Former TechTown leader Randal Charlton wins $100,000 prize from Civic Ventures for startup

Posted on November 3, 2011

San Francisco-based Civic Ventures has awarded one of five 2011 “Purpose Prizes” and $100,000 to newly retired TechTown Executive Director Randal Charlton.

Civic is recognizing Charlton, 71, for his work revitalizing Detroit’s economy at TechTown and for his newest venture: leading the spinoff of TechTown’s “Boom! The New Economy” program, which provides training, one-on-one mentoring and internships to people over 50 who are exploring second careers.

Charlton, who retired as executive director of TechTown on Monday , is one of five social entrepreneurs over the age of 60 who have been honored with the awards for using their experience and passion to make an extraordinary impact on some of society’s biggest challenges.

Charlton, who could not immediately be reached, is reportedly reinvesting his prize money into the offshoot program on boomers at TechTown in hopes of leveraging additional investment, said Elysha Rom-Povolo, senior account executive with the New York City-based public relations agency Fenton, speaking on behalf of Civic Ventures.

“He could go on a cruise if he wanted to with the money, but his plan is to use the money to seed other foundations investing in the program,” Rom-Povolo said. “I know he has some interest from AARP.”

Civic Ventures, a nonprofit think tank on baby boomers, work and social purpose, is also awarding 2011 Purpose Prizes to honorees working to fight climate change, help immigrants and improve the lives of orphans, women and children in China and Latin America.

The winners, chosen from 1,000 nominees, will be honored at a ceremony Dec. 1 in Sausalito, Calif.