The University of Maryland School of Social Work (SSW) has partnered with New York-based ReServe, Inc., to launch ReServe Maryland, which becomes the nonprofit organization's first affiliate tied to an academic institution. ReServe matches professionals, age 55 and older, with rewarding part-time service opportunities at nonprofit and public institutions. These placements allow the individuals, known as ReServists, to strengthen their communities while earning a modest stipend.
The School invited Baltimore-area stakeholders, prospective ReServists, and alumni to an event held Feb. 1 at the University's Southern Management Corporation Campus Center. Nearly 60 people attended the presentation, referred to as a "first impressions" session by organizers.
SSW Dean Richard P. Barth, PhD, MSW, described ReServe Maryland as "a great addition to the services landscape that extends the School's capacity to meet the needs of nonprofit agencies, the needs of retiring professionals, and the communities that benefit from these services." He noted that this affiliation is beneficial to the School because continuing to innovate in the area of community services will inform teaching and research. "ReServe Maryland will help keep our edges sharp," he said.
ReServe was founded in New York in 2005 as an integrated response to two social and economic trends: 80 million baby boomers were reaching traditional retirement age, while nonprofit organizations and public agencies faced challenges in their capacity to serve those in need.
"What a great solution to two perplexing problems," said Dick Cook, MSW, director of the School's Social Work Community Outreach Service (SWCOS), which operates ReServe Maryland. "People's worth in society may not be recognized once they leave their jobs. A huge number of boomers want to continue to make a contribution, but our society has no easy avenue for them to be useful. At the same time, a huge number of human service providers are burdened with diminishing resources."
Cook mentioned as a highly visible example the recent closing in Chicago of Hull House, the Chicago institution that grew out of a settlement house founded by Jane Addams in 1889. He said many valued organizations in Maryland are similarly challenged. ReServe Maryland will help nonprofit organizations build capacity. "Put these two problems together and allow them to solve each other," Cook said.
Jack Rosenthal, co-founder and chairman of the board of ReServe and former president of the New York Times Foundation, attended the session to launch ReServe Maryland, which becomes the organization's second affiliate. The first was established last fall in Miami.
ReServe has made it possible for 2,700 ReServists to further the work of 350 nonprofits and city agencies in New York and three dozen in Miami. These individuals "serve themselves, serve the organizations, and enrich the lives of people in need," he said.
"Longer life may be the most important phenomena of our time," said Rosenthal, yet there are no institutions to govern a new stage of life that may last 20 years or longer.
Branden McLeod, MSW, clinical instructor at SWCOS and director of ReServe Maryland, says that at the outset, 22 individuals who are 55 and older will become ReServists. They are being placed with CollegeBound Foundation, which helps Baltimore City high school students; Consumer Credit Counseling Services (CCCS) of Maryland and Delaware, Inc, which among its services provides confidential budget counseling and debt management; and with Baltimore CASH Campaign, which will assign a ReServist to improve its low- and moderate-income clients' financial knowledge.
ReServe Maryland partners were represented by Sara Johnson, MSW '02, director of Baltimore CASH, and by Michelle Nusum, director, development and strategic partnerships, CCCS of Maryland and Delaware. Baltimore-area stakeholders in attendance included AARP Maryland, represented by Jennifer Holz, program specialist.
ReServe has been funded by the Atlantic Philanthropies, whose 2009 grant made possible the expansion of the innovative program to cities beyond New York, and by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), which operates AmeriCorps. Through AmeriCorps and other programs, CNCS encourages and supports service and civic engagement. A select number of ReServists will become members of AmeriCorps.
ReServe Maryland was funded through AmeriCorps and generous matching support by Robert W. Deutsch Foundation, The Fund for Change, The Zanvyl and Isabelle Krieger Fund, and the United Way of Central Maryland.
In the above photo, participants in the Feb. 1 event, shown left to right, are Branden McLeod, director, ReServe Maryland; Euriphile Joseph, chief operating officer, ReServe, Inc., Jack Rosenthal, co-founder and chairman of the board, ReServe, Inc.; Ali-Sha Alleman, assistant director, Social Work Community Outreach Service (SWCOS); Jane Brown, executive director, Robert W. Deutsch Foundation; Dick Cook, SWCOS director; Linda Breton, director of affiliate relations, ReServe Inc.; Mary Bleiberg, president, ReServe, Inc., Richard P. Barth, dean, University of Maryland School of Social Work; Becky Davis, SWCOS director of organizational social work; and Simone Garrison, program manager, ReServe Maryland.