Robert Rosenthal

Robert Rosenthal
Boomers Driving Makeover of American Volunteering

April 15, 2010, Centre Daily Times  Baby boomers have been rewriting American culture for decades. Now, as the first wave of retiring boomers leaves the work force and the next wave is reaching the 55-plus mark, they are redefining yet another great American institution — volunteerism.

In 2002, Dom Gieras retired from his job with the State of New York after 30 years. Where once his volunteering revolved around his family's needs — including stints managing his son's baseball teams — today, he is a volunteer technology consultant with the Executive Service Corps of the Tri-Cities. Gieras consults on projects for local nonprofit agencies, is a volunteer Webmaster for a literacy organization, and the creator of the Capital District Nonprofit Technology Assistance Project, a Web site that serves as a reference guide to technology solutions for local nonprofit professionals.

An avid reader, Gieras, now in his 60s, says his original plan for retirement involved just the tutoring and literacy work. "But when I discovered the state of their technology I decided they needed me more there," he says.

Now that baby boomers like Gieras have more time of their own, they are increasingly looking for innovative ways to serve nonprofits in causes they care about, volunteering experts say. And, like Gieras, many are choosing opportunities that are deeply rooted in the skills and experiences they acquired in the working world.