Maricopa County, Ariz.

For over a decade, leaders in Maricopa County have been developing new programs that tap encore talent to build a strong community.

Several factors converged to set the stage to advance the encore idea in Maricopa – the greater Phoenix metropolitan area. Faced with a rapidly growing and aging population, community leaders realized they must capture encore talent to solve growing needs – in education, social services, healthcare and the environment – and the growing nonprofit and public sectors. At the same time, a new foundation, The Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust, started with a broad vision for productive aging for the county.

With no existing models for tapping encore talent to solve social problems, the Piper Trust took steps to encourage innovative thinking, build community awareness and invest in new approaches. The Piper Trust convened a county-wide Commission on Productive Aging and supported the development of The Next Chapter®, Experience Corps, new GateWay Community College encore career on-ramps, and meaningful paid and unpaid roles for age 50+ individuals.

In 2009 the Piper Trust launched Experience Matters, a community-wide initiative to develop and organize the Maricopa County marketplace that connects adults age 50+ to social purpose opportunities. It operates as a consortium of business professionals, community leaders and organizations that work together to enhance the capacity of the public and nonprofit sectors to tap into the talent of committed adults in Maricopa County.

Through several programs, Experience Matters fosters meaningful work and service opportunities for experienced people in the second half of life:

  • Your Experience Counts: Mentoring and tutoring program that matches adult aged 50+ with elementary school students
  • Service by Design: Short-term skilled assignments to assist organizations in project development and implementation
  • Encore Fellowships: Matches highly skilled executives & managers with social purpose organizations for high-impact assignments
  • Explore Your Future Workshops: 4-session series designed for age 50+ individuals in job transition or seeking pathways to next life phase
  • The Learning Lab: 2-day workshop for nonprofit leaders to learn how to tap into community talent

In 2012, the Piper Trust continued its innovative encore leadership and launched the Piper Trust Encore Prize to recognize and build on the achievements of nonprofit and public sector organizations that engage the talent of people over 50 in encore roles.

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