Baby Boomers Want To Create Social Change: Study

It's not just idealistic 20-somethings working toward social change anymore; it's also idealistic 60-somethings.

A recent study shows that approximately one in four Americans between the ages of 44-70 are interested in starting their own small business or social venture.

The research, conducted by Civic Ventures, goes on to state that of this 25 percent of the age range, or 25 million people, more than one third have already begun their ventures, while more than half are planning to start within the next 5-10 years.

Still, with a down economy many of these baby boomers aren’t comfortable with their own economic status, meaning “about half (52 percent) [have delayed] launching their ventures because they do not feel secure enough financially right now.”

That isn’t the case for Nancy Sanford Hughes, a 2011 recipient of Encore’s Purpose Prize, an achievement reserved for those making social change. Those making social change -- and are over 60 -- that is.

Hughes, who had lived most of her life as a stay-at-home mom, found refuge in service after her husband’s death. She began StoveTeam International, and organization that manufactures safer stoves for third world countries, which in turn prevents hundreds of deaths and burns each year.

Today, there are factories in several third world countries, with consistently updated technology and safer cooling features for the stoves.

Of course, Hughes isn’t the only baby boomer making change. The report also states that “nearly six in 10 (58 percent) say the current economic crisis makes them more likely to start their own businesses or nonprofit ventures.”

“In a sea of bad economic news, it’s heartening that millions of people with experience want to take matters in their own hands and launch their own ventures to meet social needs in their communities,” said Marc Freedman, founder and CEO of Civic Ventures and author of The Big Shift: Navigating the New Stage Beyond Midlife.

And as the largest generation America has seen, taking matters into their own hands could create huge social change.