premiere event


Join fellow neighbors for real talk conversations and support in your journey to REDEFINE, REINVENT, and REDISCOVER purpose and happiness in your Encore season of life!

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hello shannon!

Meet our newest innovation fellow

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. 

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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

Grand Rapids

“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

About Encore

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.

Inspiring Innovation

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.

Building Capacity

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.

Raising Awareness

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.

Get Involved

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.

For Individuals

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?

For Organizations

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?

Tell Your Story

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?

Upcoming Events

Sep 27

Life Reimagined Checkup

Schuler Books, 2660 28th Street, 9:30 to 11:30am

Has something important or unexpected changed in your life? Do you find dealing with new challenges in old ways difficult? How do you move forward in this new phase in life and consider your "what's next?" This Life Reimagined Checkup (an AARP program ) is like a road map or GPS system that shows you how to find the inspiration and courage to reimagine your direction, reassess your gifts, and unlock your personal potential. It will help you discover your real possibilities as you  move toward your best life regardless of you age. It's your life; your can choose what's best for you. This free two-hour program will help you get started! Please register at For more information contact John Ziemann at or call (616) 581-8940.

Sep 27

Conversations on Purposeful Living Sponsored by Aquinas College Women's Connection

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 5:30 PM TO 8:00 PM, at Browne Center, corner of Robinson Rd and Woodward Lane

You are invited to join four accomplished women who will offer their wisdom and experience to help you embrace and reach deeper into your own purpose. Enjoy two sessions of the four. Choose from: Dr. Heather Wallace: MINDFULNESS; Sr. Diane Zerfas: WOMEN & SPIRITUALITY; Maureen Burns: A PURPOSEFUL LIFE; Barbara Zeimann: SHARING LIFE LESSONS. Space is limited, so register early. $30 per person; free and plentiful parking; registration deadline: 9/21/17. Register: https://aquinas.aqsaintsnetwor...

Contact Us

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?


  • The Encore GR Network

    Join other people in our community in the Encore movement

    Visit Website
  • Experience Corps

    Put your experience to work helping students.

    Visit Website
  • Encore Career Handbook

    Explore your Encore potential!

    View Handbook
  • Encore edition of Current 2016

    Read all about Encore!

    Read More
  • Heart of West Michigan United Way Volunteer Center

    Find opportunities for service.

    Visit Website

    National Encore think tank.

    Visit Website
  • Life Reimagined

    What’s next for you?

    Visit Website