kent county

IT’S GO TIME!

We are poised to take advantage of the unprecedented human resource windfall of the Baby Boomer and beyond generation.
 

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TOM

Grand Rapids Community Foundation’s Encore Innovation Fellows Tom Rademacher is seeking out stories about people doing great work in their Encore years. He's one of Grand Rapids more well-known writers and storytellers.
 

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encore innovation fellow

MARY McLOUGHLIN

“Encore is a movement of millions of people who are using their passions, skills and decades of experience to make a difference in our communities and the world.”
 

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second acts for a greater

GRAND RAPIDS

“Our society is shifting to a new place where people of a broad age range are blending together in fresh and exciting ways. I can only hope for more of this in Grand Rapids!”

Jane Royer, Encore Innovation Fellow

 

Our Stories

ABOUT ENCORE

Encore is a burgeoning national movement created to tap the skills and experience of those in midlife and beyond to improve communities and the world. Encore sets out to define this new stage of life. An Encore can combine work, service and social impact.

Grand Rapids Community Foundation’s Encore is leading the way in Kent County by seeking to inspire individuals in their 50s and beyond to engage in meaningful work and service that makes a difference. In addition, we seek to challenge organizations in our community to pave the way and increase their capacity for experienced talent by identifying innovative pathways and opportunities for service.

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INSPIRING INNOVATION

We’ll identify our community’s best practices. How can we build on the collaborative successes that already exist and leverage them for an even greater impact? Let’s work together to determine new and existing opportunities that contribute to the community good and create a better future for the generations to come.

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BUILDING CAPACITY

We’ll find connections—those paid and unpaid opportunities in which the talents and experience of people in midlife and beyond can flourish. We will serve as a hub and a resource for leaders of profit and nonprofit organizations that share the Encore vision.

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RAISING AWARENESS

We want to make sure everybody knows about the vast population of people that are active and healthy with extensive skill, knowledge and life experience. We’ll tell their personal stories here. These stories challenge conventional thinking about aging and begin a new narrative that speaks to individual renewal and social impact.

OUR STORIES

Click on any of the images to view an Encore story.

Jeff Neumann

A Life Lesson on Taking Stock and Leaving the Grind Behind for Something You Love

Susan Shannon

After Too Early a Retirement, This Encore Chose a Second Act to Help Children in Crisis

Rosa Fraga

Called to Teach, Lead and Inspire

Deacon Richard Pitt

Trading Corporate Accounting for Ministering to Prisons, Grand Rapids Heartside Community and a Remote Mexican Village

Bill Barkeley

Both Deaf and Blind, this Encore Star Ran the Boston Marathon and Climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro

Robert and Jean Blossfield

At 84 and 88, They're Just Too Busy for Vacations

GET INVOLVED

Let’s start a community conversation about life after traditional retirement! We want to help shape this new life stage that offers the freedom to work differently and contribute in new ways. We strive to link the individuals and organizations in networks and communities throughout Kent County that support and sustain continuous learning and improvement.

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FOR INDIVIDUALS

You are a vital source of talent that can benefit our community! However you choose to ‘Encore’, there are opportunities across Kent County. We will highlight resources here to aid you in realizing and claiming your own Encore. Did you know that if only five percent of today’s population chose encore service, Kent County could gain up to 80,000 person-years of benefit?

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FOR ORGANIZATIONS

Community institutions in the public, nonprofit and private sectors can contribute so much to our collective understanding of how to harness this unique workforce and offer opportunities for service. We have so many challenges in our education and healthcare systems, in our environment, government and on our streets. Is your organization ‘Encore-friendly’ and interested in building capacity?

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TELL YOUR STORY

Please share your insights, ideas and experiences with us. The power of personal stories is profound—they give issues a human face and demonstrate what we can accomplish together. What purpose drives your future? We know these conversations are already happening in coffee houses, brew pubs, chamber meetings, churches, Kiwanis and Rotary clubs all around our community. How are you sharing your talent, skill and time?

UPCOMING EVENTS

FEB 18

Life Reimagined CheckupHeart of West Michigan United Way, 118 Commerce Ave. SW, Grand Rapids

We all ask ourselves, "What's next?" Now there's a new experience to help you figure it out. Introducing Life Reimagined Checkup, a free two-hour experience to help you get inspired about your possibilities:

  • Gain insight into where you are in life and where you want to go
  • Discover new methods and practical tools to help plan your next move
  • Connect with a Life Reimagined Guide and people in your community who can support you along the way

Date and Time: February 18, 2016, from 6:00p.m. - 8:00p.m.

Location:  Heart of West Michigan United Way, 118 Commerce Ave. SW, GR

Other Details: Parking is free in the side lot; you'll be clicked in when you arrive. Snacks and beverages will be available.

Contact:  Jennifer (Feuerstein) Muñoz at jfeuerstein@aarp.org

 

FEB 26

Life Reimagined Checkup

We all ask ourselves, "What's next?" Now there's a new experience to help you figure it out. Introducing Life Reimagined Checkup, a free experience to help you get inspired about your possibilities:

  • Gain insight into where you are in life and where you want to go
  • Discover new methods and practical tools to help plan your next move
  • Connect with a Life Reimagined Guide and people in your community who can support you along the way

Date and Time: February 25, 2016, from 6:00p.m. - 8:00 p.m.

Location:  Wyoming Senior Center, 2380 DeHoop SW, Wyoming, MI.

Contact:  Jennifer (Feuerstein) Muñoz at jfeuerstein@aarp.org

 

MAR 09

Social Innovation & Creative PlacemakingLoosemore Auditorium GVSU

As part of the Johnson Center for Philanthropy's Strategic Leadership Series, Richard Evans will combine and build on two ideas: social innovation and creative placemaking. Come learn new structures emphasizing innovation and adaptive change for social good. 

Time: 4:00-6:00 p.m. 

Cost: $45 series pass. Includes admission to four presentations from December through May. Tickets to individual events may be purchased for $15 each.

Learn more and register here

These stories challenge conventional thinking about aging and begin a new narrative that speaks to individual renewal and social impact.

CONTACT US

We want to raise the visibility of individuals and organizations taking innovative approaches to achieving the Encore vision in our community. How are you realizing your Encore vision?

Mary T. McLoughlin

Encore Innovation Fellow

616.698.0748

Tom Rademacher

Encore Innovation Fellow

616.460.2155

Jane Royer

Encore Innovation Fellow

616.617.7327

Tera Wozniak Qualls

Encore Innovation Fellow

616.366.7875

RESOURCES

Encore.org

National Encore think tank.

Experience Corps

Put your experience to work helping students.

VolunteerMatch

Find opportunities for service.

Heart of West Michigan United Way Volunteer Center

Find opportunities for service.

Life Reimagined

What’s next for you?

Encore Career Handbook

Explore your Encore potential!