kent county


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

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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


“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


“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


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.



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.



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.



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.


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


Overcoming Illiteracy to Earn a College Degree

Linda Miller

Easing the Pain of Stillborn Births, One Teddy Bear at a Time

Jeanne Englehart

Retirement Just Never Seems to Happen with This Encore

Duane & Kaye Davis

This Encore Couple Exemplifies How "Music Can Bathe the Ugly"

Deborah Tacoma

A Devastating Car Accident and Faith In God Led to This Woman's Encore

Dorothy Munson

This Encore Is A Nurturing Force For Others


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.



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?



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?



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?


AUG 31

Grand Valley State University Course: Aging in SocietyGrand Valley State University

This course explores the explosive and profound impacts of population aging and the longevity revolution on individuals, communities and society. It covers critical challenges and controversies that revolve around the aging of society such as health care policies and services, housing and community design, income, workforce and retirement policies and programs serving the growing older adult population.

Students completing this course will be better prepared to address changes that will arise throughout their careers, deriving from the transformation of the age structure of society – whether it be in the public, private, nonprofit settings or in the government, business, healthcare sectors.

Offered FALL 2016.

Hybrid format - Wednesdays – Meets August 31, September 14, September 28, October 19, November 16, December 30; Meets at CHS 119; #22979

INSTRUCTOR:  Dr. Priscilla Kimboko, Professor, Health Administration & Gerontology

For more information: Contact Dr. Kimboko at: or 616-331-7265 (messages are checked frequently)

MHA and MPA students can register directly.  Course is OPEN to all interested graduate students.

SEP 09

Community Resource & Senior Volunteer FairGrand Rapids Public Museum


Friday, September 9, 9:30am to 12:00 noon

Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss will open the event by discussing the powerful impact of volunteerism.

Format is "open house" style with some 40 community organizations exhibiting and providing information on community resources and volunteer opportunities.

Free admission, free refreshments, free parking.

REGISTRATION REQUIRED: or (616) 222-7042

Please inlcude name, phone number and address in your message.

SEP 15

Lunch & Learn: Volunteer with a PuposeGrand Rapids Community Foundation

AARP Michigan invites you to learn more about what we’re doing in Grand Rapids and how you can find purpose in retirement.  Please join us as we share more about our volunteer opportunities and exciting member activities in West Michigan.  Come join the fun and enjoy a FREE lunch (yes, there really is such a thing as a free lunch). Thursday, September 15, 11:30am to 12:30pm.


RSVP: by Monday, September 12.

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


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


Tom Rademacher

Encore Innovation Fellow


Jane Royer

Encore Innovation Fellow


Tera Wozniak Qualls

Encore Innovation Fellow



Encore edition of Current 2016

Read all about Encore!

National Encore think tank.

Experience Corps

Put your experience to work helping students.


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!