The Eisner Foundation Sponsors The Purpose Prize® for Intergenerational Impact: $25,000 Award to Pamela Cantor, M.D., founder of Turnaround for Children

Share Article

The Purpose Prize, a program of, recognizes and rewards the achievements of social innovators over 60. The Eisner Foundation is the sponsor of Dr. Cantor’s $25,000 award.

On October 28, 2014, Dr. Pamela Cantor, Founder, President and CEO of Turnaround for Children, Inc., will be named the 2014 winner of The Purpose Prize® for Intergenerational Impact, sponsored by The Eisner Foundation. The Purpose Prize, a program of, recognizes and rewards the achievements of social innovators over 60. The Eisner Foundation is the sponsor of Dr. Cantor’s $25,000 award.

The Purpose Prize for Intergenerational Impact, sponsored by The Eisner Foundation, honors an outstanding individual working to improve the prospects of young people. Dr. Pamela Cantor, the 2014 winner of The Purpose Prize for Intergenerational Impact, created Turnaround for Children, a nonprofit organization that helps schools counter the effects of poverty on student learning which has reached tens of thousands of children and teachers in 86 low-performing public schools since 2002.

“I came to realize that the impact of traumatic stress on children’s development is profound, with enormous implications for learning and growth,” said Dr. Cantor. “These children don’t leave the circumstances of their upbringing at the schoolhouse door. The trauma and stress come right into the classroom, and can directly impact student learning and achievement.”

“I believe education is the most essential tool to lift people out of poverty,” Cantor added. “I have rededicated my career and my life to this goal — to give every child the opportunity to know what it means to have a full and successful life.”

“The Eisner Foundation is proud to partner with by sponsoring the Purpose Prize for Intergenerational Impact,” said Trent Stamp, executive director of The Eisner Foundation. “This partnership allows us to continue to identify and reward those individuals and organizations that demonstrate excellence in uniting multiple generations while sharing their passion and experience for social good, just as Dr. Cantor has done with Turnaround for Children.”

“We are grateful for the vision and generosity of The Eisner Foundation in partnering with and The Purpose Prize. With its generous support, The Eisner Foundation continues to define itself as a leader in support of programs that bridge generations and support young people. We look forward to working with The Eisner Foundation to recognize the substantial, durable impact of Dr. Cantor’s encore,” said Eunice Lin Nichols, director of The Purpose Prize, created by

Dr. Cantor and additional winners of The Purpose Prize will be honored on October 28, 2014, at an awards ceremony at the Tempe Center for the Arts in Tempe, Arizona. Trent Stamp, executive director of The Eisner Foundation, will be on hand to present Cantor’s award. Emmy-award winning journalist Jane Pauley and 2013 Purpose Prize winner Ysabel Duron will emcee the event, which will include hundreds of encore leaders and current and prior Purpose Prize honorees.

Twenty-four jurors — leaders in business, politics, media and the nonprofit sector — chose the six winners of The Purpose Prize. An additional 38 Purpose Prize fellows were selected from a pool of nearly 800 nominees. Jurors include Sherry Lansing, former CEO of Paramount; David Bornstein, author and New York Times columnist; Eric Liu, author and founder of Citizen University; and Sree Sreenivasan, Chief Digital Officer for the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

The Purpose Prize was created in 2005 by, formerly Civic Ventures, with major investments from The Atlantic Philanthropies and the John Templeton Foundation. Since 2005, more than 430 people have been recognized as Purpose Prize winners or fellows.

For more information about The Purpose Prize and to nominate candidates for the 2015 Purpose Prize, visit


About The Eisner Foundation. Founded in 1996 by Michael and Jane Eisner and their family, The Eisner Foundation exists to provide access and opportunity for children and the aging in Los Angeles County. The Foundation gives philanthropic support and counsel to exceptionally-run nonprofit organizations working to create lasting positive changes in the lives of at-risk and disadvantaged seniors and children in the Los Angeles community.

About The Atlantic Philanthropies. The Atlantic Philanthropies are dedicated to bringing about lasting changes in the lives of disadvantaged and vulnerable people. Atlantic is a limited-life foundation that will complete grantmaking in late 2016. To learn more, please visit

About the John Templeton Foundation. The John Templeton Foundation ( serves as a philanthropic catalyst for discoveries relating to the Big Questions of human purpose and ultimate reality. The Foundation supports research on subjects ranging from complexity, evolution, and infinity to creativity, forgiveness, love, and free will. It encourages civil, informed dialogue among scientists, philosophers, and theologians and between such experts and the public at large, for the purposes of definitional clarity and new insights.

About is a national nonprofit that is building a movement to tap the skills and experience of those in midlife and beyond to improve communities and the world. The Purpose Prize is a program of

About Pamela Cantor, M.D. Not long after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, child psychiatrist and trauma specialist Dr. Pamela Cantor, then 53, received a call from the New York City Board of Education asking her to lead a team to assess the emotional impact of the attacks on the city’s public schoolchildren. What she discovered surprised her. One in five children met the criteria for a full-blown psychiatric disorder, and 68 percent were so traumatized that it affected their ability to learn. But it wasn’t 9/11 that traumatized them. It was poverty. The children were concentrated in high-poverty, low-performing schools. The students’ profound needs impacted their classroom behavior, causing students to be distracted, tuned out, nervous, impulsive and distrustful. So in 2002, Cantor founded the nonprofit Turnaround for Children. The organization partners with public schools to address the recurring, predictable obstacles to teaching and learning that stem from the stress of poverty. At Turnaround partner schools, all of the adults — including administrators and social workers — are supported by a Turnaround team, composed of a social work consultant, instructional coach and program director. This team builds a high capacity student support system, trains all teachers to create safe, supportive, productive classrooms through strategies that defuse disruption and increase engagement, and prepares leaders to develop and execute a school-wide improvement plan. Since 2002, 86 high-poverty schools serving tens of thousands of students have participated; today, 90 percent of children with intense behavioral needs now receive timely mental health support, compared with 20 percent in typical high-poverty schools. Schools have seen significant reduction in suspensions, serious behavior incidents and absenteeism. “It has taken courage for me to create an organization of this size and scale," said Dr. Cantor. “There is no way I could have done this at an earlier point. Everything I have done in life has led to this.”

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Marci Alboher
+1 (917) 443-0182
Email >
Visit website