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Cleveland Foundation Announces Effort to Help Boomers Find "Encore Careers"

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With baby boomers approaching retirement and younger generations expecting longer lives, the Cleveland Foundation wants to enable those 50 years old and above to seek second careers that help the community. That includes jobs in health, education and the environment.

Thursday, June 13, 2013 at 5:45 pm

In honor of its Centennial anniversary, the Cleveland Foundation wants to help those 50 years and older find meaning and give back to the community. ideastream’s Sarah Jane Tribble reports on an initiative that will be announced at the organization’s annual meeting tonight.

The initiative is based on a program called “Encore” and a well-known TV news veteran is putting her star power behind it.

Jane Pauley hosted NBC’s Today Show back in the 70s and 80s, and has hosted and anchored several shows since.

Baby boomers, she says “…are looking for more but it’s a more that means more meaning, more fulfillment, more satisfaction, more happiness.” Pauley is the Cleveland Foundation’s keynote speaker at its meeting this year.

Foundation Vice President Bob Eckardt says over the next six months, the organization will meet with community members to find ways retiring boomers can use their “time and talent …. to work on the region’s social issues.”
“We’re an older community so we know that a lot of people will be leaving the workforce, retiring over the next few years. And that they will have time on their hands. And at the same time we know that Cleveland has a lot of problems that it needs to address," Eckardt says.

The Cleveland Foundation is Ohio’s largest grant giving organization, providing more than 3,000 grants worth $91 million in 2012. Its members have been working with the San Francisco-based to study similar initiatives in other cities.

On one trip to Phoenix, they studied Maricopa County’s coalition that enables older adults to apply for internships and enroll in community college courses.

Marc Freedman, founder and chief executive of, says that there “somebody who’s over 50 who wants to have a second act using their experience to try to solve significant social problems in that community has a relatively easy time getting from aspiration to action.”

Foundation leaders say they’re not ready to announce any specific programs or investments now; that will come after the community weighs in.

Those interested in participating can contact the Foundation by email at