GRAND Magazine - September/October 2019 - 13
The magic behind Generations United Some GRAND comments
BY ALAN KING
about Donna Butts
n a controversial journal cover, a young person and an older person, dressed in battle
fatigues, stood back to back. They each had a gun. The accompanying message: "March 10
paces, turn and shoot. Whichever generation is left, gets our country's scarce resources." That
was in the mid-80s.
The cover image and message were signs of underlying fear that we were in a zero-sum
game, a struggle for resources between older and younger generations: in a time of budget
crisis, do we fund Social Security and Medicare for Americans over 65 or do we address youth
unemployment and fund education?
That zero-sum framework sets up a false conflict between keeping promises from the past
and making investments in the future in the bookend generations that hold our civil society
That understanding - along with the journal cover - prompted leaders from the National
Council on Aging (NCOA), the Child Welfare League of America (CWLA), AARP, and the
Children's Defense Fund to come together and found Generations United in 1986.
"We formed Generations United to argue for a caring society," said Jack Ossofsky former
president of NCOA. "We believe that the time is long past when advocates for children, families, and the elderly can afford separate agendas. We foresee a new and brighter America when [youth and aging] organizations ...can join forces to strengthen our communities. That is exactly what Generations United intends to do."
The organization started as a loose knit coalition. Ten years later, the founders sought an Executive Director to lead the
newly incorporated nonprofit.
CWLA's then Executive Director David Liederman told Donna Butts as much during a discussion over 20 years ago.
At the time, she thought about her career - her work primarily with teens and her leadership roles
at Covenant House, the National 4-H Council, and the YWCA.
"What drew me to Generations United was something that happened early in my career when I
was in my twenties and in my home state of Oregon," Donna recounted.
At 23, she was the teen director of the YWCA in Salem, Oregon.
BY JACK LEVINE
Click here to continue reading
Donna Butts personifies the passion and persuasion needed to influence others to pay attention and take action for all ages and stages of life.
She's a Pied Piper for gathering us on a mission to
make our lives better...her music is mesmerizing.
Donna strives to give families and communities
the benefit of emotional connectedness. As the
leading advocate in our field, she shines a bright
light to illuminate the path for developing policies
and creating innovative programs which give all of
us hope for the future.
Having Donna as an advocacy partner elevates
the debate over social policy to its highest level.
She uses compelling demographic data to give
proof to the case for uniting our voices for mutual
respect across the generations.
Thanks to her leadership, Generations United
is not just another organization...it's a powerful
force for the movement to build bridges of respect
among all community members irrespective of
age, ethnicity, economic class or political leanings.
Alan King is communications specialist
at Generations United
GRAND Magazine - September/October 2019
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of GRAND Magazine - September/October 2019
GRAND Magazine - September/October 2019 - 1
GRAND Magazine - September/October 2019 - 2
GRAND Magazine - September/October 2019 - 3
GRAND Magazine - September/October 2019 - Contents
GRAND Magazine - September/October 2019 - 5
GRAND Magazine - September/October 2019 - 6
GRAND Magazine - September/October 2019 - 7
GRAND Magazine - September/October 2019 - 8
GRAND Magazine - September/October 2019 - 9
GRAND Magazine - September/October 2019 - 10
GRAND Magazine - September/October 2019 - 11
GRAND Magazine - September/October 2019 - 12
GRAND Magazine - September/October 2019 - 13
GRAND Magazine - September/October 2019 - 14
GRAND Magazine - September/October 2019 - 15
GRAND Magazine - September/October 2019 - 16
GRAND Magazine - September/October 2019 - 17
GRAND Magazine - September/October 2019 - 18
GRAND Magazine - September/October 2019 - 19
GRAND Magazine - September/October 2019 - 20
GRAND Magazine - September/October 2019 - 21
GRAND Magazine - September/October 2019 - 22
GRAND Magazine - September/October 2019 - 23
GRAND Magazine - September/October 2019 - 24
GRAND Magazine - September/October 2019 - 25
GRAND Magazine - September/October 2019 - 26
GRAND Magazine - September/October 2019 - 27
GRAND Magazine - September/October 2019 - 28
GRAND Magazine - September/October 2019 - 29
GRAND Magazine - September/October 2019 - 30
GRAND Magazine - September/October 2019 - 31
GRAND Magazine - September/October 2019 - 32
GRAND Magazine - September/October 2019 - 33
GRAND Magazine - September/October 2019 - 34
GRAND Magazine - September/October 2019 - 35
GRAND Magazine - September/October 2019 - 36
GRAND Magazine - September/October 2019 - 37
GRAND Magazine - September/October 2019 - 38