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AARP announced the awardees for its 2019 AARP Community Challenge grant program, including four recipients right here in Massachusetts.

Nationally, a total of nearly $1.6 million will be distributed to fund 159 “quick action” projects across the country, helping communities make immediate improvements and jumpstart long-term progress to support residents of all ages. Nearly 1,700 applications were received from non-profits and government entities for the program, now in its third year. Each of the projects, which must be completed by November 4, is designed to achieve one or more of the following outcomes:

  • Create vibrant public places that improve open spaces, parks and access to other amenities.
  • Demonstrate the tangible value of “Smart Cities” by engaging residents and policymakers in accessing, understanding and using data to increase quality of life for all.
  • Deliver a range of transportation and mobility options that increase connectivity, walkability, bikeability, wayfinding, access to transportation options and roadway improvements.
  • Support the availability of a range of housing that increases accessible and affordable housing options.

Here in Massachusetts, grantees include:

  • The Town of Belchertown was granted $10,000 to install wayfinding signage and a kiosk with information in braille for the Lake Wallace Sensory Trail.
  • The City of Chelsea was awarded $8,750 for the Division Street Alley Project to create a safe corridor to connect pedestrians and cyclists to the library, senior center, a bus stop, and a grocery store.
  • The City of Boston was granted $10,000 to install three to five benches along Main Streets in 20 neighborhoods.
  • Beyond the Walls, Inc. of Lynn was granted $16,000 for the installation of four parklets and public art installations for their annual art festival.

Mike Festa, AARP Massachusetts State Director, praised the quality of projects proposed for the 2019 AARP Community Challenge.  “AARP’s nationwide Livable Communities initiative aims to make our communities great places to live for everyone.  The winning Community Challenge projects will make long-lasting, positive and impactful change.”

“AARP has teams on the ground in communities across the country who hear from mayors, community leaders and local residents about the value of getting quick wins to create long-term change. We developed the Community Challenge grant program to answer that call and help build momentum for more livable communities nationwide,” said Nancy LeaMond, AARP Executive Vice President, Community, State and National Affairs. “This year, we are proud to fund more projects in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.”

The full list of grantees can be found at www.aarp.org/communitychallenge.

The Community Challenge grant program is part of AARP’s nationwide Livable Communities initiative which helps communities become great places to live for residents of all ages. As part of this, AARP staff and volunteers are working across the country, engaging and mobilizing residents, delivering technical assistance and expertise to local leaders and organizations, and supporting the work of the 381 communities and four states that have enrolled in the AARP Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities

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The Innovative Stable Housing Initiative (ISHI) requests ideas from the Boston community (including individual or groups of residents, coalitions, or organizations) regarding what housing policies and systems should be changed and how. This Inquiry of Ideas (IOI) opportunity is the first step in designing a grantmaking process that is responsive to the needs of the community.

The ISHI is a pilot project funded by Boston Medical Center, Boston Children’s Hospital, and Brigham and Women’s Hospital as part of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s Determination of Need Community Health Initiative. With a combined investment of almost $3 million dollars over three years, ISHI’s goal is to identify, assess, and fund strategic approaches to increase housing stability for our most vulnerable populations.

By completing this short application, you can inform a future funding opportunity focused on UPSTREAM issues to create solutions to the present housing crisis in Boston. All ISHI funding opportunities are designed to support populations at risk of losing housing or those who seek safe and healthy housing.

Upstream Fund resources support ideas that will make lasting changes in policies or systems to help residents find safe and healthy housing and help residents at risk of losing their home or apartment.

Examples of Upstream efforts include:

  • Policies to increase community control over land use and development through changes to planning and zoning policies and practices
  • Policies to increase renter and homeowner protections to maintain and expand long-term access to affordable housing

Total Grant Funds: $927,800 over three years
Year One Award Amount: TBD
IOI Application Deadline: Monday, July 22, 2019

Online applications can be submitted here. Paper forms can be found here and emailed to Amanda Ayers, aayers@hria.org AND Jamiah Tappin, jtappin@hria.org.

For more details on the application and ISHI process, please click here.

Any questions, please reach out directly to Jamiah Tappin at jtappin@hria.org.

Visit www.ISHIBoston.org to learn more.

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Join staff from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and Health Resources in Action (HRiA) to learn about two exciting new Massachusetts funds focused on community health and health equity: the Statewide Community Health Initiative (CHI) Fund and the Healthy Aging Fund.

These funds provide capacity and funding in three areas:

  • Policy, systems, and environmental change approaches
  • Community Healthy Improvement Plan (CHIP) processes
  • Healthy aging

Through the webinars, you will:

  • Receive information about who is eligible to apply and what may be considered for funding
  • Understand how to share an idea to be considered for funding
  • Learn about the funds’ history, rationale, investment process, and first funding cycle timeline

Webinar Info:

Policy, Systems, and Environmental Change Funding Announcement Webinar
August 13, 2019, 2:00 – 3:00 PM | Register here: http://bit.ly/policy-chi

Healthy Aging Funding Announcement Webinar
August 14, 2019, 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM | Register here: http://bit.ly/healthy-aging-chi

Community Health Improvement Planning Processes Funding Announcement Webinar
August 15, 2019, 12:00 – 1:00 PM | Register here: http://bit.ly/chip-chi

Questions? Contact StatewideCHIFund@hria.org or HealthyAgingFund@hria.org.
For additional information, visit https://hria.org/projects/massachusetts-chi-funds/.

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The Massachusetts Healthy Aging Collaborative have promoted community benefits support provided by Massachusetts hospitals and Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) as a potential Age- and Dementia Friendly Funding opportunity. According to reports recently published by Attorney General Maura Healey’s Office, the state’s hospitals and HMOs distributed $800 million across Massachusetts in fiscal year 2018.

“Investments by Massachusetts hospitals and HMOs are integral to addressing community health needs,” said AG Healey said. “I want to thank Massachusetts hospitals, health plans, and community advocates for their ongoing support of important local programs that fund free and discounted medical care, create healthy conditions for our residents, and reduce healthcare disparities in our communities.”

In its ongoing efforts to ensure transparency and accountability in health care spending, the Attorney General’s Office has launched a new website for annual reports. This website features quick downloads and a clear, accessible interface, making finding and downloading reports easy. The website contains all reports since 2001, catalogued by year, with a custom report download function. The site also allows the public to see detailed information on hospital and HMO community benefit programs and their plans for future engagement.

A total of 58 hospitals filed Community Benefits reports for Fiscal Year 2018. Forty-eight nonprofit acute care hospitals reported a total of $596 million in Community Benefit expenditures, of which $263 million was reported for free or discounted care provided directly to patients. In addition, 10 for-profit hospitals reported nearly $45 million in Community Benefit expenditures, $27 million of which was reported as free or discounted care for patients.

Six HMOs filed Community Benefits reports for Fiscal Year 2018. They reported $160 million in Community Benefits expenditures. In addition to funding a range of community benefits programs, these HMOs contributed nearly $107 million to the state’s Health Safety Net, which pays for care for uninsured and underinsured residents who do not have access to affordable health coverage.

AG Healey’s Community Benefits Program supports a key component of the mission of hospitals and HMOs. The office’s Community Benefits Guidelines encourage hospitals and HMOs to build upon their commitment to address unmet community health needs each year by formalizing their approach to planning for annual benefits, collaborating with community representatives in developing programs, and filing annual reports with the Attorney General’s Office on their efforts.

In 2017, AG Healey convened health care experts to examine updates to the AG’s Community Benefits Program and undertook a yearlong revision of the guidelines to establish a more collaborative and community-driven approach by hospitals and HMOs in Massachusetts. The updated Community Benefits Guidelines were published in February 2018 and will be fully effective starting in Fiscal Year 2019. The new guidelines improve coordination of hundreds of millions of dollars in community health programs made by hospitals and HMOs.

In its ongoing efforts to ensure transparency and accountability in health care spending, the Attorney General’s Office has launched a new website for annual reports. This website features quick downloads and a clear, accessible interface, making finding and downloading reports easy. The website contains all reports since 2001, catalogued by year, with a custom report download function. The site also allows the public to see detailed information on hospital and HMO community benefit programs and their plans for future engagement.

The Community Benefits Program is managed by Assistant Attorneys General Sandra Wolitzky and Amara Azubuike of AG Healey’s Health Care Division.

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Age-Friendly Berkshires released a video describing their regional and collaborative effort to create a collection of communities that supports all ages and those living with dementia.

The coalition hosted a screening of their new video at Berkshire Community College with Elder Affairs Secretary Elizabeth Chen and AARP Massachusetts Director Mike Festa offering remarks. Local news covered the event where the group presented their story and some of the action items they plan to pursue such as a local Age-Friendly business designation.

The video is posted on YouTube and is available to view below. It serves as a great example of what the Age-Friendly movement is about and what can take place in any community.

AFB FINAL FULL VIDEO - YouTube

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MetroCommon 2050 is Greater Boston’s next long-range plan, and it’s under development now led by the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC). Fresh off of a months-long public process to understand the future residents want for the region, including an input session with the Healthy Aging Collaborative Advisory Council, MAPC is sharing the goals that emerged from that work.

Currently dubbed “provisional” goals, MAPC is still accepting input and invites the public to share thoughts and feedback and stay tuned the next phase of MetroCommon, as MAPC researches, identifies, and discusses best practices and policies that will help them achieve the region’s vision. Click here for the Provisional Goals.

To help advance the plan and its goals, MAPC has announced the MetroCommon 2050 mini-grants. This Age-Friendly funding opportunity is meant to support community partners to help MAPC with outreach, events, and collecting input in harder to-reach communities. Voices of people from those communities will be crucial in developing the plan content and shaping the future of the Greater Boston region. MAPC wants to hear from the region, and so they are providing resources to those who will help them reach underserved populations.

The Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) is now accepting applications for the MetroCommon 2050 Outreach Mini-Grant Program on a rolling basis until December 2020 for outreach projects to be completed between now and Spring 2021. Learn more here.

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The desire to remain in our homes and communities as we age is nearly universal, and good ideas have no borders. As the world’s population gets permanently older, there is a growing need for safe, supportive housing and housing-related services and arrangements to promote health, prevent injury, delay the need for institutional care, reduce social isolation, and build intergenerational connection and stronger families and communities.

In its latest report, Innovation@Home: Approaches to Successful Aging in Community from 25 Countries: An Introduction for Funders, Grantmakers In Aging (GIA), a national membership organization of philanthropies, presents a host of promising approaches to aging in community from around the world intended to provide inspiration and replicable ideas for philanthropies, governments, communities, social service organizations, and industry.

Download the full paper here.

Many Possibilities and a Challenge to Philanthropy
One key finding is that ideas do not have to be brand new or complicated to be effective. “We often hear about the large-scale construction of custom facilities, but it’s also important for those of us in philanthropy to remember that undertaking smaller efforts, or putting into practice ideas that are already working elsewhere may ultimately be more cost-effective and help more people,” says John Feather, CEO of Grantmakers In Aging (GIA).

The Innovation@Home guide is part of GIA’s larger Innovation@Home initiative, supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), which also featured a contest, co-sponsored by the WHO, to gather international examples of aging in community. Almost all contest entries became part of the WHO’s Database of Global Age-friendly Practices and several are profiled in the report.

“From age-friendly doormen in Brazil to intergenerational family loans in Belgium, we have a lot we can learn from the ideas captured in this report,” said Susan Mende, senior program officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “We hope these efforts from around the world will inspire similar approaches in the US that keep older adults in their own communities as they age and create more inclusive communities for all.”

The many different models, pilots, and grassroots efforts that are sometimes short-handed as “age-friendly housing” are explored according to six themes:

  • The many ways of sharing housing;
  • Approaches for retrofitting existing homes;
  • Approaches to building new structures;
  • Policies and practices for supporting people so they can live at home;
  • Monitoring and other technology-based approaches; and
  • Incentivizing positive behaviors through zoning, policy, and funding.

No single model will work everywhere, and some are closely tied to local policies or funding options. Many successful approaches focus on involving volunteers, increasing community engagement, and improving coordination and availability of services in entire neighborhoods, not just individuals’ homes.

The report includes insight from international thought leaders but also stresses the importance of listening and respecting the strengths and preferences of older adults.

Finally, bricks and mortar are only part of the story: the broader goal is to find programs and strategies to help ensure that that we can all avoid social and physical isolation as we get older and remain engaged and involved with our families and communities.

About Grantmakers In Aging
Grantmakers In Aging (GIA) 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 better for people of all ages. For more information, please visit GIAging.org.

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Staff of Councils on Aging (COAs), Aging Service Access Points (ASAPs), and other aging services providers are invited to a presentation on tools to help older adults find and use local transportation options, as well as strategies organizations can use to fill gaps in the transportation network.

The presentation will be offered by MassMobility, an initiative of the state Executive Office of Health and Human Services.

  • Thursday, July 25, 10am-11:30am
  • Hosted by Mystic Valley Elder Services, 300 Commercial St. #19, Malden, main conference room
  • Directions: 0.7 mile walk from Malden Center MBTA orange line station; free parking available

The Governor’s Council to Address Aging recommended making better use of existing transportation resources and providing training for aging services providers on helping older adults transition to alternatives to driving. MassMobility is partnering with the Executive Office of Elder Affairs, MassDOT, the Barr Foundation, and other Council members to implement these recommendations. In addition to offering live presentations, we will also record the training in video form. Please join us on July 25 as we pilot this presentation. Attendees will have the opportunity to share feedback for us to incorporate in the recorded version.

All are welcome. The presentation is targeted to frontline staff members who work directly with older adults. We hope you can join us!

If you are interested in hosting a similar presentation in the future, please contact rachel.fichtenbaum@state.ma.us

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Tufts Health Plan Foundation’s mission is to improve the health and wellness of the diverse communities we serve, with a focus on healthy aging. At the core of their work is the belief that older people are a critical asset to building and sustaining vibrant and healthy communities.

The Foundation’s Momentum Fund is a mini-grant program designed to build on our region’s energy, experiences and insights to create cities and towns that are great places to grow up and grow old. Momentum Fund mini-grants support communities in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island promoting healthy aging. One-year mini-grants of up to $10,000 will be awarded.

We welcome the opportunity to connect about your idea before the application deadline. Please email Kimberly_Blakemore@tufts-health.comto schedule a time to speak.

View 2018 Momentum Fund grants (pdf)

Download printable guidelines (pdf)

Key Dates
  • September 19, 2019: Momentum Fund applications due by 4 p.m. Eastern Time
  • Week of October 28, 2019: Applicants notified of decisions
  • November 1, 2019: Grant awards begin
Information Session
  • Date: Thursday, August 22, 2019
  • Time: 2 – 3 p.m.
  • Location: Webinar

Register to attend the webinar information session.

If you have questions you would like them to address, please share them on your registration form.

More info is available on the Foundation’s Momentum Fund webpage.

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Citizens Housing and Planning Association (CHAPA) is pleased to announce that they are now accepting applications for 2-3 new communities to join their Municipal Engagement Initiative. To obtain an application, please go to this website to start the process. Complete applications must be submitted via email to Dana LeWinter, Municipal Engagement Director, at dlewinter@chapa.org by 5 PM on Thursday, August 8, 2019.

CHAPA’s Municipal Engagement Initiative seeks to help communities to build support for affordable housing production in cities and towns across the Commonwealth. CHAPA’s Municipal Engagement staff works with local municipalities and community groups to conduct public education efforts in support of their housing production efforts, with an emphasis on increasing affordable housing. Strategies will be developed to work within the context and goals of each community.

While all communities will benefit from public education and community discussions about the need for housing development and how it benefits communities economically, each community is unique in its character, land, zoning, and housing stock. CHAPA strives to develop a community engagement model that will broadly work in all communities while allowing for flexibility in the model to work within each unique environment. The Municipal Engagement Initiative is based on the collaborative model CHAPA uses at the state level, focusing on building coalitions that work together to address each community’s housing challenges. Coalition building at the local level will bring together stakeholders representing local businesses, civic groups, houses of worship, and other groups and individuals that are active in each community.

In addition to meeting the required criteria outlined below, all applications should align with CHAPA’s mission to encourage the production and preservation of housing that is affordable to low and moderate income families and individuals and to foster diverse and sustainable communities through planning and community development.

Both Municipal Governments and Community Organizations are encouraged to apply.

Applications will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

Required:

  1. Market Conditions to support Housing Production and Affordable Housing
  2. Additional Conditions needed to build support. Examples of conditions that indicate need may include, but are not limited to:
    • Municipal staff seeking assistance to engage community around housing production and affordable housing,
    • Local advocacy or community group seeking assistance to engage community,
    • No existing coalition,
    • High level of organized opposition preventing municipality from moving forward with efforts to produce housing,
    • Close votes on zoning and development proposals, or
    • Missed opportunities identified
  3. Welcomed by Municipality at some level (Mayor, Town Manager, ZBA, Planning Staff, Fair Housing Commission, etc.)

Additional Considerations:

  1. Trigger: New Zoning proposal, specific site changing hands, public site available for affordable housing, new leadership, new regulation or policy being explored
  2. Past Effort: Consideration will be gievn to past efforts, barriers, challenges, and potential for impact
  3. Collaboration with other Technical Assistance efforts: The MEI seeks to coordinate efforts with other technical assistance providers to maximize impact

Note: Attention will be paid to reaching communities of different sizes, geographies and stages of housing production activity, but this will not be the only criteria.

To obtain an application, please go to this website to start the process. For more information, please visit the CHAPA Municipal Engagement Initiative webpage or contact Dana LeWinter, Director of Municipal Engagement, at dlewinter@chapa.org or 617-701-7479.

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