The conference, “Pass it On: Mobilizing Encore Talent to Transform the Prospects of Vulnerable Children and Youth,” was sponsored by the Stanford Center on Longevity, the David & Lucile Packard Foundation, and Encore.org and was held at the Bechtel Conference Center at Stanford University on June 24 and 25, 2014.
The “launch conference” model, as developed by the Stanford Center on Longevity, is different from a traditional academic meeting: instead of focusing on what experts have learned and know as a means of sharing scholarship, a launch conference is a means of identifying new opportunities for advances in scholarship, policy, and practice, by focusing on what experts don’t know and should learn, and how. Launch conferences consist of directed discussions based on clear and results-oriented agendas. The goal is to address key questions that lead to consensus-building and concrete next steps.
The goal of the Pass It On conference was to explore what must be accomplished to establish new norms in American culture, so more people in the second half of life will choose, and be able, to invest in future generations and increase cooperation among generations. In particular, the conference sought to identify institutional and policy innovations that could enable more older Americans to employ their time, talent, and experience to help improve the education and development of America’s most vulnerable children and youth.
The focus was education- and learning-related services, from pre-K through college readiness and access programs. The discussion sought to better understand the state of the field—including the current cultural norms that influence many older Americans’ awareness of and inclination to engage in generative activities; the needs of vulnerable children and youth; the organizations that are helping meet those needs; needs that are not being met; and how human capital can help meet all of those needs.