(ATLANTA - Nov 01, 2012)
Community AGEnda grant from Grantmakers In Aging and Pfizer Foundation is part of $1.3 million national effort to help America’s towns and cities prepare for a growing older population
The Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) has been awarded a $150,000 grant from the Pfizer Foundation and Grantmakers In Aging (GIA), a national association of funders, as part of Community AGEnda: Improving America for All Ages. This new initiative is funding nonprofits in five U.S. cities to help accelerate local efforts to make communities more age-friendly and places where older adults can age in place and age well.
The grant will help fund ARC’s work with local stakeholders in four communities within the region – two neighborhoods in Clayton County, the cities of Morrow and Avondale Estates and the Tucker community in DeKalb County. ARC will use the funding to assess each community’s housing options, zoning ordinances and transportation choices. Using the result of community assessments surveys, ARC will make recommendations to improve infrastructure, establish health and wellness promotions and host workshops to raise awareness about the need to create age-friendly.
The funding will allow ARC to expand its Lifelong Communities initiative, which began more than three years ago, to transform the region into an age-friendly place. Through Lifelong Communities, ARC provides technical assistance to local governments and community groups that desire to develop and implement programs and policies to help keep older adults healthy, independent and in the neighborhoods and communities in which they have lived for years. In addition to Mableton in South Cobb County, eight cities and counties in the region over the last two years have successfully implemented a wide range of programs, activities and policies that support Lifelong Community principles.
“The ‘boomers’ flocked here seeking opportunity and a great lifestyle, and they have stayed for those same reasons,” said Tad Leithead, ARC chair. “Now, they are aging in place, and we now have many individuals reaching their senior years whose homes are far from transit and services. By creating age-friendly communities, the region’s older adults can remain engaged in the community and be able to find the services and programs they want and need to remain independent.”
ARC has raised additional funding from Clayton County Senior Services, Clayton County Community Development Department, the City of Morrow and the city of Avondale Estates exceeding the Community AGEnda match requirement. Additional grant requests are pending. ARC has also partnered with the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta – a foundation that connects donors, nonprofits and community leaders and others to strengthen the Greater Atlanta region through philanthropy.
“Research tells us that most people want to grow old in the places that matter most to them, around family and community,” said John Feather, PhD, CEO of Grantmakers In Aging. “But that’s only going to be possible if all of us — regional planners, elected officials, citizen groups, philanthropies, industry and others — start thinking and taking action now to put age-friendly ideas into practice. Supporting age-friendly development is a natural role for local philanthropies because of their unique knowledge of the people and particular needs of their own regions.”
America is getting older fast. Today, 40 million people in the United States are ages 65 and older, and this number is projected to more than double to 89 million by 2050. Yet most cities, towns and regions are not preparing to take advantage of the opportunities — and meet the challenges — presented by a growing number of older adults. Metro Atlanta’s 65+ population is expected to increase markedly as well, from one in 10 today to one in five by 2030.
“The aging of America’s population is one of the most important trends of the 21st Century, with tremendous implications for our future, our health, our economy and our quality of life,” said Caroline Roan, president of the Pfizer Foundation. “By partnering with Grantmakers In Aging, we believe we can promote health and wellness, advance the important national conversation around aging and help our communities take tangible steps to prepare for these huge demographic changes.”
A national-local collaboration
Community AGEnda is providing a total of $750,000 in funding to five communities or regions, and will use an additional $550,000 to assess and support the local efforts and inspire similar work across the country. This work includes promotional activities and the development of planning, assessment and strategy tools and other practical resources, including an online searchable database describing the growing number of age-friendly projects in the United States. The project will also gather national and regional funders to spur greater interest in age-friendly community development.
In addition to supporting the Lifelong Communities initiative in the Atlanta region, the Pfizer Foundation and Grantmakers in Aging are funding four other organizations that are undertaking similar work:
- Indiana Grantmakers Alliance in partnership with the Center on Aging and Community at Indiana University
- Mid-America Regional Council (Kansas City)
- Health Foundation of South Florida (Miami-Dade County)
- Maricopa Association of Governments (Phoenix)
About the Atlanta Regional Commission
The Atlanta Regional Commission is the official planning agency for the 10-county Atlanta Region. ARC serves as a catalyst for regional progress by focusing leadership, attention and planning resources on key regional issues. Additional information about Lifelong Communities Initiative is available at www.atlantaregional.com/llc.
About Grantmakers In Aging
Grantmakers In Aging (GIA) is an inclusive and responsive membership organization including all types of philanthropies with a common dedication to improve 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 www.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. In 2011, the Foundation provided over $16 million in grants and employee matching gifts to non-governmental organizations around the world. For more information, please visit Pfizer.com.
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Atlanta Regional Commission
Grantmakers In Aging