A panel of philanthropists and non-profit community leaders discuss the untapped potential of people over 50 to do volunteer work.
They explain that while many people look for volunteer work after they retire, very few organizations reach out to this highly skilled and motivated demographic. The panel explores ways in which these groups can better connect with the over-50 crowd, and how their skills and experiences can be put to use- ServiceNation
John Bridgeland formerly served as Assistant to the President and Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council early in the first term of President George W. Bush, and later as Director of the USA Freedom Corps, the parent agency of both the Peace Corps and AmeriCorps, as well as a host of federal volunteer service initiatives.
Pete C. Garcia
Pete Garcia is the President and Founder of the Victoria Fund. From 1982 to 2005, he served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Chicanos Por La Causa, Inc. (CPLC) in Phoenix, Arizona, though he worked for the organization in other capacities since 1972.
During his years as President, he brought the organization's asset base from $15 million to more than $155 million. CPLC, one of the original Ford Foundation CDC and Title VII CDCs, is among the leading producers of single-family and multifamily housing in the nation and is a major employer of Mexican-American professionals in the state of Arizona.
It is a statewide entity that serves migrant children, battered women, and people with substance abuse problems while also developing self-help housing and small business incubators.
Garcia oversaw CPLC's purchase and acquisition of more than 2,400 units of affordable multifamily housing. When he saw that many multifamily developments built with HUD finance insurance or mortgages were being sold, he and his staff worked with underwriters and financial institutions, including Fannie Mae, to preserve the housing by packaging several thousand units together with complex financing. The $83 million bond financing transaction will preserve the housing stock for working families and generate additional income for CPLC's general fund and programs.
In his more than 30-year career, Garcia also participated for a year in the Intergovernmental Management Training Program at the Department of Health and Human Services and served as President and CEO of Valle del Sol. Garcia also advocates for consumers through his work with the Federal Home Loan Bank, Community Reinvestment Coalition and Rural Development Finance Corporation and assists communities in the United Kingdom.
Gara LaMarche is President and CEO of The Atlantic Philanthropies. He joined Atlantic in April 2007 to lead the organization through its final chapter as the foundation disburses its remaining $4 billion endowment and completes active grantmaking by 2016.
Before joining Atlantic, LaMarche served as Vice President and Director of U.S. Programs for the Open Society Institute (OSI), a foundation established by philanthropist George Soros. LaMarche joined OSI in 1996 to launch its U.S. Programs, which focuses on challenges to social justice and democracy.
LaMarche previously served as Associate Director of Human Rights Watch and Director of its Free Expression Project from 1990 to 1996. He was Director of the Freedom-to-Write Program of the PENAmericanCenter from 1988 to 1990, when PEN played a leading role in campaigns to lift Iran's fatwa against Salman Rushdie and challenged restrictions on arts funding in the United States.
He served in a variety of positions with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), with which he first became associated at age 18 as a member of its national Academic Freedom Committee. He was the Associate Director of the ACLU's New York branch from 1979 to 1984 and the Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas from 1984 to 1988. At the Texas ACLU, he led campaigns to provide adequate representation for death row inmates and oppose discriminatory treatment of persons with AIDS in the early days of the epidemic.
LaMarche is the author of numerous articles on human rights and social justice issues. He teaches a course in philanthropy and public policy at New York University's Wagner School of Public Service, and was an adjunct professor at New School University and The John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
LaMarche serves on the boards of PEN AmericanCenter and The White House Project, as a member of the selection committee for the Sundance Documentary Fund, and on the Leadership Council of Hispanics in Philanthropy.
A Westerly, R.I. native, LaMarche graduated from Columbia College in New York.
Thomas Nelson is Chief Operating Officer of AARP. In addition to overall association leadership responsibilities, Mr. Nelson oversees State and National Initiatives, Operations, and Membership.
He is responsible for AARP's key operations including publications, research, advocacy, community service and field delivery capabilities, and membership development, all of which further AARP's goal of being the leading organization for social responsibility.
Mr. Nelson joined AARP in 1980 as Manager of Consumer Affairs, and in that position established AARP's consumer program. In 1982, he assumed the additional responsibility for AARP's health activities. From 1984 to1990, he was Director of AARP's Program Department that was responsible for the Association's educational and community service programs. In 1990 he became Director of the Field Services Division and was named Associate Executive Director of State and National Initiatives in 1999.
His many contributions include the expansion of AARP's state capacity, strengthening of the advocacy team, development of the volunteer ranks, and growth of AARP's community service efforts.
Prior to joining AARP, Mr. Nelson was at the University of Southern California Andrus Gerontology Center. From 1973 to 1977, he was a staff member of the Federal Trade Commission, where he worked on the investigation and subsequent regulation of the funeral industry, as well as inquiries related to nursing homes and other consumer issues facing the elderly.
Mr. Nelson has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Union College, a Master of Arts degree from Columbia University, and Doctoral degree from the University of Southern California.
Michelle Nunn is the co-founder and CEO of Hands On Network. Nunn is the founding director of Hands On Atlanta, a nonprofit organization that helps individuals, families, corporations, and community groups find flexible volunteer opportunities at more than 400 service organizations and schools.
Hands On Atlanta now has 25,000 volunteers who work every day of the year building community and meeting critical needs in schools, parks, senior homes, food banks, pet shelters, low-income neighborhoods, and more.
Under her leadership, the organization has grown from a grassroots startup in 1989 to one of the nation's largest community-based volunteer organizations.