History & Overview

The History of SHIFT



Our Founders

David Buck    &    Jan Hively


At age 46, co-founder David Buck was right-sized out of his job as a project manager at a commercial real estate firm. For some, such a jarring dislocation creates a crisis. David turned it into an opportunity to explore.

During his search, he encountered Jan Hively, a Civic Ventures Purpose Prize Fellow and founder of the Vital Aging Network at the University of Minnesota. She helped David realize that his experience was no different from that of many baby boomers.

Together, in 2006, Jan and David founded a non-profit networking organization to address the need they’d identified. With the help of many volunteers and a board of directors with expertise in advocacy leadership and building non-profits, SHIFT has become a community resource—a web of interconnected individuals and organizations, and a compass for people on the path of midlife transition.

Discovering Purpose and Passion

A grassroots organization like SHIFT calls for a different type of organization – one that is “of and by the people”.  Going beyond enrollment, members actively participate in their own organization.  By sharing our individual skills, experiences, and wisdom in expanding circles, we actively cultivate supportive relationships.

SHIFT Values

Supporting the SHIFT network, our operations and programs function under a singular set of values:

  • Meaningful work, paid or unpaid, is a critical element of a vibrant life.
  • Productivity plus purpose is essential to the health and well being of both individuals and the community.
  • Deep, rich, conversation is the key to creating community and discovering personal meaning.
  • Listening involves more than just hearing. Reflection, as well as honest sharing and constructive feedback with others, are the first steps in the process of change.
  • Everyone, regardless of age, ability or personal station, is recognized as a resource.

We are all teachers, and we are all Learners.


More about SHIFT

ChronPhil_1SHIFT was highlighted as of part an article series by The Chronicle of Philanthropy (2007) focusing on on the growing movement of people who reach retirement age and choose to work for social causes, rather than retire.


 “What’s Your Big Idea for Encore?”

A presentation by Jan Hively at the Encore 2013 conference.