MI): Organizing a grassroots, legal and legislative fight for the right to affordable water in Detroit

Gary Maxworthy , 69, (San Francisco, CA): Using expertise from a career in food distribution to redistribute tons of nutritious produce at a city food bank - that would otherwise go to waste - to low-income people

Wilma Melville , 73, (Ojai, CA): Saving lives at disaster sites by training rescued dogs to serve on canine-firefighter search teams

Sharon Rohrbach , 64, (St. Louis, MO): Saving the lives of newborns through home visits by nurses

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