Older Adults

Older Adults

This is the single largest area of grantmaking by The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation. The Foundation remains committed to providing support to older adults to live dignified, meaningful, and engaged lives in the community and to maintain their independence for as long as possible.

Elderly funding is the largest portion of the Weinberg Foundation’s grants budget

There are three principle reasons for the Foundation’s large allocation to older adults:

  • Harry Weinberg frequently spoke of his empathy for those who struggled all of their lives to provide for their families, but, because of advancing age and related factors, could no longer properly care for themselves and their spouses.
  • The number of older adults who need some type of assistance is increasing exponentially.
  • Longer life expectancies, greater financial need, health care costs, and isolation from family members have exacerbated the problem. Many older adults require assistance with the basic necessities of life.

Geographic focus:

  • National
  • Israel & Former Soviet Union
  • Preference given to “hometown communities”:
    Baltimore, Northeastern Pennsylvania, and Hawaii

Goal

myerbergseniorcenter-oa_The Foundation’s major goal continues to be provision of help to older adults to live dignified, meaningful, and engaged lives in the community and to maintain their independence for as long as possible.

 

Principles for grantmaking (US & Israel)

If you are seeking a grant within “Older Adults,” you should be able to answer “yes” to the following questions. 

Does this grant–

  1. Serve the poorest? All grants must target populations well below the area median income level. Populations at even lower incomes are further prioritized.
  2. Serve the most vulnerable? The Foundation prioritizes proposals that help older adults with the highest levels of functional need, physical, mental, and financial.
  3. Address the most basic needs? The Foundation prioritizes support for organizations or programs addressing the most basic needs. This includes food, housing, and income security, as well as long term care. Basic needs also include supports for activities of daily living, and initiatives to maintain functional status by delaying the onset of disability.
  4. Build the field? The Foundation looks for how an individual grant might help to “build the field” of supports and services for poor older adults. Building the field might be indicated by especially strong collaborations at the community level, the ability to leverage or strengthen other resources, to test a new model to see if it is replicable, or the promotion of systems of care. Sharing information also builds the field. The key to this principle is this question, “What can the project, either service delivery or capital, teach the larger field of aging?” The Foundation expects that programs funded by the Foundation outside of Maryland and Northeastern Pennsylvania will have a written agreement to share and/or replicate their work with organizations in Maryland and/or Northeastern Pennsylvania. Israeli applicants should be able to describe how they will share and/or replicate their work with others in Israel.

Your first step in the grants process is the Letter of Inquiry (LOI) (US & Israel)

LOIs are accepted on a rolling basis

  • Grants are made in one of three categories: General Operating Support, Program Support, Capital Project
  • Each type of grant requires its own specific LOI
  • The Foundation will confirm receipt of each LOI within 30 days

Please click here to review our guidelines for your LOI.  Also, please contact Michael Marcus, Program Director for Older Adults, *before* submitting your LOI. You can reach him by email at mmarcus@hjweinberg.org or by phone at 410-654-8500, ext. 244.

Your LOI for “Older Adults” should answer the following questions:

  • How does the proposed project build the field of aging? What can the larger field learn from the work being proposed?
  • How will the knowledge derived from this project be disseminated to the larger field of aging?
  • Is there a plan for sustaining the proposed project after Weinberg funding has ended? Please cite a portion of that plan.

Please contact Nakia Horton, Gifts Administrator, at 410-654-8500, ext. 254 or nhorton@hjweinberg.org, if you have any questions about the LOI process or the status of your LOI.

Capital and Program Priorities (US & Israel)

The Foundation has identified several priority areas for capital and operating or program grants within the older adults portfolio.

Primarily Capital Grants

  • Residential care facilities
    The Foundation makes capital grants to residential care facilities, including nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and “old age homes” that are implementing “culture change.” The culture change model strives to make residential care facilities home-like. One example of this type of model in the US is the Green House concept. The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation has taken a lead funding role in the development of these residences that represent a radical departure from traditional nursing homes. Likewise, in Israel, Eshel has taken a lead in providing training for residential care facilities who wish to adopt a culture change model. Both of these models have a “person-centered” philosophy or approach, that involves individuals in service planning, focuses on strengths as opposed to deficits, and allows individuals to make decisions about how they live their daily lives, such as when they wake or eat. The individual, not the delivery of medical care or concern about liability, is at the center of all care plans and decisions.
  • Housing construction and repair
    These are primarily capital projects to construct and rehabilitate housing for older adults. Home repair and home modification programs would also be included in this area. The lack of safe, accessible, affordable housing is a major barrier to helping older adults age in the setting of their choice. Housing construction and repair projects should be based on universal design and smart growth principles. All capital projects should have a plan for resident access to services, which is instrumental to the project.
  • Community-based facilities (US)
    This includes senior centers, adult day program sites, shared use sites, and other facilities that provide non-institutional services and supports to older adults outside of the home. Funding would include capital grants for construction of new facilities or rehabilitation of existing facilities. It would also include operating or program grants to support the facilities or their programs. Consistent with the emphasis on basic needs and vulnerable older adults, prioritization will be given to those facilities offering higher-level interventions, such as help with activities of daily living, health care, and medical monitoring. Community-based facility capital projects should be based on universal design and smart growth principles.
  • Community-based facilities (Israel) 
    This includes senior centers, shared use sites, and other facilities that provide multi-level services to older adults of all abilities. These are facilities intended to help older adults age in place. Particularly attractive are projects that are intended to host intergenerational activities or are part of a campus or complex of buildings that host intergenerational activities. Also attractive are projects intended to serve as the center of supportive community programming. Funding would include capital grants for construction of new facilities or rehabilitation of existing facilities. It would also include operating or program grants to support the facilities or their programs. Consistent with the emphasis on basic needs and vulnerable older adults, prioritization will be given to those facilities offering higher-level interventions, such as help with activities of daily living, health care, and medical monitoring. Community-based facility capital projects should be based on universal design and smart growth principles.                                                                               

Capital Grant-Specific Questions for Letter of Inquiry (LOI) (US & Israel):

  • Regarding proposals for long term care facilities, how will the new facility directly support a culture change model of service delivery?
  • Regarding proposals for affordable housing, what is the plan for making services available to residents?
  • Regarding proposals for community based facilities, what is the plan for sharing this facility with other service delivery organizations, including, but not limited to, those which may serve children and youth? For Israeli applicants, how does this facility provide supports and services for older adults with multiple levels of abilities? What is the programming plan for older adults with multiple levels of abilities?

Primarily Operating or Program Grants

  • Community-based services and supports to meet the most basic needs (US & Israel)
    Community-based services and supports are essential to help older adults remain independent. They are low-cost relative to institutional care but are not sufficiently covered by public or private sources. This area specifically focuses on basic needs and higher level interventions. Foremost, this area will seek to fund projects that focus on elder homelessness and elder abuse emergency services, including shelter and the creation of supportive communities. In the US, the Weinberg Foundation also prioritizes projects that aim to reduce unnecessary hospitalizations and readmissions. Because maintenance of functional status is central to independence, interventions to delay the onset or progression of disability or dementia may also be covered. In Israel however, the Foundation is particularly interested in the notion of “no wrong door”: participation in one program opens up the door to a range of supports and services necessary to help an older adult remain in the community as long as possible.
  • Informal caregiver support (US & Israel)
    This area addresses information and resources for unpaid caregivers, including friends and family. Respite and training are key needs among caregivers. In the US, the Foundation has increasingly focused on informal caregiver support via the Caregiver Initiative. This three-year program, which began in 2009, provides $8 million for 14 projects in 9 states (please see the dedicated link to the Program’s website on the Foundation’s home page). In Israel, a similar initiative by Eshel operated from 2010 to 2012. Here, priority will be given to projects that include elements of the best practice findings of the two initiatives. Of particular interest are projects that are community based and involve the collaboration of a number of agencies or organizations. The Foundation is also interested in projects that provide support and training for paid caregivers, particularly those projects that seek to improve the quality of care received by frail and chronically ill older adults. Efforts to improve quality must be multi-faceted, addressing training for employees and management, wages, retention, and workplace culture. This also overlaps with the Foundation’s workforce development goals to help individuals obtain and keep career track employment.
  • Promotion of professional long-term care workforce (US)
    By 2016, it is projected that the U.S. will need four million direct care workers. This gap between demand for workers and supply will widen through 2030 as the baby boom generation ages. In addition to increasing the sheer numbers of direct care workers, we also need to improve quality. Efforts to improve quality must be multi-faceted, addressing training for employees and management, wages, retention, and workplace culture. This also overlaps with the Foundation’s workforce development goals to help individuals obtain and keep career track employment.
  • Developing an older adult workforce (Israel) 
    Israel’s older adults face even greater barriers to employment than their US counterparts. Semi-mandatory retirement at age 62 for women and 67 for men reinforces old myths about the unreliability and lack of desirability of older workers. Those who have hired older workers have, anecdotally, often found that older workers are reliable, willing, and able to learn new skills; bring wisdom and a level of responsibility to the job others may not have; and bring stability to the work place. The Foundation is interested in reviewing and funding projects that train and place older adults in the mainstream labor market, open up labor market opportunities for older workers, and provide opportunities for older workers to develop and implement new sources of income. 
  • Economic Security (US)
    This area focuses on low-income older adults facing the most challenging economic situations, including foreclosure, bankruptcy, or very low base income through Social Security or SSI, as well as issues associated with access to pensions. There are many federal, state, and local programs providing important direct services that may help older adults deal with their situation. This service array includes employment training, job placement, debt counseling, financial coaching and literacy, housing counseling, and benefits and health access. Unfortunately, many individuals are eligible for, but are not enrolled in these programs. There are a variety of reasons for this, such as lack of awareness; stigma associated with enrolling in government programs; requirements to renew enrollment over time; the difficulty of getting information on multiple programs from a single source; and the fact that many people often do not seek out help until they are at a crisis point. Proposals could include individualized face-to-face outreach, support, or legal representation.

For more information or if you have questions, please contact Michael Marcus, Program Director, Older Adults; mmarcus@hjweinberg.org or 410-654-8500, ext. 244.

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