kent county


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

Get Involved

say hello to


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.

Get In Touch

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.

Lea Tobar

When the Cooks Took a Hike, a Lesson Surfaced

George Bayard

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

Sue Sloop

Helping an Entire Campus Through the Thick & Thin of Life

Sister Nathalie Meyer, OP

A Different Kind of "Flying Nun"

Paula Collier

This Encore Lives by the Motto: "Little Hinges Swing Big Doors"

Shirley Bruursema

A Millage Guru, This Encore Continues to Raise Funds for Libraries


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?


NOV 07

Encore Network GR Meet UpKent District Library Service Center, 814 W. River Center Dr., NE, Comstock Park, 49321

Time:  2:30pm to 4:00pm, with an optional social hour to follow, at Perrin Brewing Co., which is close by.

Program:  Our Network has focused on ways to connect members with each other and to the broader community. During this session, we want to introduce you to a new way of connecting through the EncoreGR Online Network. You will have the opportunity to set up your online profile and get a free headshot to include on your profile. Finally, we'll travel to Perrin Brewing Co. for Happy Hour. The first drink and appetizers will be on us!

RSVP:  The event is free, but please sign-up using our online registration form. Please join us and bring a friend! Registration is limited to the first 30 individuals who sign up, so please do so soon.




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



Encore edition of Current 2016

Read all about Encore!

National Encore think tank.

Experience Corps

Put your experience to work helping students.


Find opportunities for service.

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!