Research and Publications
Nearly three years ago, nine youth-serving nonprofits -- all members of the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities -- hired a diverse group of professionals over 50. They dubbed them Second Acts Fellows and tasked them with recruiting a new and growing source of talent -- people over 50 -- to improve the lives of the children and youth they serve. Today, a new report released by Encore.org’s Gen2Gen campaign concludes that the strategy of employing fellows over 50 to help nonprofits tap encore talent “holds enormous potential” to change lives, organizations, even attitudes about older workers themselves.
When Mary Gunn took over as the new executive director of Generations Incorporated -- a Boston-area nonprofit working to strengthen the literacy skills of young children by engaging people over the age of 50 as volunteer literacy tutors -- her first impression was a powerful one. “I was struck by how young the staff was,” she writes. “I was easily 25 years older than the next oldest person in the room.” Her second impression: “All my colleagues were bright, hard-working and passionate about our mission. I was lucky to be among them, even if I was old enough to be their mother.” In the years since, Generations Incorporated has: built a multigenerational team reduced turnover expanded the size of its volunteer corps by 40 percent increased the number of children it serves by 75 percent improved reading outcomes, and decreased its operating budget by 12.5 percent. All at the same time. You can read about how they did it and what they learned along the way in a new case study “Efficiencies on the Road to a Multigenerational Workforce,” written by Gunn and published by Encore.org.
In 2017, when Encore and researchers from the Stanford Graduate School of Education were beginning the Pathways to Encore Purpose project, Anne Colby, a psychologist at the Stanford University Graduate School of Education who has studied purpose across the life cycle, interviewed Hanmin Liu, co-founder of Wildflowers Institute, who made connections to informal elder leaders from three diverse Bay Area communities. “The Power and Purpose of Informal Community Leaders,” tells the stories of these community leaders and illustrates how each exemplifies purpose beyond the self, reveals the joy they gain from this work for the common good, and shows how the commitments of individuals can help create shared collective purpose in their communities.
Making the Case for Intergenerational Childcare: How Adults 50+ Can Support Home-Based and Family Childcare Centers
This paper will examine the meaningful roles that adults 50+ can play to help improve the quality of childcare for young children 0-5. It will show that intergenerational approaches to child care have the potential to create brighter futures for currently underserved youth; benefit older adults seeking purpose, income and connection; and unlock doors to economic prosperity for small business owners (mostly low-income women of color) currently running home-based and family childcare centers.
Aging and racial diversity – the two great demographic dramas at the root of much of today’s political divisiveness – can also become sources of economic vitality and national renewal, according to a new essay by Encore.org Senior Fellow, author and former Washington Post reporter Paul Taylor.
Topline results on interest in encore entrepreneurship from the 2011 Encore Careers Survey.
Jim Emerman reflects on the future of purposeful aging
In June 2014, the Stanford Center on Longevity, Encore.org and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation joined together to convene the “Pass it On” conference of national experts, to explore how experienced adults can play critical roles in the lives of our children and youth, and to elevate generativity as a norm for the second half of life. This monograph builds on the key recommendations that emerged from the “Pass it On” conference to propose practical strategies for engaging encore talent to meet the needs of youth. It explains what organizations and communities can do, and encourages leaders and individuals alike to support and join efforts to mobilize experienced adults to work with children and youth. Two demographics — children in need of support and adults with the time and inclination to step into roles that provide it — fit together like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.
Generation War? In a year awash in political, racial and economic polarization, a nationwide survey by Encore.org has found that the American public values the interdependence of younger and older generations.
National service for encore-stage adults is a robust (and replenishing) human resource that can improve lives, communities and society, according to Shirley Sagawa and John Bridgeland, Service Year Alliance President/CEO and Vice-Chairman, respectively.