“Every thirteen minutes in America alone another hundred people – members of the wealthiest and best-educated generation the world has ever known – turn sixty and begin reckoning with their mortality and asking deep questions about meaning, significance, and what they truly want. They ask ‘will the next twenty-five years race by like that? If so, when am I going to do something that matters? When am I going to live my best life? When am I going to make a difference in the world?’” from Drive, by Daniel H. Pink
The Experience Matters Consortium is part of a national movement that sprang up as a result of Harvard School of Public Health—MetLife Foundation Initiative on Retirement & Civic Engagement’s 2004 report Reinventing Aging: Baby Boomers and Civic Engagement. The report examined these questions:
- Can a national effort succeed in mobilizing large numbers of boomers to contribute their time, skills, and experience to address community problems?
- If boomers respond in large numbers, will civic organizations of various kinds be prepared to receive them?
- What roles can the news media, the advertising industry, and Hollywood play in helping society redefine the meaning and purpose of the older years?
In response to the report, the Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust and the Arizona Community Foundation began investing in initiatives to investigate these questions from a local perspective. And, that’s when Experience Matters was born, not yet as an organization, but as a three-part process in which:
- Information, ideas and lessons were gathered from current and future stakeholders.
- National and local initiatives were investigated and studied in order to build on others’ experience and prioritize best practices.
- The Experience Matters Leadership Team, consisting of a wide variety of stakeholders, was convened to develop a vision and prioritize implementation strategies.
The findings of this process resulted in the formation of the Experience Matters Consortium as a stand-alone organization in early 2009.
To date, Experience Matters has accomplished the following:
- Presented three Learning Lab workshops for 53 nonprofit organizations to build their capacity to engage highly skilled adults. This program is currently funded by the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust with three more workshops anticipated for 2011.
- Offered the Explore Your Future curriculum to 24 employees of SCF Arizona to assist employees age 50 and older to explore their futures so that they can more effectively connect and contribute to their communities; 15 more workshops are anticipated for 2011.
- Matched over 70 adults age 50+ to classroom volunteer opportunities through Your Experience Counts.
- Is on track to include 30 nonprofit organizations, 20 corporations and 50 individual sponsors as members of the Experience Matters Consortium.
- Presented An Evening with Marc Freedman, the CEO of Civic Ventures and the preeminent thought leader on Baby Boomers, Encore Careers and social purpose work, to over 170 guests at the Herberger Theater Center.