Host a Making a Big Difference Team

Posted by on January 25, 2010

With support from United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania, Coming of Age® is seeking proposals from area organizations interested in recruiting Make a BIG Difference teams (MABD) – cadres of people age 50+ who come together to address an important community issue.

In 2009, Coming of Age awarded grants to several organizations to launch MABD teams in the Philadelphia area. Teams accompanied elder crime victims to court, advocated for the frail elderly, provided IT consultation to nonprofits, helped correct environmental problems, and much more.

The program clearly demonstrated success in two key areas: (1) accessing the energy and expertise of people age 50+ to help organizations meet their mission in these challenging times and (2) meeting the needs of older adults seeking to make a meaningful difference in their communities.

Indeed, the success of this program has garnered interest around the country in areas also seeking to tap into the tremendous talents that older adults can contribute to the nonprofit community.

Building on this success, Coming of Age is now seeking to expand the program by supporting additional organizations in launching new MABD teams in the Philadelphia area in 2010. The host organization for each team will receive a $2,500 grant, to implement and manage its project.

How do MABD teams work?
Each team will be a collaborative effort between Coming of Age and the host organization.

Coming of Age will:
* Evaluate applications and select organizations to receive the $2,500 grants.
* Collaborate with site staff to ensure a quality volunteer experience. (This may include site visits, phone surveys with team members, etc.).
* Assist in recruiting team members by promoting the opportunity in its e-newsletter, “Inspiring Opportunities” and in the United Way’s email blast “What Matters.”
* Provide training to the host agency, if needed, in how to capture the energy and expertise of people 50+.
* Distribute the funding. ($2,000 awarded at the outset and $500 on completion of the project.)

Host organizations will:
* Develop and implement projects for their MABD teams that last approximately four to nine months, either by initiating new projects or enhancing existing ones.
* Identify a staff member to manage the team.
* Recruit, within three months after the grant is awarded, an adequate number of people 50+ to accomplish the project’s objectives. (We anticipate that most teams will consist of four to seven members, but there can be fewer or more based on the nature of the project.)
* Provide orientation and support for team members to successfully meet the project’s objectives.
* Work collaboratively with Coming of Age to ensure a high performing team.
* At the project’s conclusion, document its outcomes in a two-three page report including a summary of expenses.

What criteria will be used to evaluate proposals?

In order to maximize the value of the project for both organizations and team members, Coming of Age will pay special attention to the following two criteria in evaluating applications:

1. The project’s potential to help the organization meet its mission.
2. The degree to which the proposed opportunities incorporate at least three of the following key features that our research shows to be what people 50+ want when they volunteer:

* Have an impact on the community
* Contribute in a meaningful way
* Provide input into the roles they play
* Connect and form new and purposeful relationships
* Build skills
* Flexibility

How do you apply?

Please click here to complete and submit an application no later than February 15, 2010.

Coming of Age will review the applications and notify area nonprofits whether they have received awards on or about March 15, 2010.

Questions? Email Andrea Leerman, Director of Special Projects, Coming of Age, at or call herat 215-204-0312.

We hope you will apply to be part of this unique opportunity to benefit your organization and our community as well as provide compelling volunteer experiences for those 50+ committed to making a BIG difference.


Jill Michal, President and CEO
United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania

Dick Goldberg, Director
Coming of Age

More in "Grant Opportunities"

Stay Current in Philly's Higher Education and Nonprofit Sector

We compile a weekly email with local events, resources, national conferences, calls for proposals, grant, volunteer and job opportunities in the higher education and nonprofit sectors.