America is in the midst of a perfect storm with an amazing forecast. Every day, 11,000 people turn 65, and according to a study by, nearly 21 million individuals over 50 are interested in pursuing 'encore careers'—devoting time in the second half of their lives to high-impact work in their communities. Meanwhile, nonprofits continue to look for ways to increase capacity, develop strong talent pipelines, mentor younger staff, and enhance intergenerational connections.

Expounding upon these demographics and opportunities, this panel will explore a variety of models that intentionally leverage individuals 50 and older in nonprofit organizations. This spark session will begin with an overview of the three distinct models:

  • Encore Fellowships
  • ReServe
  • Ascentria’s work through Second Acts for Strong Communities

Panelists will explore how they are structured, what they offer, who is involved, resources available, and more to create a foundation of how organizations can access and engage older adult talent.

Then we’ll dig into discussion around how attendees can crosswalk their own talent needs with the development of meaningful opportunities for this talent pool, recruitment strategies, and best practices related to engagement and retention. There will be ample time for audience questions and engagement, with the aim of helping participants walk out the door with concrete solutions and action plans to meet their organizations’ workforce needs through adults 50 and older. This spark session is also designed to stimulate thinking around how the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities network and sector could better leverage this talent pool.

Learning Objectives

  • The unique value of older adults to an organization in terms of skills, experience, and mentorship
  • The case for older adults to be front and center in a nonprofit’s human capital strategy
  • A variety of outlets, approaches, and resources to access older adult talent
  • Insight into best practices related to recruiting, supporting and retaining older adult talent

Presenters: Lorrie Lutz, chief strategy officer, Fedcap; Emily Merritt, director of intergenerational initiatives, Alliance for Strong Families and Communities; Corita Brown, learning lab director,; Janet Waters, Encore fellow, Ascentria Care Alliance

Connect on Twitter: @intergenEm, @AllianceNews,, and @ascentria

Lorrie L. Lutz
Chief Strategy Officer

Lorrie L. Lutz is the chief strategy officer of Fedcap. In this role, she is responsible for integrating strategic thinking and strategic planning, innovations in program design, strategic communications, the Community Impact Institute, the National Center for Innovation and System Improvement, the Leadership Academy and Fedcap’s Metrics That Matter initiative. 

Prior to coming to Fedcap, Lutz served as the president of L3 P Associates, a consulting firm specializing in enhancing the quality of social services. She authored numerous white paper and is nationally recognized for her expertise in child welfare, juvenile justice, and system reform. Her most recent publications include: “Using Workforce Development Strategies to Move Youth in Foster Care to College-From Foster Care to Self Sufficiency;” “Relationship Between Resource Families, Birth Families and the System of Care;” “Recruitment of Resource Families-The Promise and the Paradox;” “Achieving Permanence For Children- A Daunting Challenge;” and “Promising Practices in Adoption Competent Mental Health Services.”

Lutz’ past professional experience includes serving as the director of the Division for Children Youth and Families for New Hampshire, Bureau Chief for Family Services for Idaho, director of community services for Fort Leonard Wood Missouri, and director of Community Programs for Catholic Charities in Minnesota. 

Lutz received her undergraduate degree in social work at the University of Minnesota and her graduate degrees in human resources and public policy administration from Webster University in St. Louis. 

Emily Merritt
Director of Intergenerational Initiatives
Alliance for Strong Families and Communities

As director of intergenerational initiatives at the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities, Emily Merritt is leading the initiative to not only bring encore talent into the Alliance’s network of more than 450 social sector organizations, but to also help change the way our communities think about and use older adult talent.

Prior to this role, Merritt worked for Ways to Work, proving support to the nationwide network of program operators. She previously led the Enhanced School-Based Mentoring Model at Big Brothers Big Sisters, directly benefitting Milwaukee youth through school-based mentoring partnerships. She also worked at ElderHelp in San Diego, building an entrepreneurial model that leveraged community supports to help seniors remain independent in their own homes. Merritt is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Corita Brown
Learning Lab Director

Corita Brown is the learning lab director for’s Generation to Generation campaign. She is responsible for the design and facilitation of the campaign's national learning network across youth-serving organizations and communities to rapidly distill and spread best practices for leveraging encore talent to support children and youth.

Brown has over 15 years’ experience in the nonprofit sector. Prior to joining, she worked for six years at The Intergenerational Center at Temple University, as the assistant director of a national intergenerational community-building initiative and as the Center’s national training director. In these roles, Brown built the capacity of diverse teams in the nonprofit, community development and philanthropic realms to develop multigenerational leadership, build cross-sector collaborations and design policies, practices and programs to support intergenerational engagement.

Brown holds a master's in organizational psychology and adult education from Teachers College, Columbia University, and a doctorate in urban studies from Temple University. She currently serves as a reviewer for the International Journal of Intergenerational Relations.

Janet Waters
Encore Fellow
Ascentria Care Alliance

Janet Waters is the Encore fellow at Ascentria Care Alliance, one of the 10 organizations participating in the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities’ intergenerational initiative Second Acts for Strong Communities initiative. Within Ascentria, she is known as the manager of the intergenerational workforce. Waters has extensive recent experience consulting with and delivering services for families with children of different needs, multiples, and mental health issues.

Previously, Waters has held a variety of positions in the criminal justice field. She was clinical director and then program director for a locked treatment facility for violent juvenile offenders, specializing in sex offender therapy and clinical group therapy for gang members.

Waters also has experience in the adult correctional system, serving as the director of volunteer services and then director of classification for the Suffolk County House of Correction in Boston.