Nurturing 'encore careers'

The nonprofit Civic Ventures offers grants to colleges that steer older students toward education, health care or social services jobs.

By Robert N. Jenkins, LifeTimes Editor
Published August 28, 2007

The idea of educating older adults toward second careers, rather than offering casual instruction on favorite topics, is being pressed by the nonprofit organization Civic Ventures.

Created in the 1990s and funded through grants from nearly 20 philanthropies, Civic Ventures is focused on harnessing for the public good the uncountable years of experience and immeasurable expertise of people older than 50.

The organization's Web site terms Civic Ventures "a think tank and incubator helping society achieve the greatest return on experience.'

It currently has more than 1,800 volunteers in its "Experience Corps" - people working on major social problems such as illiteracy.

Among the cash awards in several fields that Civic Ventures finances is the Community College Encore Career Project.

With funds from the MetLife Foundation, which emphasizes research on topics of aging, Civic Ventures provides up to $25,000 to colleges that are, the Web site explains, "creating new ways for adults 50-plus to transition to 'encore careers' in education, health care and social services."

Emphasizing the vocational objective of this philanthropy, these grants "cannot be used for traditional older-adult offerings that focus on cultural, recreational or personal-enrichment activities."

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Civic Ventures

For more information, visit www.civicventures.org/index.cfm.