Impact Examples: Benevilla

benevillaBenevilla strengthens communities by offering supportive, life enriching programs that enable personal independence and dignity. It provides a continuum of care that promotes independence and instills a sense of dignity and self-empowerment. We recognize that caring for the needs of senior adults reaches beyond the individual to the entire family. More than 1,000 volunteers and 400 encore workers support Benevilla’s intergenerational programs. “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. Carol Struck has been an all-star in that talented group. In her home state of Illinois, she was a superintendent of schools and ran a used bookstore. After moving to Arizona, Struck said “a couple of weeks after my retirement, I realized that retirement wasn’t my thing.”  Benevilla wanted to diversify its revenues; they recruited Struck to run their bookstore, catering, and restaurant business, Birt’s Bistro. Revenue has increased 83 percent since Struck joined Benevilla and [a year later] 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.” Michelle’s advice for others considering encore talent: “Our staff really embrace when there are leaders who come from the encore experience, because we know we are going to learn from them. Many times the encore workers are able to bring resources that help to open doors in terms of funding, additional support, technology – all kinds of valuable things for a nonprofit.”