In August, Ohio colleagues held the first statewide gathering of encore and Age-Friendly programs, connecting 40 leaders – a perfect opportunity to fast-forward our movement. See who attended here and read the pre-meeting summary here

Funded by the Cleveland Foundation and organized by Lenora Inez Brown (Leadership Cleveland’s Legacy Leaders program) and Noreen Willhelm (Dayton Foundation Del Mar Encore Fellows program), the half-day program offered opportunities to share learnings, explore collaboration ideas and think big thoughts. 

Ohio has an unusually rich and diverse group of encore and Age-Friendly programs. The Cleveland Foundation is a longstanding supporter, with its Encore Cleveland effort powering 11 local programs. The Dayton Foundation and the Yellow Springs Community Foundation fund efforts in their communities. Programs in multiple locations offer workforce opportunities, pro bono volunteering, transition support and entrepreneurship training. Gerontology programs at Miami University of Ohio and the University of Akron conduct research and educate new generations of leaders.

Keynote speaker Cleveland Age-Friendly lead Mary McNamara highlighted recent successes in the city’s aging-in-place support, technology training and access to affordable cultural activities. Encore Network lead Betsy Werley shared our vision of a “longevity dividend” that results from engaging older adults’ talent and energy.


  • Energy. Participants were inspired by their connections and enthusiastic about creating an “Ohio encore” effort. 
  • Visibility. The group will increase its media outreach and surface stories that highlight the value and contributions of older adults. It will also launch a website to showcase programs and support organizations that want to recruit encore talent. 
  • Connections. An expanded contact list and a Facebook group will help participants share news and ideas.
  • Insight. Encore programs and the Age-Friendly movement take the same asset-based view of older adults. They can benefit from speaking to each other’s audiences and raising the visibility of each other’s work. 

Working teams have started to develop online resources, build connections with the media and develop a white paper. In 2020, participants will get back together to celebrate their progress and take their collaboration to a new level.

For more information, contact Lenora Inez Brown or Noreen Willhelm.

Published: September 18, 2019