Encore Boston Network

What is Encore Boston Network?

In Boston, more than 50 organizations, leaders and specialists from various sectors have come together to advance the encore movement. The mission of Encore Boston Network is to strengthen communities in greater Boston and Eastern Massachusetts by engaging the talents of people in the second half of life. We envision a community in which people of all ages give and get the help they need.

Who is part of Encore Boston Network?

How did Encore Boston Network get started?

The impetus for this network came during an Encore.org conference in late 2011, when a number of encore leaders from Boston realized they had each traveled 2,700 miles to meet in San Francisco, but had never convened as a group at home. Within a month, the group did meet in Boston and began immediately to discuss  who else should be at the table, what could be achieved by working together and how to get organized for action.

We formed a steering committee and held additional meetings to agree on a mission and set priorities. A launch event introduced the encore idea and the network to a cross-section of community leaders and our journey began.

Why is Encore Boston Network needed?

The social challenges facing greater Boston, as for the nation as a whole, are growing at a pace that outstrips our ability to address them, if we use the same approaches that have served us in the past. But Encore Boston Network sees a solution that remains hidden for many: the half-million people in the Boston area, of or near traditional retirement age, who want to use their well-honed skills and life experience to make a difference.

That said, more talent exists than we currently have opportunities to offer  and greater social need exists than we have programs in place to address. Finding ways to balance the equation between this supply of resources and demand defined by urgent social needs, and to create the pathways that connect the two, is at the heart of our mission.

What draws members to Encore Boston Network?

Participation in the network enables encore leaders to step back and view their work through a wider lens. Understanding the links between individual programs, initiatives and activities reveals opportunities to learn, collaborate and share. It also reveals gaps, needs and ways to grow.

The network allows members to take advantage of collective identity. Connecting the dots gives target audiences  encore talent, nonprofits and others  a clearer picture of the range of local encore opportunities. With the force of its membership, the network can speak with a louder voice, demonstrate broader impact and raise the profile of each contributing member.

As a result,  Encore Boston Network can loom larger than the sum of its individual parts. And combining the strengths and expertise of network members creates a platform for new initiatives that can accelerate adoption of the encore idea. This kind of leverage depends on collective effort.

What events does Encore Boston Network hold?

One goal of the network is to create a forum for exchange of information, learning and collaboration. Events held or co-sponsored by Encore Boston Network have featured these kinds of presenters and topics:

  • Labor economist Barry Bluestone, director of the Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy at Northeastern University, making the case for encores based on demographic, workforce and social trends.
  • A panel highlighting community-wide challenges and opportunities for growth of the encore movement in Boston, based on the work of four Encore Boston Network teams focused on awareness, encore talent, pathways and work opportunities.
  • An Encore Town Hall, featuring Encore.org VP Marci Alboher, author of The Encore Career Handbook, and a panel of encore workers, interviewed by Plan B Nation blogger Amy Gutman.
  • An Encore Showcase, featuring 12 Encore Boston Network member organizations recruiting encore talent to fill specific work opportunities. This was part of the Encore Town Hall to promote The Encore Career Handbook.
  • Market researcher Anne Manning, an Encore.org Innovation Fellow, describing her work in identifying the conditions needed for the network and its members to make headway in recruiting nonprofits to the encore idea.
  • Nonprofit recruiter Laura Gassner Otting offering tips and best practices for transferring skills and experience from private-sector roles to the social-purpose sector.
  • Networking sessions that enable members to connect more closely, learn from one another, identify areas of common interest and plan for follow-up activity.

What is Encore Boston Network working on?

1. Setting community-wide encore goals.

2. Designing common measures for demonstrating collective impact.

3. Linking individual programs and activities to a shared encore identity.

4. Connecting network members through sharing, learning and other forms of interaction.

5. Raising community-wide awareness of encore, network members, encore workers, host organizations and others who make up the regional encore ecosystem.

6. Finding ways to make programs and opportunities more accessible to all who are interested in making a difference.

7. Bringing new members into the network by convincing them of the value of encore talent and the encore movement.

8. Creating a growing pipeline of encore work opportunities and encore pathway programs.

9. Identifying ways that network members can improve their offerings through shared projects, services and connections.

10. Developing a sustainable network backbone (or infrastructure) that assures value into the future.

For information and to join the Encore Boston Network, contact director Cathy Kang at info@encorebostonnetwork.org