North, south, east and west, countries are confronting the consequences of longer lives and more people age 60+. The United States has a fifty year history of individuals launching social impact programs that engage older adults. In other countries, new leaders are developing encore programs that build on what’s working elsewhere, and fill a local gap.
Chile’s Fundacion Mas offers an impressive example. In 2013, longtime friends José Manuel Jaramillo and Ismael Correa saw their recently-retired fathers bored with staying home and not using their skills. The 30-something social entrepreneurs brought complementary experience to finding a solution. Ismael was a recent MBA graduate. José had more than a decade of nonprofit leadership experience, after training as an engineer and working in for-profit roles.
What led them from identifying a need to launching Fundacion Mas? José was inspired by Bill Shore’s The Cathedral Within – Transforming Your Life by Giving Something Back, with its vision of transforming society through work that lasts more than a lifetime. Ismael searched the Internet for program models and quickly found the Encore.org website, with its wealth of inspiration, research, leverage-able language and program ideas. They contacted Encore in 2015, and we’ve been sharing ideas and supporting each other’s work since then.
Fast forward to today. Fundacion Mas offers no-cost consulting to nonprofits and social enterprises in Santiago, Chile’s capital city. More than 80 consultants have worked with 70 organizations, bringing expertise in strategic and business planning, financial audit, governance, purchasing and commercial development. Their three-month projects tackle challenges using a disciplined methodology of diagnosis, discovery, development of goals, deadlines and delivery of results. José received a Social Innovation Award from his public policy graduate school’s alumni group for his visionary work..
CEO Felipe Mora and a project coordinator lead the work from a social enterprise co-working hub. Fundacion Mas’s current funding comes from corporate pre-retiree workshops and individual contributions.
Fundacion Mas consultants are energized by the work. Arturo Cerda, a 70 year old retired CEO, commented, “my work as a volunteer is relevant because it allows me to keep contributing my skills and experience beyond retirement….I value the opportunity to interact with people working to overcome poverty and be able to help in their struggle.”
Francisco Ramirez, a 77 year old retired nonprofit executive noted, “My work as a senior volunteer … has given me a renewed sense of purpose. It makes me feel engaged, needed and useful. It is extremely gratifying to know that I am making a positive difference in the lives of my fellow citizens.”
The organization’s growth offers lessons for other encore efforts:
Volunteers can power your leadership team – Fundacion Mas’s two staff members count on its board to sign up clients, recruit consultants and get the word out. José’s and Ismael’s fathers are both active board members in addition to their consulting work. The organization hosts community meetings to share plans with consultants and engage them in growing the organization.
Alliances support faster growth – Fundacion Mas has raised its profile and expanded its work through collaborations with Chilean organizations supporting NGOs, impact investing, active aging, entrepreneurs and social enterprises – as well as with Encore.org. A corporate partner offers their retirement transition workshop, creating a new revenue source. A university has partnered to create intergenerational teams to train nursing home directors, pairing a Fundacion Mas consultant with a management student.
What’s next? 2018 is Fundacion Mas’s “year of communications” to raise the program’s profile and expand connections. The new center-right Chilean government has potential to be an ally, with greater investment in active aging.
The team plans expansion throughout Chile, consulting projects for the micro and informal sector organizations and intergenerational consulting teams. To make an even bigger impact, Fundacion Mas is considering a Chilean Encore Prize. It also plans to position itself as a resource and thought-leader to launch programs in other Latin American countries.
Published: February 26, 2018