The Helen Andrus Benedict Foundation concentrates its grantmaking in two areas:
- Aging-friendly communities
- Older people in action for the community
The Issue: Most communities and neighborhoods were designed and developed to serve families with children, yet today two-thirds of American households have no children under the age of 18 in them. Some communities are beginning to adapt to meet the lifestyles and needs of the growing number of older people. Older people often bring stability to neighborhoods. They have the time and talent to provide leadership and service to our communities. They are a growing economic force for local businesses and employers. Making it possible for older people to be independent and active participants in our communities, benefits all.
The Goal: To create neighborhoods and communities in which people can grow older and maintain the maximum possible levels of independence
The Foundation will support:
- Community and neighborhood livability assessments and action plans, and monitoring
- Planning and action by coalitions and teams of community stakeholders, including older people, government, faith-based organizations, and nonprofit agencies
- Door-to-door transportation to necessary as well as enriching activities
- Programs that connect older adults to paying jobs
- Creation of self-sustaining businesses that meet the needs of older (and younger) people, including transportation, home repair, home-delivered groceries
- Development of a range of cost-effective supportive housing options and services that encourage the independence of older people
- Aging-friendly community training for emergency workers, postal delivery people, town planners, retail merchants like grocery stores and pharmacies, home utility workers, fire and police departments
OLDER PEOPLE IN ACTION FOR THE COMMUNITY
The Issue: Older people are enormous assets, and they are a growing resource. They have time, talent and experience to be tapped for the benefit of neighbors and neighborhoods. In addition, involvement in productive activities is a predictor of good health and successful aging. Communities are discovering the critical difference older volunteers can make with infants and children, in schools, with young families, with frail older people, and as civic leaders.
The Goal: To mobilize older people to volunteer their talents and abilities to enhance the quality of life for people of all ages in their communities.
The Foundation will support:
- Older volunteers dedicated to improving the academic performance and development of young people, and to creating caring environments for children and youth, within schools and other community-based organizations and institutions
- Older volunteers helping neighbors to continue to live independent lives and enhance their good health, fitness, and enjoyment of life
- Older volunteers in leadership, planning, and implementation roles for projects designed to enhance the livability or economic vitality of their communities
- Intergenerational initiatives in which older volunteers play leadership roles
- Initiatives designed to build older volunteer teams and networks in neighborhood locations, such as senior centers, apartment complexes, and faith communities, and to support their continued learning and growth as volunteers