Marc Freedman is Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Encore (formerly Civic Ventures). He spearheaded the creation of Experience Corps (now AARP Experience Corps), mobilizing Americans over 55 to improve the education of low-income children, and The Purpose Prize, an annual $100,000 award for social innovators in the second half of life. He is a Skoll Awardee and an Ashoka Senior Fellow, and a member of the Wall Street Journal’s group The Experts.
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Encore aims to create a human capital revolution by making “encore careers” – second acts for the greater good – a new social norm. In so doing they aim to transform the fundamental challenge of an ageing society into an opportunity by enabling individuals over 50 to remain productive members of society and by doing so opening up a new pool of skilled labor directed towards our greatest social and environmental challenges.
Encore’s key strategies to achieve this objective include: Identifying role models and telling stories of how retirees made the transition into encore careers. Among several initiatives, The Purpose Prize is most well-known. Since its inception in 2006, the Purpose Prize has generated 1.8 billion media impressions and more than 7,500 nominations of social entrepreneurs over 60, producing close to 400 winners and fellows. Each year winners receive $100,000 to advance their work.
Another key strategy is providing direct services to companies so that they can help retirement-age workers make the transition to an encore career. Operating in 15 states, the Encore Fellowships Network places and provides stipends for recent retirees in one-year fellowships in non-profit organizations. In 2011, Intel launched a company-wide policy to support any retirement-eligible employee placed in an Encore Fellowship, and many other companies such as HP, Goldman Sachs, and Cisco are scaling pilot versions.
A third key strategy is developing expedited pathways for individuals of modest means to move into their encore career working with groups like the American Association of Community Colleges and others. With Encore’s assistance, for example, 40 community colleges piloted efforts retraining adults 50 and over for specific roles in education, health care, social services and green construction—an effort being scaled through the national network of community colleges.