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Latino baby boomer entrepreneurs sought as nominees for special social purpose prize

LatinaLista — In these economic times, the thought of retirement for many Baby Boomers is as much an impossibility as being in their twenties again. Most people older than 60 are resigned to the fact of working until they can physically no longer do it.


Yet, there is a difference in this era between working versus working to make a difference. There are stories of many people over the age of 60 who have created “encore” careers that are making a social impact.

For example, there’s Margaret Gordon who went from housekeeper to activist to mayor-appointed commissioner of the country’s fourth busiest container port keeping an eye on her neighborhood’s environmental health.

Then there’s Hubert Jones.

For five decades, he built and nourished nonprofit organizations that spoke to one of this country’s most enduring struggles: race. He had served as dean of the Boston University School of Social Work for 16 years, the first African-American in that role. He was already a hero to many in Boston, a city with a history of racial tension.


But during a trip to Chicago, Jones was moved by something he didn’t expect. Watching a performance of the Chicago Children’s Choir, it hit him. From that 2001 performance in Chicago, Jones felt driven to create the Boston Children’s Chorus. The goal: to unite young people across differences of race, religion and economic status. Children age 7 to 18 who might not necessarily have any contact with each other come together – literally – in harmony.

These are just a couple of the stories of men and women, who should be retiring but are finding new purpose in their lives. They have created jobs for themselves that combine personal meaning but have a social impact, all the while, still allowing them to earn an income.

This kind of Baby Boomer entrepreneurship is the focus of a website called Encore Careers. It’s published by Civic Ventures, a nonprofit think tank on boomers, work and social purpose. It works to engage millions of people in encore careers and produce a supply of talent to solve society’s greatest problems.

The web site carries inspirational stories of boomers who have created new careers — and new meaning — for themselves and their communities; research showing what types of meaningful work boomer entrepreneurs are developing in answer to social problems; and information about the Purpose Prize.

The Purpose Prize is a unique recognition that awards ten people — five receive $100,000 and five receive $50,000 – for improving their communities and the world — for their encore career work.

A quick review of 2010 winners reveals no Latinos among them. So, it wasn’t surprising that organizers of the Purpose Prize sent the following tweet to Latina Lista:

purposeprize is searching for Latinos 60+ who are improving the world. Nominate for $100K prize

That’s all it takes. Know of an older Latino or Latina who fits the encore career criteria who is doing amazing work for the greater good of their community? Then nominate them and help, in an indirect way, make a difference in someone’s life.

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