Wednesday, October 22, 2008

ReServe is Relocating to Manhattan

ReServe is moving.

As of Friday, October 24, our address and telephone are:

6 E. 39th Street, 10th Floor
New York, NY 10016
Telephone: 212-792-6205

The best way to reach us during this transition is by e-mail. For a complete e-mail directory, please visit our web site.

We will no longer be at 150 Court Street in Brooklyn.

Thank you in advance for noting the change.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Claire Haaga Altman Changes Roles at ReServe

After three fruitful years as Executive Director of ReServe, Claire Haaga Altman is embarking on a new venture, but will remain committed to the mission of ReServe as a member of ReServe's Board of Directors.

October 2008

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

It is a bittersweet moment to bid adieu to friends and colleagues that I have worked with at ReServe over the past three years as I move on to a new position. But it’s so long, not good bye as I know our worlds will continue to intersect. As of October 1, I have left ReServe to spearhead a development project at the HealthCare Chaplaincy – a multipurpose complex for their teaching, research and library facilities along with a residence for persons with serious illnesses and a suite of medical offices.

The month of October marks an important milestone for ReServe – we will be moving to new offices in Manhattan (6 E. 39th Street, 10th floor, 212- xxxx). All of the ReServe staff will miss our colleagues at the Blue Ridge Foundation in Brooklyn where ReServe has been incubated since its infancy in 2005. BlueRidge has generously provided ReServe with both financial and logistical support as well as our all important home base, all of which has prepared ReServe for this next level of maturity. Special thanks to Matt Klein, BlueRidge’s Executive Director, who has been invaluable on so many fronts to ReServe’s growth.

Susan MacEachron, ReServe’s Deputy Director since February 2007, has been appointed by the Board as the Acting Executive Director. Most of you know and have worked with Susan who will, I know, lead ReServe ably as we implement a number of innovations designed to increase our ability to place more ReServists in meaningful positions, provide a greater level of assistance to our nonprofit and public agency partners, and advance public policy around the important asset that older adults represent in helping to solve public problems. Susan can be reached at, 718-923-1400x225.

Other changes that are in progress at ReServe are a reorganization into three teams in order to be more effective in generating positions for ReServists. The first – developing positions for ReServists – is being headed by Jess Geevarghese, who has been promoted to Senior Program Officer. Scott Kariya who started as a ReServist is now working with Jess as a permanent part of this team. Anna Collins and Iowaka Barber will head up the team working to place ReServists. The third team will handle ReServe’s operations. We believe these changes will make our process more efficient which should help our Partner Organizations find the people they need and ReServists find positions they want.

I want to say in parting that I am grateful first to all the ReServists who have opened their hearts, and dedicated their minds and energy to helping a myriad of nonprofits and public agencies improve and expand their delivery of services to New Yorkers. Secondly, the response of nonprofits and public agencies – particularly the City of New York and CUNY – to our “new” idea of deploying retirees to take on projects and tasks that might otherwise not be done has been incredible. We began three years ago offering a new service – now being a ReServist is a calling for many who want to help make New York City a better place to live and work. Thanks to all of you for letting me be part of this really exciting experience. I know that you will enjoy working with Susan and all of the ReServe team as we move into our fourth year of operations.


Claire H.Altman

Sol Watson Joins ReServe Board of Directors

He is new to the ReServe Board of Directors, taking his seat in June to provide advice, counsel and leadership to the organization whose purpose is, he says, “To give older adults an opportunity to use their skills, talents and life experiences through work or service to benefit ourselves and the community.”

He is the fourth generation of Solomon B.'s (last name Watson), and a practiced leader and lawyer in Boston and New York, even though ”my natural proclivity is one of introversion.” That tendency, he says, elicits a style to lead by influence and persuasion as much as to lead by authority. ”I try to get the same good results as any good manager or leader--and can be tough when necessary.” So he could have been found in the trenches with his troops whether leading a platoon of MPs in the Mekong Delta as a young Army lieutenant or seasoning his troop of lawyers as Senior Vice President and Chief Legal Officer of The New York Times Company.

Solomon B. Watson IV (known as Sol) has a law degree from Harvard, but when he left Woodstown NJ (Pop. about 2600 in the early 60s) for Howard University, he studied English and journalism. After graduation, his membership in the ROTC put him in upstate New York and in Vietnam and in the company of young lawyers serving their tours. Most notable was Capt. Stephen A. Swartz, a graduate of Boston University Law School. “He was smart, savvy, cordial, and very capable,” Watson said. Recalling a conversation about his future with the military, Watson says Swartz’ advice was to get out and consider law school. It came on top of a recent diagnosis of pseudofolliculitis barbae. The skin irritation caused by close shaves of curly facial hair may be remedied by letting the beard grow—a military no-no. Watson has had a beard since this diagnosis in 1968.

Watson went to Harvard Law and after graduation to the Boston law firm of Bingham, Dana & Gould. After returning from Vietnam Swartz joined the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston and assisted Watson in becoming an intern there after his first year in law school. The two have retained their friendship. “In large measure, Steve Swartz is responsible for my being a lawyer and the beginning of my legal career,” Watson said.

While he was in Boston, Watson was a founder of the Massachusetts Black Lawyers Association, a professional networking group ultimately recognized by more established lawyer organizations. Shortly after joining The Times’ legal department in 1974, he joined the advisory board of the Agent Orange Settlement Fund, helping families of children with deformities attributed to the herbicide use in Vietnam.

Watson worked his way to the top of Times’ legal department, leading a staff of a dozen or so lawyers, each immersed in one or more areas of law integral to operating the $3+ billion diversified media company. One of his prides is that long before he retired two years ago, “I had developed a very good legal staff, lead by an outstanding successor. When I left I was confident the company would be well served by the department and its new general counsel."

Watson says he thoroughly enjoyed his career at The Times, having worked with several generations of management and having seen many changes in the business and legal environments. He was once referred to by a colleague as the "prime minister" because of his counseling of employees at various levels of the company.

In retirement he continues to lend his acumen to several organizations, including the Executive Leadership Council, a group of more than 400 black executives who are within two ranks of the CEO. Watson mentors young lawyers and executives, whom he calls his “troops,” a legacy of his Army days as a platoon leader. Among other commitments he is an advisory board member of the Howard University Institute for Entrepreneurship, Leadership and Innovation; board member of the Hudson River Foundation, and, most recently, a board member of ReServe.

“My goal as a director,” he says, “is to help the board give the organization some strategic and other direction as it grows to be influential in the New York City area, and also as it grows as a national model for civic engagement. “ The groundwork for expansion was laid at ReServe’s Replication Conference in New York last May, which attracted nonprofits from across the country interested in the ReServe business model and, in Watson’s words “how it could help their organizations utilize older adults who are able and want an encore career.”

Watson lives on the Upper West Side with his wife, Brenda, retired Director of Human Resources at the Times. He says he’s a stay-at-home type of guy, and if there is one "issue" in their marriage, it’s that she likes to travel. The compromise is to take one big trip a year (this year to two islands of Hawaii.) Otherwise he’s content with saltwater fly-fishing off Martha's Vineyard and the Florida Keys. While he eats fish he generally returns his catch to the sea with no regret ("catch-and-release"). He says he has simple tastes and his palate tends toward what he calls "AFITS" (all food is the same).

His pro bono work fits nicely with retirement and what he calls the "Three F’s: Family, Friends and Folks of Similar Interests." He has twin daughters from an earlier marriage and three grandchildren: Trey, the 10-year-old son of Kira, a lawyer, and Tiara and Kayla, the twin daughters of Katitti, an elementary school teacher. He says, “I love spending time with the 28-month-old twins,” in part because they remind him of his daughters when they were toddlers.

Reserve’s Writing Pros Learn How to Get Results with Grant Proposals

CRE Senior Consultant Ximena Rua-Merkin leads writing course.

While ReServe is increasing its placement opportunities, it also is working to broaden the skills of worker volunteers already in the field. Many of ReServe’s nonprofit partners are in need of professional writers, particularly those who can help write grant proposals to foundations and government agencies.

To help fill that need, ReServe took part in a pilot project with the Community Resource Exchange (CRE), a consulting group for nonprofits in Lower Manhattan which has devised an effective approach to teaching needed skills such as grant-writing. Overall, CRE provides a variety of capacity-building resources to about 200 nonprofit organizations.

ReServists received CRE certification upon completion of the five-day course in September, adding value to future placement with increased skill sets. Both students and teachers voiced high praise for the program. “From our first session together, I could tell that the ReServists had the skills, talent and expertise to become effective fundraisers and grant writers,” Ximena Rua-Merkin, CRE Senior Consultant and course leader, said. Student Ed Falk’s assessment: “The course provided very comprehensive information on techniques used by nonprofits to raise money.”

While a well-written grant proposal is at the heart of a nonprofit development office, the process of raising funds doesn’t end there, nor did the classes. ReServists also learned how to build relationships with funders and foundation board members.

Richard Loyd, a guest speaker at one of the sessions, said that one way to cultivate a foundation is to encourage its movers and shakers to attend events sponsored by the group seeking funds. “Invite them to participate and see what your organization really does,” he said.

Guest speaker Richard Loyd and ReServists

“Your project may not be the right fit,” he added. “Now might not be the right time. It’s very possible that they might be saying, ‘Next year…,’ so it’s very important when someone says something like that, that you have a system in place for following up in the future. This is why you make a phone call. Talk to them.”

“You may have two things that you are very excited about and which are very fundable,” Loyd continued. “When you talk to a program officer, find out which might be a better fit.” Rua-Merkin followed up on this point by saying, “They may ask you what is the priority for your organization.”
ReServist Beverly Hemmings said the course provided a valuable blueprint and insightful nuances of the fundraising process in a stress-free environment.” The clarity of the handouts and presentation amassed a wealth of information. It will be useful well beyond the classroom.”

ReServist Barbara Griffing agreed: “It was excellent. CRE could not have prepared and conducted this course more thoroughly.”

Monday, June 9, 2008

ReServe at Work at the CUNY Graduate Center

ReServist Jan Herman

As Human Resources Director of The Graduate Center of the City University of New York, Yosette Jones-Johnson knows a great deal about the value of experienced staff. The right person in the right position can help lift an organization to an all-new level of effectiveness.

That’s why, she says, “We're profoundly grateful to have the ReServists. We certainly couldn't afford to hire someone with this level of experience outright. And it takes a lot of care to place a ReServist with this kind of opportunity and have it work so well.”

Retired journalist Jan Herman, one of the Graduate Center’s current ReServists speaks up immediately. “I was struck by that too. The matching setup is very considered.”

Yosette refers to Loretta Williams, a ReServist in Human Resources, as a “perfect” consultant on complex issues regarding the health benefits of city employees, because of the experience Loretta brings as a retired city employee.

"Someone with her experience can tackle almost anything that we confront. There is an answer. And she’s going to help get people there."

“ReServe is very respectful in the process of communicating with ReServists and laying the best possible foundation for their work. And they follow up! These are very valuable, very different kinds of attributes."

David Manning, the Graduate Center’s Director of Media Relations and Marketing, explains the benefits of having a ReServist: “For me, reaching out to journalists, having a ReServist come in who is a terrifically experienced, qualified journalist is remarkable.

“If I were setting out to hire an assistant—if there were the money to do that—it would be someone with his kind of qualifications. And because we don't have that position, and can't fund that position, to be able to have the kind of skills that Jan has is amazing.

“Just this morning, I had Jan work on making a list of journalists to contact. The Graduate Center has recently done a major breakthrough study of second-generation immigrants, and we want to get exposure on it.

“I sent a pitch out and followed it up with an invitation to come to a performance. One of the writers who responded expressed some interest, so I wrote back, talking about the complexity of the study and how she could focus in on one element of it in an article. And she said, ‘Well, write back and send me a pitch focused in on the element.’ So I turned it over to Jan.

“Turns out he not only can do it, he knows the journalist in question at a major publication, knows what somebody on the other side wants, is familiar, now, with the study, and how to shape something that can be targeted to that person. That's a significant and important skill to have.”

Jan seems equally impressed by David’s skill in media relations. “In this particular case, you know, David sent out such a really good press release that it became the basis for a New York Times article. And I don't think that the New York Times article did much more than basically repeat the press release.

“So for me, it's a good thing, coming to work here. I like the idea of working for an institution that has substance to it. I get as much as I give, from my point of view.”

David picks up again: “Someone mentioned the word ‘volunteer.’ And I've worked on the other side of things with volunteers…Volunteers can be more management, sometimes, than they're worth. Not that they're not wonderful people, committed, capable, etc.

“But the thing about Jan is that I'm dealing with somebody that comes with experience and skills. It doesn't require that kind of management. I can give him a much more general assignment and he'll know what I'm talking about. I mean, I've been trying to stump him with something . . .” and here he breaks off into laughter.

Jan expresses a similar admiration. “I feel like I'm talking to a peer, frankly, and a peer who actually knows the business far better than I do in terms of public relations and media relations. So actually, a lot of it is a learning experience for me.”

David sums it up. “And the common ground, for each of us is that this is such an interesting place. I don't just say that as a PR agent. This is a fascinating place. The dimensions of creative, intellectual, social, collegial people and activities going on around here are just infinite.”

Survey Says

ReServe invited ReServists who have or have had a placement to participate in an online survey. Thanks to all of you who responded. Here is what you told us:

56% applied to ReServe to be able to continue using your professional skills.

69.3% feel the stipend was important to your decision-making process to join ReServe.

84.5% feel that ReServe appropriately matched you with a partner organization.

84.4% feel that ReServe placed you in a position appropriate to your skills and experience.

81.0% feel that your placement makes appropriate use of your skills.

70% feel enriched by your ReServe placement.

77.4% feel/felt productive because of your ReServe placement.

79.1% feel/felt valued in your ReServe placement.

51.4% feel/felt healthier because of your ReServe placement.

80.1% feel like you made a meaningful contribution to the organization(s) you worked with during your ReServe placement.

77.7% read ReServe's electronic newsletter.

From Corporate Raider to Nonprofit Recruiter

At age 50, Scott Kariya left behind a successful career as a headhunter. He was tired of the long hours and short-term satisfaction but soon found that being idle wasn’t the road to happiness, either: “I was good at every job I did except retirement.” After reading about Reserve in the New York Times, he came looking for part-time employment—with a resume printed on recycled paper. He wound up not at another nonprofit but with ReServe’s three full-time program officers doing (what else?) matching human talent to need, though he finds it much more low-key and personally fulfilling.

Like most ReServists he works three half-days a week, which he says is perfect because he wants time to learn to relax, a discipline he is trying to master. He has left behind 70-hour work weeks as a corporate headhunter, but continues his commitment as a certified member of a Red Cross emergency response team and advocates with a group to promote bike riding and mass transit. He recently added a one-man conservation campaign because, he says, he hates waste, which explains why he uses scrap paper for his resume, and why he’s first to switch off unused lights in the office.

Kariya, now 52, is a Japanese-American who grew up in Leonia, NJ, a small town in Bergen County near Fort Lee, and graduated from Yale University with a Bachelor of Science degree in economics. His grandparents immigrated in the early 1900s. They, along with his parents and other relatives were sent to internment camps during World War II but they harbored no bitterness. In fact, his mother, an octogenarian, still speaks in high schools and takes part in panel discussions about her camp experience. “They recognize,” Kariya says, “that it was an unfortunate time in American history, that it is important to remind people about it so that it does not happen again. But they are willing to say, ‘It’s over.’ ”

Like corporate waste, Kariya doesn’t like to see human potential unrealized and skills not maximized just because they don’t fit the bottom line. “It just galls me to think that there are all these valuable things that people have that are not being used. In the old days people used to ask me, ‘Don’t you feel good about getting people positions?’” But that really wasn’t what mattered to him. Now it is. “These non-profit organizations are so grateful to have highly skilled, experienced people who, quite frankly, they would not be able to afford at regular market rates.” ReServists contribute and the non-profits benefit. To a former corporate headhunter, he says, “That’s a wonderful, wonderful thing.”

ReServe at Work at the Lawrence N. Field Center for Entrepreneurship at Baruch College

Standing: Lendynette Pacheco, Coordinating Business Advisor; Monica Dean, Director
Seated: Cornelius “Corny” Marx, Stanley Kohlenberg, and William Drewes, ReServists.

Since October 2007, ReServists have been working in the City University of New York system, part of ReServe’s ongoing commitment to supporting the work of our civic institutions.

Five of these ReServists are currently at work at the Lawrence N. Field Center for Entrepreneurship, part of CUNY’s Baruch College, located in midtown Manhattan.

ReServe stopped by to talk with the Field Center staff and our ReServists there about their incredibly fresh ideas on older adults, CUNY’s unique resources, and how the success of a small business can benefit just about everyone.

ReServe (RS) Tell us about the work that's going on at the Field Center, and the particular skills the ReServists are bringing to their work. How is this model of civic engagement helping CUNY?

Monica Dean (MD), Director We are basically the nerve center for entrepreneurship at the college. We serve several college constituencies, including students, faculty, and alumni, as well as budding and existing entrepreneurs. We have research that's conducted out of the Center, we provide counseling as well as workshops for entrepreneurs, and then we have several programming activities that are for students.

I think what's really important about our entrepreneurship Center, what's really key about our success here, is that [southern California real estate developer and Baruch College alumnus] Lawrence Field is intimately involved in the work that we do. We meet with him on a regular basis. He comes to New York several times a year. He’ll chair the board, and he is very supportive of all the work that we do.

As of December of 2007, we received a new gift from him, a $10M gift, which is in addition to a previous gift of $3M. That new gift really puts us in a new playing field in terms of how we can serve our stakeholders, as well as how we're viewed on a nationally and internationally.

As part of our new gift we are required to develop an advisory board, and that's what [ReServist] Corny Marx is helping us to do. So he, in addition to helping us look at what type of people would fit in terms of board members, also has a lot of connections within the New York City community, and that's helped tremendously. So in fact some of his contacts have agreed to become board members. He's been working with [Academic Director] Ed Rogoff and myself developing that aspect. It's a huge effort.

RS I'm hearing from a lot of our organizations that one of the great things that ReServists are bringing is a Rolodex, so to speak, an address book.

Bill Drewes (BD) That's called “intellectual capital.”

RS Intellectual capital. Thank you. So Corny, in bringing this intellectual capital to bear, how is that going for you?

Corny Marx (CM) We've got the board up to [about] ten. And they are mostly entrepreneurial people, which mirrors the Center's mission. And I think that's the great thing about this group of people is that they've all done it. Not all, but virtually all have built themselves within a corporation or within their own business, from zero background.

MD Another major activity has been our marketing efforts. And that's something that Lendy [Lendynette Pacheco, Coordinating Business Advisor] has been working on. And Stan has been working very intimately with us, trying to develop our collateral materials, as well as figuring out how to position ourselves in New York City, an environment where there's a lot of competition from other service providers and other organizations.

That's where the folks here at ReServe are filling in and helping us. They started in March. And, you know, they've all made a very significant impact to our work within a very short period of time. They all have way more experience than any of us do!

RS So Stanley, what kind of things do you see yourself bringing on account of having this experience?

SK Well, you have out there a student class aspiring to become, in a great many ways, business people. And we would like to get them more interested in the entrepreneurship center. This requires all of the same marketing techniques that you use to sell a product, because we are, in fact, a product.

I spent most of my career in marketing. And [informing students and potential students about the resources available at the Field Center] is just another marketing problem in effect.

We’re redoing our brochures. There's a wealth of information sitting in the files here. There are all these success stories that we can use as promotional material. Because in the end that's our product: a person successfully in business, lasting more than the conventional two years before you go under.

For instance yesterday I was with a former client of ours from 2002, who has become very successful, and we're writing up a success story on her so that we can use it in promotion. And I've gone through all the files from 2002 to 2007, getting everybody. I went through the Web and found those still in business. There are 105 that have Web sites. And I'm going to go visit them all. Eventually.

MD As I said before, a core piece of our work is our services to the community, so, that's providing workshops, as well as counseling clients one on one. And we have two groups that we focus on, one of which is minority entrepreneurs, and the other is women entrepreneurs.

BD We’re putting together five different sets of curricula. And it's been quite exciting putting them together!

We also address the immigrant issue, which is very important. In New York City, for example, 80% of new job creation in the last ten years has been in small business.

Within that statistic, the majority of small businesses are being developed by members of a minority group, and low-income communities, and immigrant populations. And the number of big corporations, because of mergers and acquisitions, is getting smaller and smaller. So creating jobs is about small business.

One-third of people living in this country are dependent upon income earned through small businesses. And it's only been in the last decade that the major business schools have actually looked at creating programs for small businesses. The whole MBA establishment has been geared towards rational analysis, working for a major corporation. They really haven't addressed this population the way we do.

ReServist Bill Drewes

BD They're not really looking for a blue-collar student. They're not really looking at teaching people to start a small business, even though the principles of business are the same.

We're doing a lot more here at the Field Center than just helping a small business get started or expand. We're really addressing a major problem that could make or break the strength of our country going forward.

SK The variety of successful cases that we have is enormous and it runs from Subway franchisees to executive recruiters to cafes, a lot of restaurants—some very good ones! And they continue, and grow. We have a bakery on the Lower East Side, a gentleman who came here in 2002, who just wanted to open a little bakery, and now he's got a huge restaurant down there. It's the Clinton Street Bakery.

CM Oh yes! Fabulous!

SK He came here to sell cupcakes and stuff.

BD I had a client, a young black man from the Bronx, who wanted to get into the cleaning trade. But it's very tough for anyone to break into the trade, particularly building cleaners. So he started cleaning toilets in the Bronx. So he did his thing, and we helped him get certified as a minority-owned business, we helped him get a contract from Marriott Hotels.

Now he employs 60 people, and he's making close to 8 million dollars a year. And out of the 60 people that he employs, the majority of them come from low-income communities, are black or hispanic, mothers off of welfare—

CM I wouldn't mind having him on the board! That's a great story.

BD You multiply this times the hundreds and hundreds, and this is a major impact small business entrepreneurs are having. These are the real heroes of our country. Fully one-third of us depend on their success.

ReServe Explores Sharing Its Model with Other Nonprofits

ReServe Board Member Sol Watson, ReServe Founder and Chairman Jack Rosenthal, ReServist David Krutchik, Chicago Department for the Aging Commissioner Joyce Gallagher, ReServist Kathy Murnion

Retirees looking for meaning and ways to use their skills and experience and nonprofits looking for seasoned talent have been slow to connect. But their parallel paths are now bending into arcs that create can-do circles, and ReServe, with a grant from the Retirement Research Foundation, provided a forum to offer support and share ideas.

ReServe Chairman Jack Rosenthal and Executive Director Claire H. Altman welcomed some 20 executives and staff from government agencies and non profits nine cities to this mid-May conference in New York City. Harnessing the unused talent of those who’ve retired from the private and public sectors with the needs of public programs is a concept whose time has come. It has everything to do with helping but little to do with volunteering because these people are paid. While pondering how to describe this “new” workforce what to label them and how to define the workplace, ReServe and other organizations have been developing ways to do this with solid results and have earned a vote of confidence from the Atlantic Philanthropies, funder of several programs represented. “We know that older adults can contribute and do better things for our society,” Stacey Easterling, Atlantic program executive, said. She added that her organization was excited about what is being done at ReServe. “We view this as an intriguing experiment.”

NYC Commissioner Edwin Mendez-Santiago and Chicago Commissioner Joyce Gallagher

New York City signed on to the ReServe experiment just a year ago. Commissioner Edwin Mendez-Santiago of the Department for the Aging (DFTA) and a keynote speaker, recounted how DFTA entered into what he called “a win-win” contract with ReServe just a year ago. The idea, he said, was that “City agencies with unmet needs for professional expertise would be able to draw on the skills and experience of retirees recruited and screened by ReServe.” ReServe is a perfect vehicle to offer to City agencies that are committed to increasing age diversity. DFTA is the lead agency for ReServe, coordinating and facilitating relationships among city agencies that signed on to the initiative. Today, nearly 65 ReServists are serving 15 city agencies and five other city agencies are in negotiations. Some 60 percent of the ReServists working for the city come from the private sector.

Phyllis Segal, another guest speaker, is vice president of Civic Ventures in Boston that promotes the value of experience in solving serious social problems. Segal said Civic Ventures may have hit upon a name for the movement of retirees from the private sector to the nonprofit sector: Encore Career, which she said, has the seriousness and level of commitment of work but has the spirit of service. “We are a culture, especially the Baby Boom generation, that defines ourselves by our work—and most people need to work. So we’re seeing a revolution in volunteerism, in unpaid work. And salary compensation, some type of tangible recognition, is a proxy for significance, a sign that you value yourself and that the organization that you work for values you.” Oxymorons such as “retirement jobs” and “stipended volunteerism” require explanation, she said, but, “everyone seems to know what an Encore Career is. It’s after your mid-life work, it’s a new stage of work, and it’s different from what you did before.” Also, she said, “it’s about giving back, working for the public good.”

Claire Altman, executive director, outlined the ReServe model and turned to whether and how nonprofits across the nation might benefit from ReServe’s experiences in the three years since it was founded. Recruiting able workers in the 50-plus population for pre-school, after-school and innovative classroom projects is one area in need of help. Just as critical is the need to develop the mechanics to provide at-home services for seniors that the government does not provide. Segal broached another area where ReServe might be invaluable to all nonprofits: Where will the next crop of leaders come from?

Suzanne Hines, consulting manager at United Way in Houston, said this issue is the largest they face. “We have so many people aging out. We recently got a grant from Shell for a leadership development program where we’re trying to focus on the next generation and succession planning. Altman said United Way did a study of nonprofits in New York City four years ago and found that half of today’s leaders will retire in the next five years. “Nonprofit leadership at the very top level is a big issue,” she said. “The people they will be hiring will be in their Forties and probably with MBAs, so they will need mentoring.” Segal said the job of executive director needs to be reshaped. “You’re looking at a generation that is not workaholic like the Boomers,” she said. The Annie E. Casey Foundation has been looking into the problem, and according to one study the prognosis so far isn’t good. Neal Naigus, assistant to the president at Portland (OR) Community College, said the experience is similar in seating new board members. One solution, he said, may be to invite executive directors retired from nonprofits to give young people the kind of leadership training they need to become effective board members. Carol Greenfield of Boston is founder of Discovering What’s Next: Revitalizing Retirement. The all-volunteer organization is in search of an executive director. “I wish we could have hired a ReServist,” she said, tongue in cheek. “It would have saved us a lot of money.”

Speaking of money, a general conundrum was acknowledged of how and how much to pay the non-staff community. ReServists receive $10 an hour for about 15 hours a week, no matter how much they had commanded in the private sector. Altman said ReServe has looked at several levels. There may be another, higher level of stipend for targeted consulting work, she said, but at the moment the fixed rate seems to work. David Krutchik, who had a career in marketing, spoke as a guest ReServist at the conference. He said he did not believe in the pay-for-performance model of the for-profit sector. “Getting paid $10 an hour is part of the contribution I’m making to the job, to ReServe and to continuing to be engaged in the world,” he said. The minute compensation becomes a ladder, he added, it could open a huge can of worms.

Ideas were many for recruiting paid volunteers in the over-50 age bracket, but those with goals of sustainability had added value. Civic Ventures, for example, has a pilot project in Silicon Valley in which corporations help move their soon-to-retire or recently retired employees into the social sector. Phyllis Segal stressed the need to develop a transition plan into Encore Career as early as age 45, “so that it is as natural to this generation as the idea of ‘Someday we’ll play golf’ was to our parents’ generation. As a society, we invent a new stage of life every century,” she said. “This is our turn to create a new stage of life.” Dick Goldberg, director of Coming of Age in Philadelphia, is among many who believe in working with partners. He has teamed up with Temple University and the PBS station to help promote civic engagement for the 50-plus crowd. “Replication is all about building partnerships and getting everyone in the community to make a commitment,” he said.

Coming of Age Director Dick Goldberg

One weakness in the movement is an inability to sell nonprofits on bargain-priced talent. “This sounds like marketing and communications to me,” Coming of Age’s Goldberg said. “How do you communicate customer benefit at a cheaper price? Just by saying what you used to do and it will be easy.” Altman found it an interesting way to talk about ReServe. Judy Norton from ReServe, agreed. She said when promoting ReServe to organizations, she tells them: “I was a senior vice-president at JP Morgan Chase for over 31 years, and I’m a ReServist.” Then all of a sudden it clicks.

Segal’s advice is to stress that organizations hiring ReServists are receiving a grant or pro bono service that has a value way beyond that. “As a nonprofit executive, I like to put this pro-bono, in-kind contribution on my financial statement. What you’re presenting is a grant of X dollars in order to get that of $10,000,” which is the annual cost of engaging a ReServist who works 15 hours per week.

Back to replication issues, Altman said ReServe has looked at a social franchise model of signing an organization onto quality elements of ReServe. In return, for an annual fee, the organization could tap into ReServe’s resources. Michael Funk, director of Experience Corps in San Francisco, noted that people involved with Experience Corps feel part of a movement because it has a national presence with 20 sites. He thought the same could happen for ReServe. Diane Redd, organizational consultant for the Organ Community Organization in Portland, said she believed nonprofits would embrace funding a replication model that’s branded and fee-based.

Commissioner Joyce Gallagher of the Department for the Aging in Chicago, said, “We’ve been thinking about this hierarchy of needs and giving back. But I think there’s a need to build a spirit as well as mind and body. “I think ReServe is a very spiritual program, and I’d like to bring it to Chicago.”

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

JASA Volunteer Ventures Expo: A Free Conference and Volunteer Opportunities Fair for Older New Yorkers

JASA is pleased to announce the 2nd Annual JASA Volunteer Ventures Expo, a free conference and volunteer opportunities fair for adults 50+ on Thursday, June 19th. This event is being produced in association with UJA-Federation of New York, New York City Department for the Aging, ReServe, Retired Senior Volunteer Program, and Without Borders.

DATE: Thursday, June 19th, 2008
TIME: 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM
LOCATION: UJA-Federation of New York, 130 E.59th Street
FEE: Admission is free for adults 50+, but advanced registration is required. Call (212) 273-5291 or email

Older adults from across the New York Metropolitan area will be joining JASA to learn about new trends in volunteerism and to meet with representatives from New York City nonprofit organizations with a dedicated commitment to reaching older volunteers.

-Meet with representatives from over 60 NYC nonprofits looking for volunteers.

-Choose from workshops on being an effective board member, volunteering with chidren and youth, finding the right volunteer opportunity online, and empowering yourself as a volunteer.

-Meet other people with an interest in volunteering and social action.

Professional Volunteer Managers will have the opportunity to register for a professional workshop on volunteer management.

Admission is free for adults 50+, but advanced registration is required. To receive a registration form and workshop details, please contact JASA Volunteer Services at (212) 273-5291 or

Monday, April 14, 2008

Banking Pays the Bills, Non-Profit World Fulfills

He hikes. He bikes. He runs. He fishes, he skis and works out. He plays tennis and golf. As time allows, he reads at home in the city or at a country house in Northwest Connecticut. He carves out time for his family, is an active board member of a half-dozen nonprofit organizations, including ReServe, and travels for business and pleasure. A recent two-week span saw him in Frankfurt, Madrid, Phoenix, Los Angeles and San Francisco for business, then on to Antigua and Belize to celebrate his wife’s birthday.

At a special occasion on his 65th birthday, his wife, Anne, toasted him with affection and with this: “I have been married to John Herrmann for 25 years, and I’m exhausted.”

Today, at age 72, John Herrmann Jr. is Vice Chairman of Lincoln International, a global mid-market investment bank which he joined in 2007. After a Yale undergraduate degree and military service, he took a Harvard MBA directly to Lehman Brothers. In 1990 he was recruited by a Japanese bank to start his own firm, which was sold 10 years later to what is now JP Morgan Chase. He retired last September as senior managing director of mergers and acquisitions and immediately put his Midas touch on Lincoln International.

After 40 years in investment banking, Herrmann is still at the top of his game. He has a lifetime record of 1,000 M&A transactions. But, he says, “Success is measured not in the number of transactions, but the number that work.” The average is one in four. His, he says, is one in three.

Herrmann has just arrived from an early breakfast meeting, sartorially correct in a well-tailored suit—and a signature bowtie that he knots himself. His office is on the top floor of a Madison Avenue building. To get there requires an elevator key and a guest pass.

He rests his elbows on a conference room armchair and makes a tent with his fingers as he gathers his thoughts. He recounts how the introduction of Kleenex after World War II saved him from any notion of joining the family business, Herrmann Hankies, linen for men and women—“They Soften the Blow.” In its prime, the company sold men’s handkerchiefs for the breast pocket and the back pocket—“One for Show, One for Blow.” But pocket squares soon were doomed by fashion dictates, paper became the workhorse hanky, and the young Herrmann embarked on a career that would provide well for his family and offer the means to actively support charitable organizations.

Philanthropy is a Herrmann family tradition, beginning a century ago when his paternal grandmother helped found a settlement house on the Lower East Side for newly arrived East European Jews. His mother’s first volunteer work was with the Red Cross in World War II. She later worked at the Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services, of which her son is now president. Herrmann also is chairman of the Steep Rock Association Environmental Trust, serves on the National Public Radio Board and the Visiting Committee of the Yale Music School. His wife and their two sons have given or continue to lend their time and talent to educational projects such as City Year New York and Breakthrough Collaborative. Anne also is on the auxiliary board of Mount Sinai Hospital and Medical Center.

After a lifetime of dedication to established high-profile philanthropies, what is the lure of ReServe, a relative fledgling in the non-profit world as spelled out for him by founders Jack Rosenthal and Herb Sturz? “I’d never been in a start-up of a social service agency,” Herrmann says.

Herrmann came on board two years ago, shortly after ReServe’s inception. He says that while he has found it slow getting anything new started, the project has been worthwhile, in part because the idea of paying volunteers has led to an employee-employer relationship. “When you pay someone it is easier to assess performance, to think about how good or not good the worker is.” For the volunteers, most of them retired professionals, he says, “The job gives people an opportunity to continue to have active minds, and the pay gives them a sense of value to their employers.”

ReServe At Work with Citizens Advice Bureau

In 1886, Stanton Coit founded America's first settlement house, the Neighborhood Guild (later renamed University Settlement) on New York City's Lower East Side, influenced by the founders and staff of London's Toynbee Hall and other British social activists who believed that students and people of wealth should "settle" in poverty-stricken neighborhoods both to provide services to help improve the daily quality of life, as well as to evaluate conditions and work for social reform.

From the late 1800s until the mid-1900s, settlement house staff resided in the same buildings in which neighborhood residents participated in programs and activities. Living in close proximity, settlement staff regarded the people who used the settlement as "neighbors," not "clients."

Many settlement staff today continue to live in the same neighborhoods as their settlement’s program participants. The shared sense of community still exists between settlement staff and the people who participate in settlement programs.

--from the Web site of United Neighborhood Houses, the umbrella organization for the settlement house system in New York City.

The Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) is the largest Bronx-based “settlement house.” Their mission is to improve the economic and social well being of individuals, families and communities who are most in need.

Director of Development Ken Small: “Government contracts say you can do very specific, very finite things with the government's money.” In this regard, Ken says, “ReServe helps us fill some very critical internal needs.

“This is the stuff that oftentimes doesn't make the newspapers because it's not glitzy and it's not glamorous.

“But we need folk who have the ability to do this sort of stuff in order to sustain this organization so that we can do the programs, we can do the services,” without interruptions for the clients, especially when regular staff members must stop some work to comply with routine government audits, often with little or no notice.

ReServist Asher Yablon and General Counsel Eileen Torres on-site at CAB’s Morris Avenue office in the Bronx.

ReServists Luz Bettancourt and Asher Yablon both come from corporate backgrounds. And both of them were placed to support the work of Eileen Torres, CAB’s General Counsel. But their reasons for connecting with CAB through ReServe are very different.

Says Luz, “For me as a spirit, when I first came to this country I lived in the Bronx. And I'm very familiar with the Bronx.

“I used to work at Calvary Hospital [in the Bronx], which is an excellent institution, and I grew so much there for a very long time. Then when I needed a change, I went to Manhattan,” working as a high level administrative assistant. “But I always had that desire to help others.”

Her work as a Program Administrator in the Human Resources Department has reconnected her to that sense of purpose, and brings her back into community in the Bronx.

Asher’s motives were very straightforward: “My goal was simply just to keep my mind occupied. To be perfectly honest, I didn't really have a burning desire to work for a social service organization. I just was looking to feel that I'm accomplishing something.”

ReServe also has another kind of “success story” at CAB in Ken Kagel, a former tech executive who started at CAB as a ReServist and has moved into a regular staff position as Proxurement Director.

Human Resources Manager Jessica Smith-Houk explains that to bring a family from a situation of homelessness and acute need, “into even just stable housing and a stable family, a tremendous level of service is required.

“It's nice to have the ReServists come with experience and other things. The knowledge base may be coming from another place--the corporate world rather than the nonprofit sector---but the skills translate.”

Driving Transformation in the Field of Aging

On March 26-29, 6000 people gathered in Washington, DC to attend the annual American Society on Aging and National Council on Aging (NCOA) joint conference. We “boomers and beyond” have become a hot topic. ReServe focuses on the talents, skills and experience of those 50+ and how we can help to solve a range of issues in the social, environmental, educational, justice, housing, arts, and health arenas. As the Executive Director of ReServe, it was great for me to have an opportunity to share with attendees some of our collective accomplishments, which include the following.

ReServe was featured in two workshop sessions: one on our Health Navigator Project and the other on how ReServe has built key collaborative relationships with the City of NY, City University of NY, AARP, and Libraries for the Future to extend the reach of ReServists into new areas. The Health Navigator Project workshop attracted about 20 health care professionals who are grappling with the high costs and care needs of many older adults which they face after discharge from a hospital stay. Our Health Navigators, working in collaboration with Beth Israel and St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospitals here in NYC, have completed a training course developed by ReServe and augmented by training in benefits entitlement with a NCOA web-based tool – Benefits Check-Up. The goal of our Health Navigators is to serve as the go-between the hospital and home care services, as well as other community based services, such as transportation, money management, and home delivered meals.

ReServe’s Health Navigators come from a wide range of backgrounds; they need not be social workers. Rather, they need to have an interest in the target population and in problem-solving. The rewards are many: seeing an elderly gentleman with diabetes being more independent because our Health Navigators helped him enroll in the NYS EPIC program to obtain his insulin; a low income Hispanic woman whose Spanish speaking Health Navigator is able to negotiate problems with creditors greatly reducing her stress. The program is in its pilot phase with funding from the MetLife Foundation, the Stella and Charles Guttman Foundation, the Max and Victoria Dreyfus Foundation, and Continuum Health Partners. The conference attendees who heard about ReServe’s small pilot were very interested in possible replication in their hospitals – given that this is often a missing service that many believe could begin to save the health care system significant dollars and improve the quality of life for frail elderly adults.

At the second workshop entitled “Civic Engagement Using Stipended Professional Volunteers” – I described ReServe’s operating model and how ReServe has developed collaborations for public sector positions with the City of New York – through the City’s Department for the Aging – and with the City University of New York – through the Chancellor’s Office. Both efforts are groundbreaking and have gotten off to solid starts this year. The City project is now involving about 20 City agencies which have identified 88 positions for ReServists – lawyers, social workers, organizational management and human resources experts, finance and information technology professionals, marketers and writers. The agencies tell us that the ReServists are getting jobs done that would have sat on the backburner for a long time or are new consultative roles to help an agency solve a particular problem.

At CUNY, 15 campuses have requested 48 ReServists to assist with mentoring, writing, development, human resources, and engineering work. ReServists are enjoying being engaged with students in these college settings, and the CUNY supervisors report that ReServists bring maturity and skills that are very helpful to students and to faculty members and administrators.

The AARP collaborations with ReServe are several. The first is in the AARP Money Management Program in which ReServists are the Captains of AARP volunteers who assist on a 1 to 1 basis frail, lower income elderly persons in billpaying and money management. This program now about a year old has proven to be a great fit with ReServists’ skills often from the finance and corporate sectors and volunteers who want a direct service experience.

The second collaboration with AARP is with their relatively new WorkSearch Program – a web based program to assess the interests and skills of job seekers over 40 and to match them with local opportunities. ReServists are serving as Employment Navigators to launch the WorkSearch Program at the Queens Library – working with Libraries for the Future – and with AARP’s office in Denver, Colorado. ReServe Board Member and NYS AARP Director Lois Aronstein has been instrumental in forging these mutually productive collaborations.

The Senior and the PC: Mystery Out, Mastery In

Tom Kamber’s organization does what many people think is the impossible: teaching PC skills to New York City’s seniors sector. Kamber is founder and executive director of Older Adults Technology Services (OATS), which reaches out to older adults and draws them into the information age. One of its attractions is a Web site:

By learning PC basics, seniors can search the Iinternet and connect to the digital community of neighbors, friends and family. “If they're not online, then digital community becomes something only young people can do,” Kamber says. And seniors are great community-builders.

Kamber says OATS is the only organization in the city solely dedicated to helping senior citizens with technology. “It's all we do,” he says. “We do a variety of different kinds of training programs and we work at 26 different locations across the city.” City Councilmember Gale Brewer has been a major champion of OATS – as the Chair of the Council’s Committee on Technology and as an elected official who is a major advocate of issues affecting New Yorkers over 60.

Since 2004, this nonprofit organization has offered programs at senior centers, community technology labs, and other locations around the city. To date, OATS has served over 3500 older adults and has taught over 3200 sessions of technology training.

OATS does not advertise to find participants. Rather, they work to create partnerships with senior centers, which are natural community hubs of information. Word-of-mouth is their greatest recruiting tool.

OATS currently has ten trainers at 30 sites across the city.
Kamber says the best teachers for OATS aren’t necessarily the techies because his classes want to learn how to use a computer more than how it works. So he looks for teachers who are patient, friendly and interested in working with seniors.

He cites the success of OATS trainer Renee Martinez, a former customer service representative at West Elm. While she was still at the furniture and accessory retailer, Kamber says a customer called to say the slats had not been delivered with the bed.

As related to him: “The woman was really irate, so they put her on with Renee. And Renee was like, ‘Well, we've got some slats here on the shelf from another bed. Listen, you're not too far from me - I'll just bring them over right now.’

When she arrived, Rene picked the mattress up off the bed and she put the slats down, put the bed back down, and she said, ‘There, I think that'll work pretty well for you.’ ”The woman was beside herself with joy that somebody actually took care of her problem in a direct and immediate way, and was patient with her, and listened to her concern, and solved it immediately.”

“That kind of ability to communicate is our first concern,” he says.

OATS is helping to train several ReServists in conjunction with their placements at non-profits and civic institutions. Among them is Thai Jason, a ReServist relationship manager at ReServe. She enrolled in a workforce development class to get the training she never had the time or need to acquire in her 27 years of running a firm that produced jingles for advertising. She brings the skills she’s learning back to ReServe, and immediately puts them to use.

Thai’s OATS experience and other stories of bridging the technology divide have been documented in Generation Blend: Managing Across the Technology Age Gap, a book written by OATS board member Rob Salkowitz. (Published by John Wiley & Sons, a Microsoft Executive Leadership Series book.)

Kamber says the Web site,, is "just getting its own little life. Right now we've got about 600 people using it every month, which from a Web site perspective is kind of small, but for a program which serves senior citizens, it isn't so bad. Then we send calendar blast emails to another 1500, which is really solid.

“But I'd like to see 10,000 users on that a month. I can see them swapping information and commentary and blogs and recipes. I think those are the coolest things that we do, those three areas.”

Can teaching seniors how to text message on their cell phones be far behind?

You can visit the Senior Planet Web site at

For more on Rob Salkowitz’s book Generation Blend: Managing Across the Technology Age Gap, visit

Conference Board Issues a Call for Your Stories

Boomers, Experienced Workers and the Move into Nonprofits: Tell us your stories!

The Conference Board, an independent business research and membership group, is reaching out to learn more about the challenges and successes of boomers and experienced workers, age 50 and over, who have moved, or want to move, from for-profit or government jobs into the nonprofit sector, as well as the experiences of nonprofits that recruit and/or hire boomers and experienced workers from other sectors.

The Conference Board Research Working Group on Managing an Aging Workforce at Nonprofits, part of the Mature Workforce Initiative, is surveying boomers and experienced workers to better understand the key challenges (cultural, generational, intergenerational) they face, and which pathways they find most effective in moving to the nonprofit sector. We’re also surveying nonprofit organizations to better understand how they reach out to this talent pool and which recruitment and “crossover” strategies work best.

If you are an experienced worker who has moved or wants to move into the nonprofit sector from a for-profit or government job, or if your organization has recruited and/or hired experienced workers from these other sectors, we invite you to participate. For the survey going to nonprofit organizations, we would advise a senior level person responsible for human resource policy decisions, including recruitment and hiring practices, to fill this out.

There are the three survey links on nonprofit transitions, which are labeled:

"Employer"—for nonprofit organizations
"Job Seekers"—for individuals seeking nonprofit jobs
"Job Holders"—for individuals who have transitioned into nonprofit jobs

Click on any link above to go directly to the corresponding survey.

For further information, please contact

Friday, February 1, 2008

ReServists Dig In at Brooklyn DA’s Office

Mary Hughes, confidential secretary to Kings County DA Charles Hynes, oversees a trio of talent from ReServe that includes Seymour Herschberg, MD; Nathan (Nat) Fuchs, Esq.; and David Krutchik, former advertising and marketing executive. “I am very impressed with them,” she says. “They are so professional…. We couldn’t hire these people normally.”

Hynes, in his fifth term as district attorney, says his office was under-funded when he got there, and it still is, so he has respect for his legion of volunteers, including the three ReServists.

“They are committed,” Mary says now that they are in place. “They bring initiative. They immediately jumped in and started working.”

These ReServist positions are made possible through a contract with the NYC Department for the Aging in which City agencies are authorized to engage ReServists for six-month consultancy type positions. This is the first such contract for civic engagement with a municipality in the country, said ReServe Executive Director Claire Altman, and “represents very forward thinking by NYC in utilizing the talents of its older citizens to accomplish tasks that would otherwise go undone.”

Herschberg works on medical evidence with the Kings County medical examiner. He is a former hospital administrator and has experience as a legal consultant and in grant writing, insurance, managed care and elder care.

Fuchs, a former corporate attorney who did pro bono work with the Legal Aid Society, and Krutchik, the advertising and marketing executive, are assigned to the Crime Prevention Bureau and specifically to the more than 20 Neighborhood Office programs set up under Hynes’ watch.

Fuchs, in concert with a detective assigned to the DA’s office, is concentrating on elder welfare. They visit senior centers and their directors to assess interest in, and schedule presentations on, personal and financial safety for Brooklyn’s older residents. Earlier Fuchs completed a similar but unrelated program at the Stanley Isaacs Community Center on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.

“I’ve been given wide latitude in making the decisions necessary to fulfill my responsibilities,” Fuchs says. He adds, “I’ve thus far found my work to be extremely enjoyable.”

Krutchik, is helping to create an awareness campaign for the DA’s Neighborhood Office program. “The Brooklyn DA has established a high-profile reputation for the crime prevention programs,” he says. Issues range from safe lending and borrowing and safe housing to child protection, drug treatment alternatives and family justice.

While the DA’s office focuses on protecting all residents, Mary says the county’s 400,000 seniors seem most vulnerable. Society as a whole, she says, spends too many of its resources on the young. “But you’re young for such a short period of time.”

“If we don’t think about making growing older a wonderful experience, we’re missing out,” she continues, noting that as a worker the longer you’re in the job, the more perks you get. Yet, in retirement, “the older you get, the fewer perks you get.

“We should celebrate our elders, not penalize them.”

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Making Hospital Homecoming More Hospitable - ReServe's Health Navigator Program

ReServe has begun testing its Health Navigator program at two New York City hospitals aimed at creating a vital link between staff members and patients who might be frail or isolated or need assistance after discharge from the hospital. “In a nutshell, it enables us to stay in touch and minimize emergency situations,” Patrick Inniss, director of social work at St. Luke’s Hospital uptown, said. “Too often patients lose contact because no one is investigating how they are managing in the community.”

Navigators will be the “eyes and ears” for hospital social workers and will be advocates for clients. “The idea is to identify those who lack sufficient social support to navigate the health care system, which in this day and age is more and more difficult,” Beatrice Maloney said. She is the supervisor of geriatric services in the department of social work and home care at Beth Israel Medical Center downtown. She and Inniss are the top go-to’s for Laurie Hyman, ReServe’s Health Navigator Coordinator,who developed the program with Jess Geevarghese, ReServe’s program officer who focuses much of her attention on elder-to-elder projects.

There are many services for the infirm and elderly, but Claire Haaga Altman, executive director of ReServe, said that Health Navigators is unique in that it “is a unique opportunity for ReServe and our hospital partners, St. Luke’s-Roosevelt and Beth Israel, to test the proposition that if assistance is provided to individuals discharged from hospitals to help them get the concrete services they need, they can remain in their own homes longer and avoid unnecessary hospital stays and emergency room visits.”

Another variation on health navigation in ReServe’s portfolio of projects is the Patient Navigator Project at NY Presbyterian’s Allen Pavilion where two ReServists, Chinmayee Chakrabarty and Maria Hermans, call patients who have been discharged the previous day to make sure they are managing at home well. This project has significant potential for growth and is poised to be an important link in the discharge process at NY Presbyterian.

Henriette Arzewski and Karol Stonger are assigned to St. Luke’s, and Judy Capel and Natalie Millner are the first team at Beth Israel. Both hospitals are part of the Continuum Health Partners Inc. Volunteers will visit client homes once a week and follow up with phone calls, looking for signs of physical, financial or emotional distress or well-being and assessing any safety issues. “Visits in the home might minimize emergency situations by providing assistance, helping to apply for benefits, making clinic appointments, preventing isolation and providing emotional support,” Inniss said.

The Health Navigators’ pilot project is funded by Continuum Health Partners, the MetLife Foundation, the Stella and Charles Guttman Foundation and the Max and Victoria Dreyfus Foundation. The Fan Fox Samuels Foundation provides wrap around support for ReServe’s Elder to Elder Projects.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Focusing on Your Passion - ReServe at Work at LaGuardia Community College

ReServist Paul Katz (pictured) has a hard time keeping his seat. He’s on his feet in his office at LaGuardia Community College, exclaiming, “I’ve seen the future!”

ReServist Paul Katz has a hard time keeping his seat. He’s on his feet in his office at La Guardia Community College, exclaiming, “I’ve seen the future!”

Paul sidles over to his desk and perches on the edge of his chair. He illustrates almost everything he says by pulling up a photo on his computer.

He’s excited about a small black digital camera.

“I’ve been shooting pictures for almost 60 years. I’ve shot combat, portraits, still life, stock photos. But this is the best camera I’ve ever had.”

Paul confounds stereotypes of retirees. His laughter booms across the room as he refers to himself as a “geezer.” He has no reticence in giving his age—he’s 72.

“I was an Army officer for 14 years. Infantry, some armor. And then as my photo skills improved, I asked for and received a branch transfer to the signal corps and became a photo officer. Best-kept secret in the Army! Took me to both Poles, North and South.

“I went on to support the White House Photo Office. I was supernuminary to the White House photo officer during the Kennedy and Johnson eras.

“By ’78 I had my own commercial studio here in the City. I shot a lot of book covers, magazine illustrations. A whole series of photos on Puerto Rican rum.

“And strange as it sounds, I also took per diem jobs with the U.S. Marshall’s Service all the way through the 90’s, running down the street—‘Get that guy! Get that guy!’ It wasn’t until I was 65, still wrestling someone down to the ground that I ever thought, ‘I’m getting too old for this!’ about anything.”

But Paul says he’ll never put his camera down.

“I’m an artist. And artists don’t retire. You do it! If I didn’t get paid for photography, would I still do it? Yes! This is my passion.” And passion brought him to ReServe.

“There’s a certain point where you don’t want to just sit at home in front of the television. I saw this little ad about ReServe in The Wire, which is a newspaper on Roosevelt Island where I live. I came in for the interview and they said, ‘La Guardia Community College needs a photographer.’ And here I am.

“Basically, I can shoot anything they need – pictures of students, photography classes. We did a series of big posters for bus shelters that I shot with this camera. They were recruiting posters for students. In fact there’s a smaller version right here . . .”

And just like that, Paul’s off his chair again, rustling through a pile of colorful prints across the room.

Katz’s post at LaGuardia is made possible by a commitment from CUNY Chancellor Matt Goldstein to engage 50 ReServists in positions across the CUNY campuses. The project began in October and ReServe is over halfway there in matching talented ReServists with CUNY’s needs.

A sample of Paul Katz's photographs can be viewed at our flickr site

You can jump directly to Paul's gallery by clicking here.