kent county


We are poised to take advantage of the unprecedented human resource windfall of the Baby Boomer and beyond generation.

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Grand Rapids Community Foundation’s Encore Innovation Fellows Tom Rademacher is seeking out stories about people doing great work in their Encore years. He's one of Grand Rapids more well-known writers and storytellers.

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second acts for a greater


“Our society is shifting to a new place where people of a broad age range are blending together in fresh and exciting ways. I can only hope for more of this in Grand Rapids!”

Jane Royer, Encore Innovation Fellow


Our Stories

hello shannon!


Shannon Cohen will be focused on community education and leading sessions in untapped audiences to encourage new connections to the Encore Grand Rapids Network and organizations working in the movement. She'll work to educate affinity groups and organizations across Kent County on the importance of finding meaningful work and harnessing the value of individuals 50+. She's also helping us develop a plan for reaching a more diverse set of individuals. 


Encore is a burgeoning national movement created to tap the skills and experience of those in midlife and beyond to improve communities and the world. Encore sets out to define this new stage of life. An Encore can combine work, service and social impact.

Grand Rapids Community Foundation’s Encore is leading the way in Kent County by seeking to inspire individuals in their 50s and beyond to engage in meaningful work and service that makes a difference. In addition, we seek to challenge organizations in our community to pave the way and increase their capacity for experienced talent by identifying innovative pathways and opportunities for service.



We’ll identify our community’s best practices. How can we build on the collaborative successes that already exist and leverage them for an even greater impact? Let’s work together to determine new and existing opportunities that contribute to the community good and create a better future for the generations to come.



We’ll find connections—those paid and unpaid opportunities in which the talents and experience of people in midlife and beyond can flourish. We will serve as a hub and a resource for leaders of profit and nonprofit organizations that share the Encore vision.



We want to make sure everybody knows about the vast population of people that are active and healthy with extensive skill, knowledge and life experience. We’ll tell their personal stories here. These stories challenge conventional thinking about aging and begin a new narrative that speaks to individual renewal and social impact.


Click on any of the images to view an Encore story.

Stan Hone

He's Dedicating His Encore to Serving As Eyes for Others

George Bayard

Preserving Area Stories of a Proud and Powerful African-American Past

Andrea Keating

This Encore Dramatically Shifted Careers from Insurance Manager to Executive Chef

Dawn Szczepanski

The Wheels on This Bus Go 'Round for Others

"Threads" Group at Baxter Community Center

Quilters Find Solace in These "Threads" That Bind

My Reimagined Life: One Woman's Struggle with Work/Life Balance (Part 1)


Let’s start a community conversation about life after traditional retirement! We want to help shape this new life stage that offers the freedom to work differently and contribute in new ways. We strive to link the individuals and organizations in networks and communities throughout Kent County that support and sustain continuous learning and improvement.



You are a vital source of talent that can benefit our community! However you choose to ‘Encore’, there are opportunities across Kent County. We will highlight resources here to aid you in realizing and claiming your own Encore. Did you know that if only five percent of today’s population chose encore service, Kent County could gain up to 80,000 person-years of benefit?



Community institutions in the public, nonprofit and private sectors can contribute so much to our collective understanding of how to harness this unique workforce and offer opportunities for service. We have so many challenges in our education and healthcare systems, in our environment, government and on our streets. Is your organization ‘Encore-friendly’ and interested in building capacity?



Please share your insights, ideas and experiences with us. The power of personal stories is profound—they give issues a human face and demonstrate what we can accomplish together. What purpose drives your future? We know these conversations are already happening in coffee houses, brew pubs, chamber meetings, churches, Kiwanis and Rotary clubs all around our community. How are you sharing your talent, skill and time?


JAN 25

Nonprofit & Encore Member MeetUp!Habitat for Humanity Kent County, 425 Pleasant St. SW

We're switching things up this month to include nonprofit organiations that are posting on in our in-person meetup. The MeetUp will be on Wednesday, January 25 from noon until 1:30pm.

Lunch will be followed by a panel presentation of Encore members who represent the depth and breadth of experience in our network and the diversity of ways that the might contribute to nonprofits through paid and unpaid work. Open dialogue between nonprofit partners and Encore members will be encouraged!

JAN 26

AARP Online Career Fair: Spotlight on Part-Time WorkOnline Event

Careers (re)invented Here

Don't miss this FREE online event! The AARP Online Career Fair: Spotlight on Part-Time Work. January 26, 2017, 11a.m. to 4p.m. (ET). Now you can connect with more than two dozen hiring employers who value experienced workers. Sign up today for the LIVE Online Career Fair and get ready to retool your part-tine job search. Register for free today at

These stories challenge conventional thinking about aging and begin a new narrative that speaks to individual renewal and social impact.


We want to raise the visibility of individuals and organizations taking innovative approaches to achieving the Encore vision in our community. How are you realizing your Encore vision?

Tom Rademacher

Encore Innovation Fellow


Mary T. McLoughlin

Encore Innovation Fellow


Jane Royer

Encore Innovation Fellow


Tera Wozniak Qualls

Encore Innovation Fellow


Shannon Cohen

Encore Innovation Fellow



The Encore GR Network

Join other people in our community in the Encore movement

Encore edition of Current 2016

Read all about Encore!

National Encore think tank.

Experience Corps

Put your experience to work helping students.

Heart of West Michigan United Way Volunteer Center

Find opportunities for service.

Life Reimagined

What’s next for you?

Encore Career Handbook

Explore your Encore potential!