How Encore.org is Leading the Way in Work That Matters

An Organization that Supports Win-Win Programs for Retirees and Society

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Successful aging involves staying engaged in the world and finding meaning in life. That is what Encore.org is all about: helping people in the second half of life make transitions to meaningful, important work. This site is the best kind of aging resource, one that provides meaning and dignity to transform aging into an opportunity. Encore sees aging as a solution in a culture that generally views it as a problem.

The Basic Idea Behind Encore.org

Encore.org was originally founded as Civic Ventures in 1997. The basic idea behind Encore has always been to engage people later in their life and tap into their unique skills and experience to benefit society and younger generations. Its first flagship program was Experience Corps, a program that paired people over 50 years of age as tutors and mentors with elementary-aged children. The program is now an AARP program.

Today, Encore.org focuses on programs that support their mission, like The Purpose Prize and Encore Fellowships. Encore's stated mission is to "[build] a movement to tap the skills and experience of those in midlife and beyond to improve communities and the world." The website is a resource to celebrate people who, in their second half of life, have made a change in their careers to make a difference in the world.

The Encore Purpose Prize

To celebrate people who strive to make a difference in the second half of their lives, encore.org promotes the Purpose Prize (from Civic Ventures).

This prize gives 5 awards of $100,000 for people over 60 that are "taking on society's biggest challenges."

The Encore Fellowship Program

Encore Fellowship is a work program that is specifically designed to match skilled, experienced professionals in the later years of their career with social purpose organizations where their experience can be used for the greater good.

The fellowships are short-term paid assignments that are typically six to twelve months in duration and are available as full- or part-time work.

Personally, I think this idea is brilliant. It lets people redefine retirement or semi-retirement as a chance to contribute to the world in a meaningful, rewarding way.

Work That Matters in the Second Half of Life

Work that matters; it's something everyone should strive for, but people in the second half of their lives may have a greater opportunity (because of time, experience, and resources) to make a contribution. Instead of seeing retirement as a "checking out" from society, Encore.org calls on people to get involved and celebrates people in the second half of their lives who stay engaged and contribute. This is what aging and retirement should be about.

Health Benefits of Meaningful Work

The focus of both of these major programs, The Purpose Prize and Encore Fellowships, is not the health of the individuals involved but rather their impact on society.

But that doesn't mean that there aren't benefits to those involved. In fact, being involved in meaningful work is one of the best things you can do for brain and body especially in your later years.

Most of the cultures that have a history of successful aging and great longevity value keeping seniors involved in family and community in meaningful, important ways all their lives. Further, the social engagement and problem-solving nature of this type of work is one of the best brain fitness exercises you can do. Finding meaningful work is truly a win-win for you and for society.

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