About the Blog:
This Blog is dedicated to Seniors aged 50+ who are imbued with all the skills, energy and experience they need to transition from a life of requirements to a life of new opportunities and purpose. Its special focus is work: how to continue the work that you love or how to launch a new endeavor. Opportunities abound. As both the public and private sectors seek new and innovative ways to meet social, economic and environmental needs, Seniors – with their time-tested experience and astute insights – can deliver sustainable solutions and real results to lead the world forward. Harvesting research and resources garnered from global news publications and media, journals, libraries and the web, this Blog provides an integrated system of support for those new to, as well as seasoned experts, in this emerging field.
As the intrepid journalist, Liz Carpenter said before her death at age 89, “It never occurred to me not to work… I had a restless spirit that kept drawing me to new adventures.” She never hesitated, she said, “to charge hell with a bucket of water.”
Essential assets (in addition to a bucket of water) as you launch this third stage of life campaign are: courage, a vast network, high energy, investigative skills, indomitable spirit, a thick skin, a keen sense of humor and, above all – imagination. Dare to imagine the extraordinary and let your thoughts take wing!
About the Author, Elizabeth:
As a social entrepreneur, I have dedicated my life to making social change happen: helping individuals find their voices and celebrate their cultures; creating innovative programs for those living at the edges of society so that they could become more self-reliant and active participants in their communities; and building innovative cross-sector collaborations to maximize social impact. I continually research new, solution-based strategies, purposefully networking innovators, ideas, and values to generate new strategies for creating system change and social capital. I believe we need to identify better ways for the social, policy, academic and private sectors to leverage each others knowledge and build upon each others success to increase our collective ability to positively impact the world.
After a distinguished career as an editor, author, and creative writing instructor, I moved to Maine in 1996 where I created a nonprofit organization, CyberSeniors, to provide, through a multilingual (English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, and adaptation for the Blind and Visually Impaired) curriculum, basic computer training to seniors (50+), enabling them to connect locally and globally and access reliable resources including, healthcare, education, government, and employment. In five years, I grew the organization from 12 seniors in Portland, Maine to more than 28,000 successfully trained seniors in 24 states and the territory of American Samoa. A key element of the program was an innovative award-winning curriculum, CyberHealth, which I designed to provide low literacy, bilingual, health literacy and quality care awareness to seniors so they might better understand how to take charge of their own health in a variety of ways. The outcomes exceeded expectations by altering positively the health and health behaviors of 93% of the seniors and 80% of the at-risk youth (working beside the seniors) among 28,000+ enrolled in the program nationwide.
When CyberSeniors became self-sufficient, I moved into the philanthropic arena to help other social entrepreneurs achieve their visions and missions. As Director of Outreach and Impact at the Great Bay Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, I designed and managed a continually evolving networked community of social enterprise stakeholders: social entrepreneurs, foundations, financial institutions, and other organizations including for-profits, and academic leaders with a common mission to effect sustainable social change through self-reliance. I also created and managed the GBF website, a dynamic interactive forum incorporating videos, podcasts, blog, Twitter and a Digital Library to attract new grantees, to build program support, visibility, and credibility for GBF grantees, to increase GBF’s visibility vis-à-vis the field of social enterprise, and to highlight GBF’s grantees for potential funding partners. One of the most exciting outcomes of this leveraged networking was having a GBF grantee, Robert Chambers, invited to the White House to be showcased as an exemplary, innovative nonprofit by President Obama when he first announced his Social Innovation Fund in June, 2009.
As Founder and Director of the Maine Social Innovation Networks, I conceived and purposefully engineered strategic, cross-sector alliances among innovative, proactive community stakeholders with real market solutions to facilitate sustainable, large-scale health, education, economic, environmental and social change to address Maine communities’ urgent needs.
My last position in the corporate world, before dedicating my life to enhancing seniors’ social and economic well being through their continued work and entrepreneurship, I was Director of Economic Opportunity Programs for The Philanthropy Roundtable. The barriers to economic opportunity are rarely single issues, and I helped donors who wished to foster opportunity through diverse and frequently interconnected grantmaking strategies, including entrepreneurship, career training, wealth building, personal responsibility, and life skills, at home and abroad. I convened meetings designed to help donors aggregate and analyze knowledge, measure impact and communicate best practices to increase the impact, sustainability and efficiency of their funding. My role also included identifying visionary nonprofit leaders who created economic opportunity through outstanding programs and I showcased them in site visits across the United States for philanthropists.
My languages include French (albeit rusty); some Spanish and Italian; Latin; Old English; and a smattering of Ancient Greek.
I have extensive international travel experience as a social entrepreneur, editor, writer, lecturer, and professional photographer: China, Tibet, Mongolia, England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Holland, Belgium, Luxembourg, American Samoa, Canada, Central America, French Polynesia, Iceland, Mexico, and New Zealand.
Last, but far from least, I have four very independent and self-reliant children, and I currently live with two pups – a beguiling Lhasa and an indomitable Westie – and we divide our time between Northern Virginia and Maine, where we are just two blocks from one of Maine’s rare sandy beaches.