This year Encore.org celebrates its 20th anniversary and is poised for ambitious and exciting growth. I am delighted to share our plans to sustain, strengthen and scale our Encore Fellowships program for 2018 and beyond.

Back in 2009, we hosted our first pilot cohort of 10 Fellows. Since then, we’ve helped over 1600 people (50+) secure fulfilling and enriching encore roles. They’ve shared their skills and experience with hundreds of non-profits who’ve benefited greatly from their talents, delivering close to $200 million in talent to the social sector. We’ve earned the confidence of major tech corporations who have been early adopters of Encore Fellowships. And, our network of 12 program operators across the U.S. has been a cornerstone of support.

Building on this early success, our vision is to have Encore Fellowships become a household name for “second act careers” that advance the social good. To achieve this vision, we need your help to get the word out. We aim to drive increased recognition of the value of Encore placements by business, government and the broader society. From diversity comes strength; diverse teams deliver greater success. Encore Fellowships break down intergenerational barriers and are a powerful way of bridging societal divides to solve our most pressing social issues.

How do we achieve this? Together.

First, to sustain and strengthen our program in 2018, we plan to build out our roster of national and local non-profit work hosts. We aim to open up operations in 2 or 3 new sites aligned with greatest geographic interest. Growing our national presence is a key step, positioning us to achieve our goal of doubling the number of Fellowships and U.S. program sites by 2021.

Next, for 2018, we will be piloting new Fellowship models. We plan to offer greater choice and flexibility to our Fellows and to non-profits alike. We aim to launch sector-based pilots with new corporate partners and industry intermediaries across the U.S. We are asking foundations and funders to help their grantees attract talent by subsidizing Fellowships. We want to increase the racial and ethnic diversity of Fellows; to recruit professionals from a wider range of industries and backgrounds. In particular, we want to strengthen the capacity of youth-serving organizations through collaborations with Encore Fellows, and by inviting them to join our Generation-to-Generation campaign.

Finally, achieving this is about making new connections. We invite you to help us build a network of flourishing fellowship programs across the U.S

If you’re involved in the Encore Fellowships Network, here are two easy ways to help: You can spread the word about your own experience of being a Fellow, or maybe a story of how a Fellow helped your organization. We also want to know what’s working for you and future innovations you’d like to see.

And if you know corporations or foundations that are open to supporting our work, by all means, please let me know. I’d love to hear from you! Send me a note at [email protected] My door is always open for suggestions and feedback.

Published: January 22, 2018