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Posted by Positive Aging Community on 03/27/2015

Grantmakers In Aging receives $1.3 million grant to help communities become more "age-friendly"

Grant will support five communities in second year of Community AGEnda: Great Places to Grow Up and Grow Old

Washington, DC/New York, NY (October 16, 2013)Grantmakers In Aging (GIA), a national association of funders, and the Pfizer Foundation today announced a second year of funding totaling $1.3 million for Community AGEnda, an initiative aimed at helping American communities become more age-friendly, meaning great places to grow up and grow old. The award will support grants up to $140,000 from GIA to each of the five participating Community AGEnda communities, in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, and greater Kansas City. Funding for Community AGEnda is provided to GIA by the Pfizer Foundation.

America is getting older fast. Today, more than 40 million people in the United States are age 65 and older, and this number is projected to grow to nearly 89 million by 2050. Yet most communities are not preparing to take advantage of the opportunities — and meet the challenges — presented by a growing number of older adults.

“Supporting age-friendly goals is one of the best ways we can respond to the aging of our population, whether we are funders, nonprofits, elected officials, planners, business people, or private citizens,” said John Feather, PhD, CEO of Grantmakers In Aging. “The Community AGEnda teams have worked hard to identify the age-friendly goals that matter most to their regions, and are building the coalitions needed to pursue those goals in a sustainable way.”

Efforts to make communities age-friendly can include improving mobility and walkability; informing regional planning efforts; designing affordable, accessible housing; promoting healthy lifestyles; improving access to public services; and increasing volunteer, intergenerational, and social opportunities.

“The Pfizer Foundation recognizes the importance of helping our communities prepare wisely for the aging of our population, which is why we are pleased to support a second year of Community AGEnda,” said Caroline Roan, President of the Pfizer Foundation. “As the CDC recently noted in its ‘State of Aging and Health in America 2013,’ healthier lifestyles and improved mobility are important factors in improving older adults’ quality of life. Community AGEnda is pursuing these and other important age-friendly goals in creative, community-specific ways.”

GIA: Spreading the word about age-friendly communities
To help communities everywhere become more age-friendly, Grantmakers In Aging will also work on building awareness of the movement through several communications and knowledge-sharing projects including:

To spur greater philanthropic interest in age-friendly community development, GIA will lead a Funders Forum on Age-friendly Communities to offer education and collaborative funding opportunities to national and regional funders.

GIA will also be developing partnerships with a range of international and national organizations working in the age-friendly field.

Think local: making Community AGEnda sites more age-friendly 
Each Community AGEnda site, in order to qualify for the maximum grant amount from GIA, is also required to raise matching funds totaling at least $40,000, generally from local funders.

A few highlights of the work planned by Community AGEnda sites for the coming year include:

  • In greater Atlanta, the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) will use media and other means to spur a wider conversation about what communities need to do to help people age well in place. ARC will partner with Public Broadcasting Atlanta and WABE radio to collect older people’s stories, then broadcast a series of short pieces as well as a town hall-style meeting. ARC will also hold a series of intergenerational meetings and offer a one-day Planning Academy workshop for professional audiences on how to incorporate age-friendly design into their work.
  • In Maricopa County, Arizona, the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) will promote several new options for aging in place. MAG will support the first year activities of two new Villages in Arizona (The Villages are a national network of membership-driven grassroots organizations of neighbors helping neighbors). MAG will also support the local launch of Northwest Connections, part of the Independent Transportation Network, a national nonprofit transportation program for older adults.
  • In Miami-Dade County, Florida, the Health Foundation of South Florida (HSF) will continue to promote older adult employment opportunities and will add age-friendly revisions and input from older adults to long-term county planning documents concerning land use, community health and design, transit and transportation, and housing. HSF will continue its work on Safe Routes to Age in Place, which aims to make the East Little Havana neighborhood in Miami safer for walking and transit use, and will expand program offerings in 13 county parks that have been chosen to become more age-friendly and that will eventually house new Active Adults 55+ Wellness Support Centers.
  • Mid-America Regional Council (MARC), in greater Kansas City, will continue to improve older adult mobility and transportation as well as older driver and pedestrian safety through a Kansas City Communities for All Ages website and ad campaign, with a searchable database to help older people find good transportation options in the region. MARC will also create a checklist and a certification process, involving local officials, businesses, aging services providers, and others, to help four new communities gain designation as Communities for All Ages.
  • The Indiana Grantmakers Alliance will partner with the Center on Aging and Community at Indiana University to create and support Age- and Ability-Friendly Communities statewide in Indiana, by developing a community resource guide, working with funders to include AAFC principles in their grantmaking, and holding webinars and creating issue briefs for funders on supporting Complete Streets and social determinants of health.

By Steve Gurney

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