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Shannon Cohen

Please Welcome Shannon Cohen -- Our New Innvoation Fellow

Building upon its Encore movement – inspiring individuals in their 50s and beyond to engage in meaningful work – the Grand Rapids Community Foundation welcomes Shannon Cohen as its newest Encore Innovation Fellow. Cohen is the founder of Shannon Cohen, Inc., and has worked with a host of local, regional, and national organizations to create and scale initiatives and movements designed to foster community renewal.

“I have a passion for helping individuals and organizations thrive by operating at the intersection of joy and purpose,” says Shannon. “I’m excited to lend my expertise, voice, and energy to connecting the mission and vision of Encore to all who call Kent County home.”

For the upcoming year, the entire Encore Innovation Fellows team will:

  • Educate affinity groups and organizations on the opportunity to combine work, service and social impact, and harnessing the value of individuals 50+
  • Develop a plan for reaching a diverse set of individuals throughout Kent County
  • Use a lens of equity and inclusion to widen the reach and collective impact of Encore

Encore, as expressed by the Community Foundation here in West Michigan, focuses on inspiring individuals and organizations to establish “encore” opportunities – paid and unpaid – for people to use their passion and experience in the second half of life to build a better, stronger community. More specifically, the Community Foundation’s Encore is investing in a range of strategies that support:

  • Individuals finding opportunities to engage in meaningful work that makes a difference in their communities
  • Community institutions in the public, nonprofit and private sectors increasing innovative pathways and opportunities for service

Diana Sieger, President of the Grand Rapids Community Foundation, said this about the new Encore Innovation Fellow: “Shannon will use her considerable talents and strong ties in the community to widen the Encore message into untapped communities and welcome them into this movement that harnesses the talents of individuals 50+ to make greater Grand Rapids better.”

Community Foundation’s Director Kate Luckert Schmid agrees, “We want everyone in our community to ponder the ‘second half of their lives.’ Shannon will help us reach a wider swath of individuals. We want to make certain Encore’s efforts are inclusive and provide plentiful opportunities.”

Those 50 years and older in Kent County are a powerful cohort numbering over 187,000 and comprising 30 percent of the population with enormous capacity for engagement, action and commitment. The Community Foundation’s Encore intends to reach them and provide the information, inspiration and opportunity to begin their own encore. 

Shannon joins Encore Innovation Fellows former MLive/Grand Rapids Press columnist Tom Rademacher; local communication/public relations consultant Mary McLoughlin; Jane Royer, former Director of the Volunteer Center at Heart of West Michigan United Way and consultant for Momentum for Impact; and Tera Wozniak Qualls, founder, Momentum for Impact.  

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