Ep 106. Marc Freedman: The Power and Beauty of Intergenerational Connections
“Society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit it” Anonymous Greek Proverb
Marc Freedman is the President and CEO of Encore.org and is one of the nation’s leading experts on the longevity revolution. Under his leadership, Encore.org has helped spark a growing movement to tap the talent and experience of people past midlife as a human resource for solving our most vexing social problems.
He is also a member of the Wall Street Journal’s “Experts” panel and the author of several books including Encore: Finding Work that Matters in the Second Half of Life and The Big Shift: Navigating the New Stage Beyond Midlife. Freedman co-founded, with AARP, Experience Corps (now run by AARP) to mobilize people over 50 to improve the school performance and prospects of low-income elementary school students in 22 U.S. cities. He also spearheaded the creation of the Encore Fellowships program, a one-year internship for grownups helping individuals translate their midlife skills into second acts focused on social impact, and the Purpose Prize (now run by AARP), which has an annual $60,000 prize for social entrepreneurs in the second half of life. He received the 2018 Eisner Prize for Intergenerational Excellence, was named Social Entrepreneur of the Year by the World Economic Forum, and was recognized as one of the nation’s leading social entrepreneurs by Fast Company magazine three years in a row.
Marc and Stew talk about his latest book, How to Live Forever: The Enduring Power of Connecting the Generations. They explore how our society changed in the 20th century -- at the outset we were the most age-integrated, but at the end we were the most age-segregated -- and how this has had a negative impact on both the young and the old, the two loneliest groups. Freedman cites the Big Brothers and Big Sisters study which found that children need at least one adult who is “irrationally crazy” about them in order to thrive and what this implies for why we must connect the old and the young. Freedman describes the many ways in which we as a society are not adapting quickly enough to the fact of longer life spans that are leaving so many at mid-life without meaningful ways to contribute their accumulated skills and wisdom. He describes Encore.org’s innovative solutions to try to bring the generations together for the benefit of all.