WIP Alboher and Oh

CoGen Challenge: Older and younger people working together to advance economic opportunity

A conversation with Marci Alboher of CoGenerate and Janet Oh of CoGenerate

In this episode of Work in Progress, I am joined by Marci Alboher, vice president at CoGenerate, and Janet Oh, director of innovation at CoGenerate, a social-impact nonprofit dedicated to bringing older and younger people together to help create a more inclusive and prosperous future. 

CoGenerate today announced the launch of the CoGen Challenge to Advance Economic Opportunity, an initiative to elevate gogenerational models that can transform the economic landscape for people of all ages living and working side-by-side.

The Challenge will engage thought leaders to inspire and activate others, provide $20,000 investments to each of eight innovative initiatives, and sponsor a virtual public showcase of their cogenerational work.

Additionally, leaders of the selected initiatives will participate in a six-month accelerator providing a supportive community, plus expert and peer coaching in program development, expansion, storytelling and fundraising.

Marci Alboher says the Challenge comes out of the work the organization has been doing to break down barriers between the different age groups that make up our society.

“We are perhaps the most age-diverse society that we have ever experienced. We have more people living at every age between 17 and up to the 80s than have ever been alive at once. A lot of people talk often about how we’re an aging society, but the interesting thing is we are actually an all-ages society. But, at the same time, we are a highly age-segregated society.”

Some of that segregation is in the workplace, adds Alboher.

“In many workplaces, there are age silos. We’re seeing some movement where there are organizations that are really trying to reach out and make age diversity part of how they hire and how they structure teams. The benefit of doing that, of course, is that you could speak to different audiences, you can make your products and services relevant to people of all ages, but we have a long way to go to get there,” she says.

Janet Oh explains that work is just one of the many aspects of society the CoGen Challenge will be looking at.

“One goal of the challenge is to really unleash people’s creativity on how to utilize the talents of youngers and olders. We totally expect to be surprised and delighted by the things that we see. Sometimes we find solutions that are hidden in plain sight that are already there, but haven’t really been named and identified. And then sometimes we find ideas that are first of their kind.”

Oh says the Challenge is seeing U.S.-based initiatives that will advance economic opportunity for everyone.

“We’re looking for innovators who are really eager to jump in and be with peers to test and learn and to be generous with each other and be in this iterative state. We found that our innovators are often very lonely, that this is a new field, and so coming together in this group gives them a chance to, as one innovator said, take off their mask and really be honest about what is hard and what is working, and then come together to open doors for one another,” Oh tells me in the podcast.

Applications for the CoGen Challenge are due by October 16. For more information and to apply, visit their website here.

Funding for the CoGen Challenge to Advance Economic Opportunity has been provided by the Ares Charitable Foundation.

You can listen to the podcast here or wherever you get your podcasts.

Episode 284: Marci Alboher of CoGenerate and Janet Oh of CoGenerate
Host & Executive Producer: Ramona Schindelheim, Editor-in-Chief, WorkingNation
Producer: Larry Buhl
Executive Producers: Joan Lynch and Melissa Panzer
Theme Music: Composed by Lee Rosevere and licensed under CC by 4
Download the transcript for this podcast here.
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