(Re-)Engaging Boomers for Community Good

10 Nonprofits Awarded $5,000 Each to Create Encore Teams

People 50+ want to make a meaningful difference in the community, but lack the platform to do good work.Nonprofits make a meaningful difference, but lack the manpower to reach their full potential.  Link the two together and everyone wins.  That’s why Grand Rapids Community Foundation created Encore Teams.

The Community Foundation has launched a new and innovative funding program which provides $5,000 grants to nonprofits that have great ideas for tapping the skills of Encore Teams, which are small groups of community volunteers who are 50+.

The first round of Encore Team grants have been selected and $50,000 is being split among 10 local nonprofits. The projects were evaluated on their potential to help the nonprofit meet its mission, their creative approach to engage the 50+ population and their ability to meet the needs of Encore volunteers. 

“We received a terrific response from the nonprofit community and feel the projects we are funding will provide a wide array of opportunities for people to get involved in a very meaningful way,” said Kate Luckert Schmid, program director.

Encore Team grant winners include (click here for the complete list of grantees):

  • Catholic Charities West Michigan-God's Kitchen Bowl Room and Sales To create a business plan and begin implementing a bowl (hand painted by the community) sales program to increase bowl revenue from an existing revenue stream to support the mission of God’s Kitchen.
  • Comprehensive Therapy Center-Carefully Teaching Caregivers To develop an Encore Team to conduct parenting workshops for families with low incomes, teaching caregivers how to foster literacy skills and a love of reading in their young children at home.
  • Habitat for Humanity of Kent County-Habitat Ambassadors To train Habitat Ambassadors to go out into the community and explain Habitat's mission to civic organizations, churches or foundations for the purpose of recruiting volunteers, homebuyer partners and advocating for the homeless.
  • Safe Haven Ministries Inc-Equipping Businesses to Address Domestic Abuse To develop a small group of committed, energized individuals who can help Safe Haven create and implement an education program for local employers that will better equip them to appropriately address issues of domestic abuse among their employees, and ensure a safe, productive environment for their workforce.

With the support of this funding the Encore Team projects are expected to get underway immediately. The Community Foundation will monitor their success and make any necessary adjustments to the grantmaking program before accepting another round of grant applications later this year.  

About Encore TeamsAs part of its Encore portfolio, Grand Rapids Community Foundation is looking to create opportunities for people to use their unique skill sets, passions, and experience in their second half of life to better the community.  The Community Foundation has partnered with the Volunteer Center at the Heart of West Michigan United Way and the Johnson Center for Philanthropy at Grand Valley State University to bring Encore Teams to life. 

About EncoreGrand Rapids Community Foundation is leading efforts to prepare our community for the challenges and opportunities presented by the aging of the biggest generation of Americans ever.  Our multi-faceted approach includes convening stakeholders, research and learning through local and national partnerships, and strategic grantmaking.  To learn more about Encore visit www.grfoundation.org/encore.

For more information about Encore Teams, please contact Kate Luckert Schmid, program director with Grand Rapids Community Foundation at 616.454.1751 x117 or kluckert@grfoundation.org.

Grand Rapids Community Foundation leads Kent County in making positive, sustainable change. With its endowment, the Grand Rapids Community Foundation supports local nonprofits, leads significant social change and helps donors achieve their philanthropic goals. For more information, please visit www.grfoundation.org.