Presenting Our Elders’ Insights Report — What We’ve Learned So Far
In order to determine our programmatic strategy for our new $10 million Brooklyn Elders Fund we launched Elders Insights, a community outreach project modeled after Brooklyn Insights, in late 2018. Today we are pleased to share our Elders’ Insights report detailing what we’ve learned about the state of Brooklyn’s older adult communities.
Elders' Insights: Community Conversations
In Spring 2019 we held community conversations throughout the borough at local offices of nonprofits that serve older Brooklynites, and provided phone interviews to connect with homebound elders. Through the Elders' Insights process, we:
- Engaged 150 elders from 20 Brooklyn neighborhoods
- Held 15 community conversation sessions and 20 phone interviews
- Spoke with elders in 8 languages: English, Arabic, Cantonese, Haitian Creole, Mandarin, Russian, Spanish, and Yiddish
We started each conversation by recognizing the knowledge in the room—the elders were the experts of their lives and their experiences, and we came to them to listen and learn. We held conversations with elders on the issues and challenges they faced in 5 areas: home, health, transportation, relationships, and money.
Four common themes came out of our community conversations as areas that most concerned older Brooklynites in their daily lives: older adult programs, accessibility, program qualification, and healthcare coverage.
Following our community conversations with elders we held two leader roundtables to respond to the challenges older community members face. Engaging executive directors of elder-serving nonprofits in Brooklyn, funders in aging, and researchers on aging in New York City, we discussed potential paths for the Foundation to pursue in addressing concerns in the elder space, focusing on:
- Opportunities For Advocacy
- Existing Services
- Current Service Gaps
From Insights to Impact: Building the Brooklyn Elders Fund Strategy
As a Foundation we strive to build a more fair and just Brooklyn for all, informed and led by community voices. We are committed to continuing a community-informed process beyond our initial Elders Insights conversations. To that end, our Brooklyn Elders Fund will be advised by a group of rotating older Brooklynites that will work alongside program staff to inform our grantmaking and advocacy efforts.
The Brooklyn Elders Fund will be distributing approximately $500,000 annually towards the benefit of our older adult community, and over the coming months we will continue our work to identity where the Foundation can leverage the greatest impact in the elder space.
Brooklyn Elders Fund Grant Program
The 2019-2020 Brooklyn Elders Fund Grant Guidelines are now available, with Letters of Inquiry due Friday, October 11th. We will be funding organizations in the following three areas of focus:
- Aging in Place: We support organizations that work to keep older Brooklynites in their homes, recognizing them as a key part of the social fabric of their local communities. These programs position older adults as long-term leaders in their communities and give them the tools to challenge institutional barriers that limit opportunities and potential. We focus on investments in neighborhoods where quality programs are rare or non-existent.
- Promoting Elders’ Rights: We support both policy/advocacy and direct-service organizations that address the gaps that exist in the legal and healthcare coverage of older adults, including but not limited to promoting services not currently covered under public health care plans. These programs strive to improve the quality of life by transforming systems to meet the needs of all older adults and their caregivers.
- Access to Benefits and Entitlements: We support organizations that work to alleviate systemic barriers to older adults connecting to benefits and entitlements such as health care services and housing protections in order to lead healthy and happy lives.
Brooklyn Elders Fund Advisory Council
We are also now seeking applicants for our inaugural Brooklyn Elders Fund Advisory Council, an opportunity for older adults (ages 50+) to provide valuable contribution to our grant making through their expertise and lived experience. Our goal is to recognize and tap into Brooklyn community leaders committed to strengthening their neighborhoods and the borough. Download the application here.