What is your organization’s mission?

Changing the Narrative is the leading effort in the U.S. to change the way people think, talk, and act about aging and ageism through evidence-based strategies, strategic communications, and innovative public campaigns. Our mission? To end ageism.

Our strategies fall within the World Health Organization’s strategies to reduce ageism: Policy and Law; Educational Interventions; Intergenerational Contact Interventions.

What we do:

  • Policy research and advocacy;
  • Community education and organizing, on ageism, reframing aging, age-friendly healthcare, the business case for older workers and intergenerational teams, and strategies for jobseekers age 50+;
  • Narrative change communications, including earned and social media;
  • Intergenerational connection and education.

We also sponsor specialized campaigns to increase awareness of ageism and what can be done to combat it, e.g., an anti-ageist birthday card campaign, and book club events.

What are you most excited about regarding your organization’s programming this year? How will it shape your community or organization or both?

We’re always excited about new ways to introduce people to the topic of ageism, and to help people understand how together, we can end it. Some things that we’re especially excited about:

  • Monthly coffee chats to bring together people who care about ageism and who want to identify ways to solve it.
  • A Becca Levy Book Club Campaign. We believe that Dr. Levy’s book, Breaking the Age Code, provides powerful and persuasive evidence of why it’s in all of our interests to end ageism. Based on the conversations we’ve had with Dr. Levy, and the ensuing book club discussions that we’ve hosted, we’ve created a downloadable toolkit so that anyone, anywhere can host their own.
  • On the Same Page Intergenerational Conversations. Intergenerational connection and education has been found to be an effective way to reduce ageism and we’ve created a toolkit so that people can host their own, based on over 100 conversations that we’ve hosted.
  • Our age-friendly healthcare campaign encourages current and aspiring healthcare professionals to adopt more age-friendly practices and teaches older adults how to advocate for ourselves.
  • Our age-friendly workplace initiative provides employer education on the business case for older workers and intergenerational teams, trains organizations helping older adults to find employment how to make the business case and offers workshops on strategies for jobseekers age 50+.
  • All of our policy advocacy to strengthen age discrimination laws and to ensure that public and private workforce development dollars are used to ensure that all of us can fully participate in the workplace as we get older.

What is one special aspect, element, or hidden “talent” that you want our members to know about your organization?

The civil rights leader Grace Lee Boggs said it best: “We are the leaders we’ve been waiting for.” At Changing the Narrative, we believe that community members will end ageism. It takes all of us, and community education and organizing are at the heart of all of our work. We create practical, usable tools that people can start using the next day to address ageism wherever and whenever they face it.