Engaging Experienced Talent to Drive Social Change

Since 2017, The Dayton Foundation has deployed nearly a dozen highly skilled older adults into the community to work as Del Mar Encore Fellows on significant community issues. Their work has led to the creation of brand new tools, resources, and insights:

  • A new COVID-19-triggered re-training program for laid-off restaurant workers as personal care aides;
  • Installation of new technology to help low-income older adults have increased access to health care;
  • A report on the prevalence of illiteracy and low-literacy in our community;
  • Increased attention to the digital divide as an impediment to children’s access to learning;
  • Development of new education and employment pathways for early childhood educators.

Organizations that have hosted Fellows include the Area Agency on Aging, PSA 2; Brunner Literacy Center; Dayton Metro Library; Learn to Earn Dayton, Ruth Frost Parker Center for Abundant Aging; NCCJ, Preschool Promise; and St. Mary Development Center.

The Fellows also work together to help change the conversation about aging, making presentations to civic and educational organizations about the Del Mar Initiative and the valuable resource represented by older adults in our community. The Del Mar Encore Initiative is made possible by generous gifts from the Del Mar Healthcare Fund of The Dayton Foundation.

Challenging the Myths of Aging: An Encore Solution

For more than two years, recently retired professionals have been employed through the Del Mar Encore Fellows Initiatiave and assigned to area nonprofits as Del Mar Encore Fellows, to work on key community issues. In that time, the Fellows’ 13,000+ hours of work have contributed nearly $1 million in value to the Dayton economy.

In 2019, the Fellows released a report - Challenging the Myths of Aging: An Encore Solution - highlighting the community impact of the Del Mar Encore Fellows Initiative from 2016 to 2019.

» Download and read the full report Challenging the Myths of Aging: An Encore Solution »

Del Mar Encore Fellows

The Del Mar Encore Fellows receive an annualized salary of $25,000 from The Dayton Foundation and work a part-time, flexible schedule of 21- 32 hours per week. They, in turn, recruit and train Encore Volunteers, highly skilled older adults who are interested in making their own meaningful contributions.

Del Mar Encore Volunteers

A key component of the Del Mar Encore Initiative is the creation of meaningful, substantive and flexible volunteer opportunities for older adults. When retirement is on the horizon, many people think about how to give back, using skills and experience they’ve spent a lifetime developing.

Encore Volunteers work side-by-side with Del Mar Encore Fellows, researching community issues, creating new programs and participating in a variety of community initiatives.

More Information

The Del Mar Encore Fellows Initiative is modeled after the movement to tap the skills and experience of those in midlife and beyond to improve communities and the world. To learn more about this national movement, go

Read more about the Del Mar Encore Fellows Initiative, or learn about the national movement to tap the talent of older adults across the country.

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File date: 06.23.21


Noreen Willhelm

“Have a question about the Del Mar Encore Fellows Initiative? I can help.”
Noreen Willhelm, Senior Fellow, (937) 225-9949

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