Sponsored by John Templeton Foundation and the Atlantic Philanthropies, the Purpose Prize is awarded by Encore.org, which is a non-profit organization that works to engage the millions of baby boomers who are considering retirement to select an encore career, one that improves the lives of others. The annual prize recognizes the accomplishments of five people, over the age of 60, who are making a difference in the community. Each receives $100,000 to either accept as compensation or donate the funds to a non-profit charity.
On Dec. 5, 2012 it was announced that Lorraine Decker received the Encore organization’s 2012 Purpose Prize of $100,000 for helping low-income adults and teens acquire the financial, career and life skills needed to transform their lives and prosper, through free workshops. Lorraine and Ken Decker are donating the Purpose Prize to Financial Mentors of America to nationally expand the Game of Real Life.
“The growth of the Game of Real Life is extremely important to me for 100,000 reasons. First and foremost is we have economically disadvantaged teens, living in the shadows of our business skyline, who have no idea about the American Dream and the opportunity they have to make a difference in the world. The human capital cost is staggering, as will be the cost to our economy. As a community, we need to act.” said Lorraine.
The Game of Real Life is an innovative, engaging, highly effective financial / economics education, career assessment / discovery and college selection / funding course. The program challenges economically disadvantage youth to develop internal motivation to change their lives, increase their academic performance, graduate from high school and attend college.
Lorraine receives the award on Feb. 11, 2013 at Golden Gate Club, Presidio of San Francisco. The ceremony also honors
- Bhagwati Agrawal who brings safe drinking water – rain from rooftops – to thousands of villagers in his native India, using his engineering expertise.
- Susan Burton who gives female parolees tools for rebuilding their lives after prison – housing, legal services, job training and more – and advocates nationally for such support.
- Judy Cockteron for helping people enrich the lives of foster care kids, through innovative programs.
- Thomas Cox who uncovered massive fraud among mortgage lenders, leading to a $25 billion settlement – represents in court low-income homeowners facing foreclosure.Lorraine’s award acceptance remarks:
I’d like to tell a story that illustrates the impact of The Game of Real Life. We were conducting classes at a title I public high school, where all of our students receive free or reduced lunch. At the beginning of the class I took aside three students and asked, “What type of job would you like to have?” One girl said, “I want to be an assassin.” Yes, I said assassin. I paused and said, “That’s interesting. Why?” and she said,“My grandfather and father are assassins with the Knights Templar.”.. I replied – “That’s fantastic, but I want you to hold open the possibility that in the Game of Real Life you will discover your passions, and the careers that will allow for you to love your work.” I went home and Googled Knights Templar and learned they are a very active Mexican drug gang. That was in September.
In December, I visited the class and asked to see the same three kids. I asked if they had changed their minds about their careers. The girl who wanted to be an assassin replied, “I have decided to be a fashion magazine designer.” As I choked back the tears, I said “That’s fantastic but hold open the possibility that as you continue with the Game of Real Life you will discover something you love even more.”
I see kids condemned to poverty because they simply do not know what is possible. And when they try for the possible, they have no idea how to make it happen. The Game of Real Life allows them to step into the future, see what they can become, and put together a strategy for making it happen and be a fighter for the future. With the Purpose Prize and with people interested in transforming the lives of economically disadvantaged teens we are expanding the Game nationally and scaling it from middle school to high school to university students.
And we thank you for helping make this happen.