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Advocacy, changing the conversation around aging, statewide relationships with other encore and age-friendly leaders
We engage older adults to take on big issues and change the conversation around aging. We match high talent older adults as Fellows with high impact community projects, benefiting our community directly and advancing the evolution of views on aging
Noreen Willhelm has led The Dayton Foundation Del Mar Encore Fellows Initiative since April 2018. She oversees the work of eight Fellows – highly skilled older adults – serving with area nonprofit organizations to address significant community issues. The initiative is focused on changing the conversation about aging, beginning with helping the community recognize that there is a valuable, untapped resource if we engage older adults in work and volunteer roles, after they’ve completed their primary careers.
For more than 30 years, Noreen has worked in nonprofits throughout the Dayton region, including as permanent or interim executive director with Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, Planned Parenthood of the Greater Miami Valley (now PP Southwest Ohio), and the traditional music and dance troupe, Rhythm in Shoes. She served for seven years as national director of The Grail, an international movement of women inspired by their spiritual values to work on social justice issues, whose U.S. base was in Loveland, Ohio.
She also worked as a reporter and editor for nearly a decade for the Dayton Daily News and the former The Journal Herald. As a reporter, she covered courts, police, business and special investigations. As assistant metro editor, she supervised 11 reporters in the city of Dayton and three suburban bureaus. She continues to do freelance writing and editing for the AARP Bulletin and Preschool Promise.
For more than 12 years, she has served on the board of the Montgomery County Arts and Cultural District, including terms as secretary, vice president, and is currently serving as chair. She is a member of the Montgomery County Frail Elderly Service Advisory Committee and the WYSO Radio Community Advisory Board. Other volunteer activities have included work with the House of Bread and a local food co-op.
She and her husband have lived on a farm in Jefferson Township for 27 years. They operated one of the first CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture) programs in the Dayton area for more than a decade, serving families with weekly deliveries of locally grown vegetables. They have three adult children, two sons-in-law and six grandchildren.