Next50 Awards $2 Million In Innovation Grants to 20 Organizations Across the Country

DENVER, Colo. – Next50, a national foundation based in Denver focused on innovations in aging, announced today $2 million in grants to 20 organizations from Colorado and across the country that are working to improve the lives of older adults and their caregivers.

The Advancing Innovation in Aging funding opportunity is designed to support an organization in their work and efforts to rethink how people age, how they feel about aging, and how our society supports aging adults.

“We believe in powering innovation in aging,” said Peter Kaldes, President & CEO of Next50. “These partners demonstrated new and impactful ways to improve how they serve older adults.”

The organizations that received funding serve older adults across a myriad of areas, including caregiver support, combating ageism, community life, health, housing, research, social policy, social services, and transportation.

The organizations and the projects supported by Advancing Innovation in Aging include:

The Memory Care Alliance (Santa Fe, New Mexico) – This organization works to improve the lives of older adults with dementia and their caregivers in marginalized and disadvantaged communities. This project will expand into indigenous and Spanish-speaking areas to help build sustainable communities of caregivers for those living with dementia.

Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media (Marina del Rey, California) – The Institute will launch a one-year pilot program to highlight the stereotypical portrayals of older adults in television and movies. They seek to influence those working in the media to reshape the way older characters are written and represented on screen.

Grandmother Collective (Boston, Massachusetts) – This organization harnesses grandmothers’ and older women’s power and leadership abilities to drive community change and social impact. This project will partner with local older women from rural Appalachia in Eastern Kentucky to revitalize their community.

Jannus, Inc (Boise, Idaho) – As an organization that operates one of the only Memory Cafes in Idaho, Jannus will create a training program for other organizations to open their own. They will provide yearlong support to these community centers as they launch Memory Cafes to serve local older adults living with dementia and their caregivers.

North Fork Valley Creative Coalition (Paonia, Colorado) – This rural organization is collaborating with Think 360 Arts for Learning to create the first art program in the area dedicated to older adults. Workshops, classes, supplies, and studios will be offered free of cost to the local aging population to address their specific needs in a personalized, creative, and holistic way.

OUTstandingLife (Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts) – OUTstandingLife provides services and programming to support LGBTQ+ older adults. With this project, they will create a secure online senior center for older LGBTQ+ adults to develop meaningful social connections with other members of their community.

Town of Bristol Improvements Board (Bristol, Colorado) – The town of Bristol will be completing the first building constructed in over 100 years. This will be the only community center for older adults in the area, and it aims to serve as an innovative rural equity-in-aging model for programming within rural southeastern Colorado and beyond.

Charitable Pharmacy of Central Ohio (Columbus, Ohio) – This organization provides marginalized populations of Columbus, Ohio, with free non-narcotic medication and other health services. This project will expand their pharmaceutical offerings as well as offer older adults “food prescriptions” to provide them with free fresh produce, a necessity in an area designated as a food desert.

Dodge County Hospital Authority (Eastman, Georgia) – This hospital is located in a rural area that serves an entire community of marginalized older adults who do not otherwise have access to healthcare services. Funding will be used to launch a care coordination program for older adults managing chronic illness with a focus on addressing social determinants of health.

University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus (Aurora, Colorado) – In response to the underrepresentation of older adults in clinical research, CU Anschutz is creating a series of Research Roadshows to engage more older adults. Funds will be used to travel around the state of Colorado to engage with populations of older adults, providing opportunities to learn about and take part in research related to population-specific health matters.

Visiting Nurse Services in Westchester (White Plains, New York) – This organization helps patients recover from illness or injury, manage chronic health conditions, and assist with activities of daily living to empower older adults to age independently in their homes. This project will provide mobile robots to help with daily living, such as carrying groceries from the car or lighting the way to the bathroom.

Housing Resources of Western Colorado (Grand Junction, Colorado) – This project seeks to address the housing shortage in Mesa County that is impacting young people and older adults. Housing Resources of Western Colorado is developing an intergenerational village that will provide homes for older adults at risk of homelessness and for youth transitioning out of the foster care system.

Bell Policy Center (Denver, Colorado) – Bell Policy Center is designing and conducting a cost study of Colorado’s direct care ecosystem for older adults to examine the economic conditions for older adults, their families, and paid and unpaid caregivers. This study will close state-level data gaps on direct care, as well as provide tools for advocates looking to make systems and policy changes to benefit older adults.

Oklahoma State University (Stillwater, Oklahoma) – This project seeks to improve rural health outcomes across the lifespan by bringing together older adults and college-age students to focus on healthy aging views. Together, they will present to high school students to implement a new narrative on aging to show individuals across the lifespan the choices and opportunities they have.

Colorado Latino Leadership, Advocacy, & Research Organization (Denver, Colorado) – CLLARO will be conducting a community-based participatory research project with older Latinos in Colorado. The findings will be used to present policy recommendations to older adult care providers in Colorado based on the needs found within the Latino community.

Coming Home Connection (Santa Fe, New Mexico) – This organization helps older adults in need of temporary caregivers for a short period of time while they recuperate from surgery or other medical procedures. This project will partner with healthcare workers to identify older adults in need of these services, in addition to providing them with a week’s worth of meals from Kitchen Angels.

Creative Aging Network-NC (Greensboro, North Carolina) – This organization will launch an Arts for Wellness pilot project, which seeks to combine a creative arts curriculum with health screening, nutrition education, and skill sharing. This program seeks to improve the overall health and well-being of immigrant and refugee older adults through culturally relevant creative self-expression.

Montessori Intergenerational Learning Communities (Denver, Colorado) – This program recruits, trains, and deploys older adults to serve in early childhood centers throughout the state of Colorado as classroom volunteers. Funding will support two cohorts over the year with a focus on rural areas of the state.

Wholesome Wave Georgia (Atlanta, Georgia) – Wholesome Wave Georgia provides access to fresh, healthy, locally grown foods to older adults with a program that serves people who are eligible to receive SNAP benefits. This project will deploy mobile pop-up farmers markets to older adults at community centers to address the potential difficulty of transportation.

ITNAmerica (Westbrook, Maine) – ITN is launching a public information campaign to recruit volunteer drivers by changing the way American think about and support transportation for older adults. The organization will develop “America’s Volunteer Driving Center” portal where volunteers can sign up, then be screened, trained, and connected to nonprofit organizations that provide volunteer transportation services.