The Silicon Valley Encore Fellowship Pilot is an innovative new program to help a number of executives and managers at or near the end of their midlife corporate careers transition to careers in the nonprofit sector.HP is a sponsor, and of the ten fellowship participants, six are HP retirees. A recent national survey found that half of Baby Boomers – often defined as U.S. residents born between 1945 and 1964 – said they would like to shift into careers in the social sector when they have retired from their positions in the for-profit world, giving them a chance to work on other causes they find meaningful and important.
Did You Know?
According to a new report released this summer, “An Aging World: 2008,” the average age of the world’s population is increasing at an unprecedented rate: The number of people worldwide age 65 and older was estimated to be 506 million in 2008, and will reach 1.3 billion by 2040, doubling from 7 percent to 14 percent of the world population, Meanwhile, the number of centenarians has jumped from an estimated few thousand in 1950 to more than 340,000 worldwide today, with the highest concentrations in the U.S. and Japan, according to the latest Census Bureau figures.
In addition, millions of Americans in their 50s and 60s are reconsidering their retirement plans in light of the recent recession. To supplement their nest eggs, many are realizing that they need to continue working, at least part-time. Meanwhile, nonprofits, which have typically focused their recruiting efforts on younger adults, are realizing they can benefit greatly from skilled and experienced older workers. These trends are converging to create unprecedented opportunities for older Americans to use their talents to make a difference in our communities, schools and the world at large. And in the San Francisco Bay Area, HP is helping support an innovative new program to help a number of executives and managers at or near the end of their midlife corporate careers transition to careers in the nonprofit sector.
The Silicon Valley Encore Fellowship Pilot
The program is called the Silicon Valley Encore Fellowship Pilot. Presently there are 10 Encore Fellows in the pilot, and six of them are HP retirees. The Fellows have intensive assignments and an opportunity to do high-impact work, supporting causes for which they have a passion. They also have ongoing development opportunities, being paired with a senior-level mentor or sponsor at their nonprofits, and taking part in regular group learning experiences.
The program is sponsored by Civic Ventures, a nonprofit think tank that creates programs to engage Baby Boomers in meaningful work to address societal problems. HP is a corporate sponsor, and the David & Lucile Packard Foundation has played a key role in funding it.
The Encore Fellows program is such a nice fit for HP because there is a strong culture amongst our employees for giving back and this allows them to continue serving beyond their HP careers. HP represents innovation and that includes being part of innovative social programs.
The Fellows receive a $25,000 stipend for working the equivalent of six months full-time, although they and the nonprofits can choose to spread commitment out over a year.
Leslye Louie is one of the former HP executives taking part in the Silicon Valley Encore Fellowship Pilot. A former vice president of marketing in IPG who retired after nearly two decades with HP, Leslye has launched a "second career" at Partners in School Innovation, a San Francisco nonprofit that helps improve literacy in low-income elementary schools.
Lyle Hurst, also formerly with HP, is another Encore Fellow. He has worked alongside Leslye to improve communications strategy and marketing materials at Partners in School Innovation.
Still another former HP employee, John Armstrong, has been "rolling up his sleeves" this year and making a difference in a Palo Alto nonprofit called Environmental Volunteers, which educates children about nature and the environment.
“The fellowship has exceeded all my expectations,” John told hpNOW. “It has been a great opportunity to make a difference in two areas that mean a great deal to me, education and the environment, and I’ve made use of many of the skills I learned in my years at HP.”
Easing the Transition
Nigel Ball at RAFT event
Encore Fellowships are designed to ease a person’s transition from the profit to nonprofit sector, a move that can sometimes be challenging because the focus, goals, decision-making process and more can be very different.
Leslye noted that in the nonprofit sector, “There is a lot of discussion about the mission, whereas in business, there’s a focus on profit and growth.” This can make it challenging to measure success. “In corporations, there is a fairly well known set of metrics; that’s just not the case in a lot of nonprofits,” she said.
Leslye also noted that the vocabulary people use in the nonprofit sector is often different from that use in the corporate world – for example, you might talk about “outcomes” rather than “revenue” and “profit” – and the pace of decision making can be slower.
Easing the Transition
Nigel Ball, also an HP Encore Fellow and former HP executive, agreed. “Clearly there is a learning curve to go through,” he said. And “you have to check your ego at the door” if you are a former executive from the for-profit world.
Nigel, who was offered a full-time position at Resource Area for Teaching (RAFT), a nonprofit that supports San Francisco Bay Area teachers, after he had served there for five months as an HP Encore Fellow, praised the fellowship program. “There is no way I would be where I am now in a nonprofit without this fellowship experience,” he said.
Earlier this year, President Barack Obama signed the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, which had overwhelmingly passed in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate.
The Purpose Prize
In addition to working closely with Civic Ventures to launch the Silicon Valley Encore Fellows Program, HP helps sponsor the group’s annual Purpose Prize Innovation Summit, and we provide a technology grant to provide Purpose Prize winners with HP laptops. The Purpose Prize recognizes social innovators over the age of 60 who are addressing some of the world’s biggest problems in creative ways. The program has a distinguished panel of judges, and awards 10 annual prizes of $50,000 - $100,000 to Purpose Prize winners, with funding by the John Templeton Foundation and The Atlantic Philanthropies. The program also recognizes 50 Purpose Prize Fellows.
The bill is designed to encourage people in the U.S. to serve their communities by volunteering and serving in the nonprofit sector, and it triples the size of AmeriCorps, which will now have capacity to link 250,000 volunteers to local needs.
Inspired by the successful programs such as the pilot in Silicon Valley, the Serve America Act also creates Encore Fellowships across the country, with up to 10 fellows per state. The fellows will be financed by a public-private partnership; the U.S. government will pay each a stipend of $11,000 a year, and host organizations will be required at least to match that amount.
President Obama praised the legislation for “better utilizing the skills and experience of our retirees and baby boomers.”
The Encore Fellows program could grow even beyond the 500 fellows funded in part by the Serve America Act. Civic Ventures envisions state and local governments adapting the program model, as well as community and national foundations, and companies that want to help employees nearing retirement transition to encore careers in nonprofits.
“It is very gratifying to see that the pilot we’ve been a part of and that HP has funded is being expanded upon in such a significant way,” said John.
Read more about other retirees in action on the HP Retiree Website . http://www.hp.com/retiree/action.html