Ken Harris helped raise more than $7 million for a new Boys and Girls Club campus in Portland, Oregon.
Elisa Ross used data to improve cancer screening rates by 50 percent for patients of Neighborhood Family Practice, a group of community health centers in Cleveland.
And Fancy Bryant III served as an IT specialist for Ile Omode School in Oakland, California, developing a plan for sustaining, deploying and engaging technology, now and into the future.
All three were Encore Fellows — skilled, seasoned professionals matched by Encore.org with organizations in high-impact, paid engagements to help social-sector organizations meet short and long-term goals.
Their successes are part of a much bigger success story about a human and social capital strategy that’s working double-time to help organizations tap experienced talent while helping experienced people transition to encore careers.
As we celebrate the 10th anniversary of the program, here are six things you should know about Encore Fellowships.
1. Thousands of Encore Fellows have created big impact. Over the past 10 years, more than 2,000 Fellows have provided over 2 million hours of service, at a fraction of their market value, contributing the equivalent of more than $200 million to nonprofits in over 50 metropolitan areas.
The media has noticed. Fast Company magazine described Encore Fellowships as “…a bold and timely idea that wows us …the kind of innovative thinking that can transform lives and change our world.” Stories have also appeared in The New York Times, NPR, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, CNN, Forbes and many other major outlets over the years.
2. Encore Fellows do great things while launching a new career path. Harris, Ross and Bryant are just three stories of thousands — all focused on big assignments like creating strategic plans, marketing new products, creating new alliances, inventing new technological solutions, and so much more.
Our surveys show that 95 percent of encore fellows report positive experiences, and 65 percent say they continue to work or consult in the social sector after their fellowships end.
Francesca Vollaro used to manage teams, providing Fortune 500 companies with full-service global relocation programs for their employees. In 2017, she became an Encore Fellow at Girl Scouts of the USA’s national headquarters in New York City. And in 2018, she accepted an offer to work there full time as the senior director of process improvement and change management. Now she hires other Encore Fellows.
“Through the Encore Fellowship, I learned that really the sky’s the limit, that I have so much more energy and so much more to give and so much more to learn,” Vollaro says. “I learned that there’s so much more out in front of me, I just can’t even see the end of it.”
3. Nonprofit organizations love their Encore Fellows. The feedback from social sector organizations hosting Encore Fellows has been incredibly positive — 97 percent of host organizations say that their Encore Fellow had an impact in a critical area of their operation.
Organizations that have hosted fellows include Boys & Girls Club, Goodwill, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, The Salvation Army, YMCA, United Way, Breast Cancer Solutions, The Humane Society, Ocean Conservancy, Youth Science Institute, The Special Olympics, Habitat for Humanity, Aspiranet, First 5, and more.
“Experiencing high-end private sector experience was the big ‘wow’ for us,” says Tim Carpenter, founder and CEO of EngAGE. “Our Encore Fellow had my total buy-in.”
4. Encore.org continues to take Encore Fellowships to new places and new ends. Innovation is the name of the game. A few quick examples:
- The Encore Physicians Program, supported by Kaiser Permanente, matches retired physicians to rewarding clinical roles in community health centers which deliver care to under-served populations.
- The City of San Jose has hired 12 Encore Fellows, mostly retirees from tech companies, to help them launch and expand new city programs.
- And the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities is tapping the wisdom and experience of Encore Fellows to help more nonprofits add staff and volunteers over the age of 50.
5. Sponsors have been enthusiastic supporters. “We’re funding the Encore Fellows because it’s opening up a whole new set of leaders to contribute to the environment, to children and to our communities,” says Carol Larson, CEO of The David and Lucile Packard Foundation.
Other sponsors have included Hewlett Packard, IBM, Intel Corporation, Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group, Eisner Foundation, California HealthCare Foundation, Keysight Technologies, May and Stanley Smith Charitable Trust, Petsmart Charities, Robin Hood Foundation, Qualcomm, and the Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust.
6. You can help the Encore Fellowships program continue to grow. Spread the word and help us make more matches.
- Do you, or does someone you know, have a lot to offer as an Encore Fellow? Take this quiz.
- Could your nonprofit — or one you know — benefit from hosting an Encore Fellow? See if there’s an Encore Fellows program in your region and apply here.
- Are you connected to potential sponsors at foundations or corporations? Contact Jim Emerman, [email protected]
“I love coming to work,” says Phyllis Matsuura, an Encore Fellow with the Humane Society Silicon Valley. “I’ve never said that before. I offered my skills, which I had taken for granted, and they were deeply appreciated.”