Meet Piper Trust’s 2014 Awardees


$5,000 Piper Trust Encore Prize
$50,000 Encore Enhancement Prize

Benevilla's primary mission is to enhance the quality of life for people of all ages. The West Valley nonprofit does this by offering life-enrichment programs for older adults, socialization and work education opportunities for intellectually disabled adults, in-home help for homebound adults, and child care and education programs through Wirtzie's Preschool.

Volunteers and encore workers make numerous intergenerational programs happen. In fact, Benevilla has more than 1,000 registered volunteers and 400 encore workers. "We're so fortunate to engage high-level professionals who have experience in business, fundraising, programming, and community advocacy," says Michelle Dionisio, Benevilla's president and CEO.

Benevilla board member Carol Struck is one such encore worker. Formerly a superintendent of schools in Illinois, she also led Special Programs at Illinois State University and,operated a used bookstore. Benevilla needed to develop other revenue sources and looked to Struck to help create a new social enterprise in a bookstore, catering, and restaurant business called Birt's Bistro.

Birt's Bistro revenue has increased 83 percent since Struck joined Benevilla and today, the bookstore, restaurant, and entertainment programming are major revenue sources.

Results like this show the value of embracing encore workers and utilizing their impressive skills. "With a graying America, this is an opportunity," Dionisio says. "They bring pure hearts and strong intentions to making their community, and the world, a better place."


$5,000 Piper Trust Encore Prize

Stardust Non-Profit Building Supplies diverts usable materials from local landfills and puts those products in the hands of those who need them. It does this by operating three building-material reuse stores and sells donated items such as cabinets, appliances, windows, fixtures, etc.

After attending a seminar by Experience Matters, an organization that connects experienced adults with the diverse needs of nonprofits, Karen Jayne, Stardust's executive director, recognized that the organization could gain a significant source of expertise and energy by engaging encore workers.

Stardust assessed its needs and created positions for encore workers at the highest levels of the organization. "I started to think how people at various professional levels might make a difference, solve problems, or help us build capacity in ways we wouldn't be able to afford," Jayne says.

Ben Aguilar, a retired Intel technician, is spearheading a safety-compliance effort. He sees his work at Stardust as a way to use his skills and contribute meaningfully after retirement. His contribution will have an enormous effect on Stardust's bottom line. "Stardust would never achieve such cost savings without the brains and talent Ben brings to the table," Jayne says.

In 2013, encore workers provided more than $143,000 of contributed service to Stardust, an amount that doesn't include the full value of their contributions — but the contribution these workers make goes well beyond the financial.

Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG)

$5,000 Piper Trust Encore Prize

Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) has gone beyond traditional regional planning to launch the Arizona Age-Friendly Network — its goal being to connect older adults with people of all ages to meaningful opportunities in their communities. Through the network, MAG is working intensively with nine communities to develop new programs that feature older adults in encore positions.

MAG sees encore workers as the key ingredient to the network's success. "They are the trusted peers in the community," says Amy St. Peter, human services and special projects manager at MAG. "Encore workers are the boots on the ground — they are the people designing the network and making it happen," says St. Peter.

One network example is Central Village, a membership-based program serving an area at Central and Maryland avenues. Central Village is creating a network of resources and social opportunities by facilitating the exchange of services called a "time bank" — based on the idea of reciprocity, people give or bank time and also receive time without the exchange of money (e.g., a member assists with gardening in exchange for rides to medical appointments).

Another essential element of the network is its connection to local elected officials who provide leadership and support to ensure the project succeeds. Nationally, only three "villages" — or organized communities of people who support each other — have such a network and time-bank component, and Central Village is one of them.

Encore workers are helping answer questions about how to support an aging population. Their answer: leverage the talents of older adults rather than marginalize them. MAG is benefiting from the project by learning how to be more relevant to the residents it serves through new models for transportation and healthy aging. Through the Arizona Age-Friendly Network, MAG is working to meet the true needs of the community.

About Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust

Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust supports organizations that enrich health, well-being, and opportunity for the people of Maricopa County, Arizona. The Trust concentrates its efforts in six areas: arts and culture, children, education, healthcare and medical research, older adults, and religious organizations.