Where is the encore movement thriving? Denver and Boston are two hotspots, despite their contrasting demographics. Colorado’s population is younger than the national average, with Denver billing itself as a “millenial capital.” Boston and the New England region are among the fastest-aging US areas. In both locations, local leaders are investing in programs that make the most of encore-age people.

In the past month, I attended inspiring encore gatherings in both cities, and experienced the power of collaboration among nonprofits, government leaders, funders and encore enthusiasts.

Metro Denver encore leaders gathering

The Rose Community Foundation and Encore.org sponsored a late-September gathering of 40 metro Denver leaders and the Network leadership team.

Who was there: The Denver Office on Aging, foundations Next 50 and Rose Community Foundation, nonprofit consulting firm Joining Vision and Action, nonprofits and volunteer organizations including Boomers Leading Change, Metro Volunteers, Colorado Latino Age Wave, Generations United and Boulder Social Venture Partners Encore Fellowships.

Why it mattered: We highlighted connections between the national encore movement and local efforts, connected local leaders and showcased effective and supportive relationships in the Denver encore community.

Headlines: Encore programming is growing in metro Denver. Denver StartUp Week has added a new 50+ track, new funder Next 50 Initiative will make 80 percent of its grants in Colorado, and hundreds of individuals interested in entrepreneurship, learning and advocacy are connecting through monthly meet-ups, organized by Boomers Leading Change and Joining Vision and Action. The Rose Community Foundation continues its decade-long, visionary leadership.

Contact: Betsy Werley to make Denver-area connections or learn more about the event.

New England Regional convening and Encore Prize ceremony

Encore.org sponsored a regional convening in Boston in mid-October, working closely with Encore Boston Network and board chair Doug Dickson. Tufts Health Plan Foundation provided local sponsorship.

Tying into the theme Aging as Opportunity: New England’s Experience Dividend, Mayor Marty Walsh proclaimed October 16 Encore Day in Boston. Speakers from the city and state shared perspectives on the longevity dividend of engaging older adults, and a representative of the Governor’s Council to Address Aging spoke of its goal to make Massachusetts the most age-friendly state for people of all ages. Northeastern University Political Economy Professor Barry Bluestone reviewed the region’s changing demographics, which are producing new paid work and entrepreneurship opportunities for older adults.

After a day of regional presentations and small group discussions, we switched gears to the first Encore Prize event. Five finalists pitched their programs to engage older adults in supporting young people, and judges announced the two $50,000 prize winners: Hire Autism, an Alexandria VA-based organization and Critical Bridge, a San Jose program enlisting encore mentors in college and workforce readiness. Read more here about the winners and 15 semifinalists. Encore Network members, sign up for our November 13 webinar on the member-only page.

Who was there: 130 leaders from Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont and Maine, including the Boston Commission on Affairs of the Elderly, the Massachusetts Councils on Aging and the Vermont Association of Area Agencies on Aging; nonprofit and volunteer organizations Empower Success Corps, Life Planning Network, Experience Corps, RSVP, several Villages; higher education leaders University of Connecticut, Lasell College, Northeastern University, University of Vermont and Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes; for-profit Retirement Jobs.com; Purpose Prize honorees Judy Cockerton, Jan Hively and Vicki Thomas; international leaders Vicki Sellick of the UK’s NESTA (an Encore Prize judge) and Helen Hirsh Spence of Canada’s Top Sixty Over Sixty.

Why it mattered: Boston has the highest concentration of encore programs in the US, with 50 organizations and leaders connected through Encore Boston Network. Adding to its impact, EBN launched a Generation to Generation program connecting older adults to social impact work. Its visionary leadership and outreach have elevated the encore concept, leading to strong connections with government leaders including the Boston Commission on Affairs of the Elderly and the new Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs.

Proximity to other New England encore efforts offered a unique opportunity to bring regional leaders together and spark new ideas for collaboration. Vermont encore leaders – the largest group of participants outside Massachusetts — gained inspiration to collaborate more closely.

Read Nancy Collamer’s Next Avenue Encore Prize article here.

Contact: Doug Dickson, Encore Boston Network board chair, for more information about local activities, or Betsy Werley for information about the convening.

Published: October 24, 2017