Sunday, January 08, 2006

BUSINESS MODELS: Could journalism be sustained by volunteerism?

BUSINESS MODELS: Could journalism be sustained by volunteerism?
PUBLISHED: Dec. 12, 2005

Campaign urges baby boomers to volunteer

By Janet Kornblum, USA TODAY

WASHINGTON --As the first wave of baby boomers hits their 60s, theCorporation for National and Community Service is casting a wide net tourge these soon-to-be retirees to give back to their communities byvolunteering.
At the White House Conference on Aging here Monday, thegovernment-funded organization announced a multi-year public service adcampaign that launches in January with six months' worth of print, TV,radio and Internet ads.
Two other groups, the Harvard School of Public Health and thenon-profit Civic Ventures, also have announced initiatives aimedgetting boomers to volunteer.

Baby boomers — born between 1946 and 1964 — make up 28% of the U.S.population, and the oldest boomers begin turning 60 on Jan. 1. As ageneration, boomers are better educated and are expected to live longerthan any other generation, demographers say.

"We will find ourselves with more free time than we've had in ourlives," says Ken Dychtwald, a San Francisco market researcher andauthor known for his work on boomers, who spoke at the conference. "Butwhat will we do with our free time? What do we do with all that weknow, all that we've learned, all that we feel?"
The campaign is aimed at appealing to boomers who grew up in the age ofJohn F. Kennedy, who called their generation to service. The ads pointto a website,, which matches volunteers up with localopportunities.

"What goes around comes around," says volunteer Ray Wright, 52, ofDetroit, who is featured in the campaign. He works with Communities inSchools, which helps at-risk students, and says he was helped byseveral non-profits when he was younger.

"I think the purpose of mankind is to serve mankind. If you're notdoing that, you're not the answer. You're the problem," Wright says.

Many boomers who have had active careers will want to volunteer whenthey retire, says Jay Winsten, director of the Center for HealthCommunication at the Harvard School of Public Health, whose separatecampaign, also beginning Jan. 1, urging boomers to become mentors.

"I don't think it's a question of why boomers should do it," Winstensays. "They want to stay engaged. Volunteering gives them a way to keepan oar in and to be movers and shakers in a new way."
Harvard's program includes public service announcements, a contest withParade magazine to name the age range, from about 60 to 80, betweenretirement and old age, and a collaboration with Hollywood to useplotlines that involve boomer volunteerism.

People once retired at about 65, spent a few years playing golf,watching TV or traveling and then died, says Marc Freedman, CEO of SanFrancisco-based Civic Ventures, a non-profit organization that runsseveral programs aimed at using older Americans to help solve socialproblems.

Civic Ventures also is in the midst of a campaign aimed at encouragingboomers to volunteer. It will award five $100,000 "Purpose Prizes" forAmericans over 60 "who are using their life experience and creativityto transform our nation and defy expectations for the second half oflife." Nominations are being accepted through the end of February; moreinformation can be found at .

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