Encore.org is a non-profit think tank that engages millions of baby boomers as a vital workforce for change throughout the USA.
Focus: Health, Employment, Ageing Geographic Area of Impact: USA
Model: Leveraged Non-Profit
Number of Direct Beneficiaries: 10,000 (2013)
Annual Budget: USD $5 million (2013)
Percentage Earned Revenue: 5%
By the year 2020, the US population over 65 will nearly double from 35 million seniors to nearly 70 million. Due to a combination of factors including longer lifespans, changing norms, and economic necessity, many seniors wish to be productive members of society even after they retire from their traditional career. An estimated 9 million baby boomers are already pursuing second careers with meaning (both volunteer and paid work), and an estimated 31 million more are interested in engaging in meaningful work during their ‘golden years’ yet cite multiple barriers to doing so, including inexistent pathways to career transition, few role models, unreceptive organizations, and personal expense.
Innovation and Activities
Encore.org aims to create a human capital revolution by making “encore careers” – second acts for the greater good – a new social norm. In so doing they aim to transform the fundamental challenge of an ageing society into an opportunity by enabling individuals over 50 to remain productive members of society and by doing so opening up a new pool of skilled labor directed towards our greatest social and environmental challenges.
Encore.org’s key strategies to achieve this objective include:
1. Identifying role models and telling stories of how retirees made the transition into encore careers.
Among several initiatives The Purpose Prize is most well-known. Since its inception in 2006, the Purpose Prize has generated 1.8 billion media impressions and more than 7,500 nominations of social entrepreneurs over 60, producing close to 400 winners and fellows. Each year winners receive $100,000 to advance their work.
2. Providing direct services to companies so they can help retirement-age workers make the transition to an encore career. Operating in 15 states, the Encore Fellowships Network places and provides stipends for recent retirees in one-year fellowships in non-profit organizations. In 2011 Intel launched a company-wide policy to support any retirement-eligible employee placed in an Encore Fellowship, and many other companies such as HP, Goldman Sachs, and Cisco are scaling pilot versions.
3. Developing expedited pathways for individuals of modest means to move into their encore career working with groups like the American Association of Community Colleges and others. With Encore.org’s assistance, for example, 40 community colleges piloted efforts retraining adults 50 and over for specific roles in education, health care, social services and green construction—an effort being scaled through the national network of community colleges.
Marc Freedman is CEO and founder of Encore.org (formerly Civic Ventures). He spearheaded the creation
of Experience Corps (now AARP Experience Corps), mobilizing Americans over 55 to improve the education of low-income children, and The Purpose Prize, an annual $100,000 award for social innovators in the second half of life. He is a Skoll Awardee and an Ashoka Senior Fellow, and a member of the Wall Street Journal’s group, “The Experts”.
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