Press Release

Six Intergenerational Award Recipients to be Honored at Generations United’s Global Intergenerational Conference

(Washington, DC) – Generations United is pleased to announce the honorees for their biennial awards program, to be presented at the 20th Global Intergenerational Conference on June 13, 2019. They are: Silver Kite Community Arts (Intergenerational Innovation Award), Gail Engel (Brookdale Foundation Grandfamilies Award), Dr. Ali Somers (Brabazon Award for Evaluation Research), 60 Minutes (Excellence in Media Award), Eisner Foundation (Leadership Award), and Senator Ron Wyden (Jack Ossofsky Award for Lifetime Achievement in Support of Children, Youth, and Older Adults).

“We congratulate these individuals and organizations on their contributions to the intergenerational field,” said Donna Butts, executive director of Generations United. “Their efforts to build bridges across generations result in stronger communities and families that value people at all ages and stages of life.”

The Intergenerational Innovation Award honors an intergenerational team, organization, or community group that uses innovative intergenerational approaches to create solutions for all ages.

This year’s recipient, Silver Kite Community Arts, has an Intergenerational Theatre Company that hires actors ranging in age, race, gender, and experience to create an original theatre piece that shares their personal stories. The performance tours schools, community centers, and retirement communities. The performances are transformative and start conversations in the audience.

The Brookdale Foundation Grandfamilies Award honors a relative caregiver or person raised in a grandfamily, a professional, or an organization that made an outstanding contribution to the field of grandparents and other relatives raising children.

When Gail Engel found herself in the position of having to raise her own grandchild, she immediately recognized the lack of information and support available. She retired from her bookkeeping business after 27 years to advocate for the safety, education, and well-being of children and those who take on the job of raising kin. She soon established the Grand Family Coalition (GFC) to help other grandfamilies like hers navigate the complex systems and get the support they need.  GFC is now one of the most relied on and respected resources in Northern Colorado for resident grandfamilies and dozens of other service providers and lawmakers, locally, statewide, and on the national level.

The Leadership Award for Outstanding Support of Intergenerational Programs honors a funder whose support has led to significant advances in the intergenerational field.

The Eisner Foundation identifies, advocates for, and invests in high-quality and innovative programs that unite multiple generations for the betterment of communities. The Eisner Foundation was started in 1996 by Michael D. Eisner, then Chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company, and his wife, Jane, to focus their family’s philanthropic activities. The Eisner Foundation gives an estimated $7 million per year to nonprofit organizations based in Los Angeles County. In 2015, The Eisner Foundation became the only U.S. funder investing exclusively in intergenerational solutions.

The Excellence in Media Award honors a member of the media who has made an outstanding contribution to promoting understanding and positive interaction among all generations, and to protecting the social compact.

Through their coverage of grandfamilies impacted by the opioid crisis, 60 Minutes’ segment put pressure on our leaders and resulted in a heightened awareness, interest, and concern about grandfamilies from Congressional staff with whom we work. As a result, Congress passed the Supporting Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Act.

The Jack Ossofsky Award for Lifetime Achievement in Support of Children, Youth and Older Adults honors the lifetime achievements of an individual whose efforts benefit both the young and the old. It is a lasting tribute to Jack Ossofsky, who was executive director of the National Council on the Aging, and one of the co-founders and early leaders of Generations United.

This year’s recipient is Senator Ron Wyden. As a young leader, he founded the Oregon Chapter of the Gray Panthers, an advocacy group that confronted ageism and other social justice issues. His experience with the group gave him an opportunity to hear first-hand stories from grandfamilies about the challenges they faced to keep their grandchildren out of foster care. Those stories drove Sen. Wyden to work across party lines to fight for children, youth and older adults. He sponsored legislation on issues ranging from expanding Child Nutrition Programs to improving the quality of nursing homes.  As a ranking member of the Finance Committee he introduced the bipartisan Family First Prevention Services Act.

The Brabazon Award for Evaluation Research honors a researcher or team of researchers whose outstanding work has advanced the understanding of intergenerational programming.

Dr. Ali Somers, co-founder of Apples and Honey Nightingale CIC, is an expert in social impact research. Ali has a 20-year career in the field of social entrepreneurship as a researcher, academic lecturer, policy advisor, and campaigner. Ali set up the MA in Social Entrepreneurship at Goldsmiths College, University of London in 2010. She continues to contribute as an Associate Lecturer.

About Generations United: For three decades, Generations United’s mission has been to improve the lives of children, youth and older adults through intergenerational collaboration, public policies and programs for the enduring benefit of all. We have been the catalyst for policies and practices stimulating cooperation and collaboration among generations, evoking the vibrancy, energy and sheer productivity that result when people of all ages come together.  We believe that we can only be successful in the face of our complex future if generational diversity is regarded as a national asset and fully leveraged.