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Grantmakers In Aging Receives $1.49 Million Grant From the Pfizer Foundation to Support "Age-Friendly" Communities

WASHINGTON, DC and NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwired - October 23, 2014) - Grantmakers In Aging (GIA), a national association of funders, and the Pfizer Foundation today announced a third year of funding for the Community AGEnda Initiative to help American communities become more age-friendly, meaning great places to grow up and grow old. The Pfizer Foundation has granted GIA $1.49 million, from which the five participating Community AGEnda communities, in Maricopa County, Arizona; Miami-Dade County, Florida; metro Atlanta, Georgia; the state of Indiana; and the greater Kansas City region will each receive $120,000. Each site will also be required to raise at least $40,000 in local matching funds.

"With the aging population growing rapidly, we recognize the need to make our communities more age-friendly, helping people live better by staying involved, healthy, and independent, able to live in their own homes as long as they want to, and maintaining important connections to families, neighbors, and communities," said John Feather, PhD, CEO of Grantmakers In Aging. "We are proud to work with the Pfizer Foundation on this important initiative. The good news is that age-friendly communities are better places for people of all ages."

America is getting older fast, as more than 10,000 Boomers turn 65 every day. Yet most communities are not preparing to take advantage of the opportunities -- and meet the challenges -- presented by a growing number of older adults.

The steps that communities take to become more age-friendly vary, but often include efforts to become safer, healthier, and more walkable, and to ensure the availability of affordable and accessible housing, good transportation options for non-drivers, access to both paid work and volunteer opportunities, strong intergenerational connections, and access to well-coordinated health and social services.

"The global movement to make our communities more age-friendly is a smart and forward-looking response to our changing demographics," said Oonagh Puglisi, Executive Director of the Pfizer Foundation. "The Pfizer Foundation is pleased to support Community AGEnda for a third year. Both the Pfizer Foundation and Pfizer Inc. recognize that healthier lifestyles, improved mobility, and stronger connections to community are important factors in improving quality of life for older adults and everyone in our communities."

In its third year, Community AGEnda will place particular emphasis on sustainability, seeking to embed age-friendly principles in the work of participating and partner organizations, strengthen national and international partnerships, and create informational projects to support future age-friendly efforts.

Think local: making Community AGEnda sites more age-friendly

Here are a few select highlights from Community AGEnda sites for the coming year:

  • In greater Atlanta, the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) will support two Tactical Urbanism Demonstrations to show how urban planning can help create a lifelong community; develop a prototype four-year regional strategic plan on aging to guide the allocation of federal and state funding for aging; create a document to make the economic case for age-friendly work; and explore potential collaborations with foundations on age-friendly initiatives.
  • In Maricopa County, Arizona, the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) will launch a statewide Arizona Age-Friendly Network; host an annual conference on aging; continue to support three pilot sites addressing transportation needs or using the Village to Village model; and conduct a state-wide competition to choose the best age-friendly community.
  • In the greater Kansas City region, the Mid-America Regional Council (MARC) will continue to work with Kansas City's First Suburbs Coalition to implement the Communities for All Ages Recognition Program; create the Communities for All Ages Professional Network; conduct a Walk-Friendly Community Certification regional workshop; and host a four-part housing workshop on age-friendly home modification. 
  • In Miami-Dade County, Florida, the Health Foundation of South Florida (HFSF) will launch a community planning process that will identify age-friendly priorities; develop a three-year age-friendly action plan; continue age-friendly work on the county's master and transportation plans; expand an age-friendly business district in the Little Havana neighborhood; and convene an age-friendly summit for the region.
  • In Indiana, the Indiana Philanthropy Alliance will partner with the Center on Aging and Community at Indiana University to strengthen the statewide Lifelong Indiana Coalition; develop private sector initiatives for age- and ability-friendly housing options and economics opportunities in the city of Bloomington and along its B-line Trail; work with at least five Indiana community foundations to raise funds for future age-friendly activities; and create opportunities for five youth philanthropy programs (housed at community foundations) to engage older adults in their philanthropic programs.

In addition to the work of the five individual sites, Community AGEnda grantees in Arizona and Indiana will work together to explore approaches to helping rural communities become more age-friendly through local engagement and collaboration, and will receive $37,000 to identify and share promising practices in both states through an active learning network, site visits, a sister-city project, and an age-friendly community competition.

Building age-friendly connections

Working closely with leading age-friendly organizations, Grantmakers In Aging will also:

  • Host an invitational age-friendly leadership summit with a focus on sustainability in the spring of 2015;
  • Support GIA's Funders for Age-Friendly Communities interest group, which will hold six to eight learning circles, create educational materials, host webinars, and develop and nurture partnerships with funders and community organizations;
  • Work with Generations United to develop intergenerational materials and provide leadership training at GIA's annual conference; and
  • Work with the International Federation on Aging (IFA) to develop a series of original educational materials and webinars.

GIA: Spreading the word about age-friendly communities

To help communities everywhere become more age-friendly, Grantmakers In Aging will increase awareness of the movement through collaborative and knowledge-sharing projects with major age-friendly groups.

Year three will feature:

  • A series of age-friendly talking tools for practitioners;
  • An informational overview of the age-friendly movement geared to urban planners and transportation and housing professionals;
  • A series of age-friendly issue briefs;
  • A "lessons learned" paper based on the experiences of the Community AGEnda sites; and
  • "Say Hello," an intergenerational social media campaign and photo contest.

Earlier work has included infographics highlighting age-friendly facts and trends; short videos about the work of the Community AGEnda sites; an age-friendly photography contest; and a national searchable database of age-friendly programs across America, all available at www.GIAging.org/CommunityAGEnda

About Grantmakers In Aging (GIA)
Grantmakers In Aging is an inclusive and responsive membership organization comprised of all types of philanthropies with a common dedication to improving the experience of aging. GIA members have a shared recognition that a society that is better for older adults is a society that is better for people of all ages. For more information, please visit GIAging.org.

About The Pfizer Foundation
The Pfizer Foundation is a charitable organization established by Pfizer Inc. Its mission is to promote access to quality health care, to nurture innovation, and to support the community involvement of Pfizer colleagues. The Pfizer Foundation provides funding and resources to local and international organizations that expand and improve global health strategies. In 2013 the Foundation provided over $17.7 million in grants and employee matching gifts to non-governmental organizations across the United States.