Grants fund efforts to advance policies and practices that support healthy aging

The Tufts Health Plan Foundation announced new community investments of more than $1.1 million in the area of policy and advocacy. These grants reflect the Foundation’s commitment to advancing age-friendly policies and practices that are relevant, focus on older adults, and include them in community solutions. The Foundation is also providing year-two support for an additional seven multi-year initiatives. In 2016, the Foundation invested more than $2.9 million in community.

“The momentum is building around age-friendly communities, and we are excited to partner with state and local leaders in their work to consider and include older adults,” said Nora Moreno Cargie, vice president, corporate citizenship for Tufts Health Plan and president of its Foundation. “We are proud collaborators on initiatives that promote cross-sector conversations, address challenges and inequities facing communities, and advance policies and practices that support people of all ages.”

The new investments include initiatives to improve access to affordable housing and supportive services for older adults; address gaps that limit access to services and healthy, nutritious food; and engage more seniors as advocates for their communities. They are aligned with the Foundation’s support for age-friendly communities.

The 13 new grants engage nearly 150 community organizations in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Twelve Policy and Advocacy grants address community and civic engagement as well as access to programs and services.

·        Rhode Island College Foundation (Providence, RI) Implementation of Aging in Community Report Recommendations
To support specific recommendations from the 2016 Aging in Community report that includes bolstering community-based services and making Rhode Island communities more age-friendly.
·        Senior Agenda Coalition (Providence, RI) Senior Voices for Aging in Community
To engage seniors and develop them as advocates for policy changes affecting their communities, specifically around transportation.
·        Citizens Housing and Planning Association (Boston, MA) Massachusetts Smart Growth Alliance
To engage organizations that serve older adults and people with disabilities to advocate for statewide zoning and housing development reform that creates walkable communities and increases housing options, both supporting growth of age-friendly communities.
·        Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiatives (Boston, MA) Development Without Displacement
To educate, train, and support residents as advocates for policy changes that result in stable, affordable housing and long-term plans that focus on development without displacement.
·        Friends of Jewish Community Housing for the Elderly (Brighton, MA) Housing for Seniors Advocacy Project
To develop/conduct research that provides evidence to advance policy changes promoting affordable senior housing that integrates supportive services.
·        Health Resources in Action (Boston, MA) Boston Alliance for Community Health
To train community residents to advocate for policies, systems, and environmental changes that make communities healthier for everyone as they age.
·        Healthy Waltham (Waltham, MA) Connections for Healthier Aging in Waltham
To support Waltham Connections, a collaboration of seniors and stakeholders from community organizations and city government that will focus on advocacy and develop programs to support diverse populations and address gaps in access.
·        Jewish Family and Children’s Services (Waltham, MA) Dementia-Friendly Massachusetts Initiative
To advance dementia-friendly initiatives that accelerate and expand systems and grassroots programs across Massachusetts.
·        Massachusetts Association of Home Care Programs/Area Agencies on Aging (Bedford, MA) The RIGHT Program: Rapid Integration for Good Health Transitions
To tackle barriers that limit care in community after a hospital discharge and advocate for improved policies and best practices that support healthy aging in community.
·        Massachusetts Law Reform Institute (Boston, MA) Elder Food Security Project
To improve and refine the system used to access Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits and ensure that older adults in most need are able to access and retain critical benefits.
·        Massachusetts Public Health Association (Boston, MA) Mobilizing for Prevention, Equity, and Age-Friendly Communities
To engage in statewide policy initiatives that support the development of age-friendly communities by addressing the social determinants of health such as access to affordable food, housing, and transportation.
·        Operation A.B.L.E. (Boston, MA) ABLE Employer Outreach and Education
To develop an advocacy and public awareness campaign that strengthens employers’ understanding of the value of mature workers and expands the network of those hiring mature workers.

The Foundation also awarded a grant under the Foundation’s Systems and Best Practices focus area. This investment supports:

·        Health Resources in Action (Boston, MA) Building Massachusetts’ Statewide Capacity to Effectively Conduct Health Impact Assessments and Community Health Improvement Initiatives        
To provide three regional trainings culminating in a statewide conference that mobilizes community partners in the coordination, identification, and initiation of health impact assessments for their regions and MA.

Established in 2008, Tufts Health Plan Foundation supports the health and wellness of the diverse communities we serve. The Foundation has given more than $24 million to Massachusetts and Rhode Island nonprofits that promote healthy living with an emphasis on older adults. This year, the Foundation began funding in New Hampshire. The Tufts Health Plan Foundation funds programs that move communities toward achieving age-friendly policies and practices that are relevant, focus on seniors, and include them in community solutions.