Harvard Kennedy School Professor Robert Putnam is this year’s recipient of the Generations United Jack Ossofsky Award for lifetime achievement in support of children, youth, and older adults.

Generations United has been a catalyst for policies and practices stimulating cooperation and collaboration among generations for almost 30 years.

Donna Butts, executive director of Generations United, said in a statement, “Throughout his career, Dr. Putnam has contributed thought-provoking ideas designed to weave the critical social compact that binds and strengthens intergenerational ties and builds stronger communities.”

The award honors the lifetime achievements of an individual whose efforts benefit both the young and the old. It is a lasting tribute to Jack Ossofsky, who was executive director of the National Council on the Aging, and one of the co-founders and early leaders of Generations United.

Robert D. Putnam is the Peter and Isabel Malkin Professor of Public Policy at Harvard, where he teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses. He is a distinguished political scientist best known for popularizing the concept of social capital – the collective value of our social networks – in his work Bowling Alone, which examined the decline of social capital in the United States and altered the course of social science in the fifteen years since its publication with its provocative insights. Earlier this year, Putnam published an acclaimed book titled Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis that explores issues of inequality of opportunity and the growing class gap among youth in the U.S.