Initiatives will help bring equity-driven, age-friendly projects to neighborhoods
(Buffalo and Syracuse, NY) The Health Foundation for Western & Central New York, in partnership with The New York Academy of Medicine, has announced 18 new grantee partnerships through their Age-Friendly: Go Local program. Age-Friendly: Go Local is an initiative announced in 2022 to support neighborhood-level groups and organizations in building equitable communities through locally-focused healthy aging projects.
In addition to funding, grantee partners will also participate in a learning collaborative conducted by The New York Academy of Medicine’s Center for Healthy Aging that will connect members to each other for knowledge sharing.
A request for proposals was released by the Health Foundation in September 2022, resulting in 35 applications. Ten projects from central New York and eight projects from western New York were funded.
The concept of “age-friendly communities” was developed by the World Health Organization. The framework proposes eight interconnected domains that can help to identify and address barriers to the well-being and participation of older people in communities. Communities that are resourced and planned with these eight domains in mind have been shown to lead to healthier outcomes for people of all ages.
Age-Friendly: Go Local prioritizes projects that increase intergenerational interaction, improve access and ability to navigate health and human service systems, and foster livability at the neighborhood level, as well as organizations serving low-income, BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color), and rural communities.
“These Age-Friendly: Go Local grantee partners are leading innovative, transformative work for the people in their communities, and we are proud to support these efforts,” said Nora OBrien-Suric, PhD, President, Health Foundation for Western & Central New York. “By bringing healthy aging principles to the neighborhood level, these initiatives will help create places across western and central New York where people of all ages can thrive.”
“NYAM’s long-standing commitment to health equity and inclusivity for older adults across New York State makes the Age-Friendly: Go Local partnership with the Health Foundation for Western and Central New York a mission-critical initiative,” said NYAM President Ann Kurth, PhD, CNM, MPH. “We look forward to providing the collaborative and emerging community-based organizations with strategic and operational support to positively impact the lives of older adults in their communities.”
“In partnering with the Health Foundation for Western and Central New York on Age-Friendly: Go Local, we are pleased to expand our long-standing partnership and the transformative power of collaboration and shared learning,” said Elana Kieffer, MBA, Director of the Center for Healthy Aging at NYAM. “Supporting the innovative local organizations reach their goals will help older adults to age-in-community.”
The funded projects are:
Central New York
50 Forward Mohawk Valley – Oneida County – $10,000
This project will focus on closing the digital divide for older adults living on the west side of Utica. Through collaboration with Utica Public Library, 50 Forward Mohawk Valley will connect members of the public to resources and train them on a host of issues including accessing telehealth services. By learning digital literacy skills, they will be able to better connect to community and health services.
Blueprint15 Inc – Onondaga County – $10,000
Funding will support development of an intergenerational reading program for Black grandfathers and their grandchildren. The project will include four events to bring in 200+ members of the community. The goal is to foster respect and social inclusion and combat ageism between generations.
Bishop’s Commons at St. Luke’s – Oswego County – $9,350
This intergenerational project will bring senior housing residents and high school students together to learn the history of Oswego. The project will run for two semesters and will allow participants to share their recollections of historic events. Through this program, the age- friendly domain of ‘social participation’ will be promoted.
Fulton Block Builders – Oswego County – $19,740
Using the arts and older adults’ experiences, Fulton Block Builders will educate the community through three events on the historical significance of Fulton, NY. Older adult communities will be engaged to participate and lead these events. This will build upon other city-wide events in Fulton with a goal to see increased social participation of older adults throughout the year.
Herkimer County HealthNet – Herkimer County – $10,000
This project builds on the work Herkimer County accomplished as a participant in the Health and Age Across All Policies learning collaborative. Funding will support analyzing age-friendly community surveys and identifying implementation plan priorities. They will gather additional feedback through community events and by engaging local municipalities.
InterFaith Works of CNY – Onondaga County – $10,000
The Greater Syracuse Aging Services Coalition will work with community centers to identify barriers to reaching socially isolated older adults. The coalition will also engage the community to understand what gaps in services older adults face in different parts of the city of Syracuse to improve community and health services.
Madison County Rural Health Council – Madison County – $25,000
Funding will support improving transportation throughout Madison County by engaging older adults with education on transportation options and fall prevention while traveling. Madison will also host community convenings to identify gaps in services and will work with local municipalities to improve transportation through policy change and adjustments to bus routes.
SAGE Upstate – Onondaga County – $10,000
SAGE Upstate will develop a LGBTQ+ congregate dining program using LGBTQ+ owned restaurants. During the lunch hour, there will be presentations on what community and health services are available for older adults. This project is led in coordination with the Onondaga County Department of Aging, who, if the project shows success, can provide continued funding and replication.
Syracuse Northeast Community Center – Onondaga County – $25,000
Funding will support the co-design of programming with older adult immigrants and refugees, using the Life Needs Assessment tool to measure impact of various programs. Following the assessment, they will work with the Onondaga County Department of Aging to implement and adjust delivery of community and health services for New Americans while increasing social participation.
Women of PEARLS – Onondaga County – $25,000
Women of PEARLS will develop wellness activities for older Black women in the city of Syracuse. The goal is to create a safe place for them to exercise how and where they want. The goal is to improve respect and social inclusion of older Black women, as well as to increase social participation.
Western New York
Ardent Solutions Inc. – Allegany County -$25,000
Funding will support planning and activities needed to establish an Age-Friendly University at Alfred University. This includes looking at making the university a more welcoming place for older adults through community events and enrollment. They will also examine how they conduct research to include a greater focus on older adults.
Community Health Center of Buffalo – Erie, Niagara Counties – $25,000
The goal of this project is to create community-based resource hubs using age-friendly principles in the eastside of Buffalo, Niagara Falls, and Lockport. The goal is to improve access to community and health services. This will complement the work they are doing with age-friendly health systems.
Grassroots Gardens – Erie County – $25,000
The goal of this project is to increase the number of older adults that participate in community gardens planting and harvesting, and to co-design structural improvements to the gardens. By the end of the 2023 gardening season, they will identify and implement accessible community garden improvements with older adults in the eastside of Buffalo. This will improve outdoor space and increase social participation of older adults.
Genesee County YMCA – Genesee County – $25,000
With this funding, YMCA will implement outreach and educational events in the older adult community that will inform the design of their new facility and the programs they provide. From these efforts they will be better equipped to engage local older adults that do not currently use their services and identify which adaptive equipment they should acquire so people of all abilities can use their facility. This will increase older adult access to community and wellness programming.
GO Bike Buffalo – Erie County – $25,000
Go Bike will complete an assessment and develop plans for improving walkability and bikeability in the Village of Blasdell, specifically focusing on neighborhoods with senior housing complexes. The Town of Hamburg will partner and provide $50,000 to support the project, providing the learning collaborative with an example of how to partner with local governments to advance age friendly communities.
Heritage Ministries – Chautauqua County – $10,000
Funding will support new intergenerational programming that includes older adults telling a story of their life and sharing it withl local classrooms. Programming will allow children at a young age to interact with older adults. This will combat ageism early on in one’s life and empower older adults to share their experiences.
Net+Positive|The Foundry – Erie County – $25,000
In partnership with Slow Roll Buffalo, they will identify areas of the eastside of Buffalo where older adults bike and will work with older adults to re-design bike racks to work better for older adults. They will also have educational and promotional activities on the importance of older adults and how cycling can reduce transportation barriers.
Jamestown Renaissance Corporation – Chautauqua County – $15,000
This grant provides matching funding for older adults to make improvements to their homes and use age-friendly principles in their work supporting people of all ages. By supporting this work, they will be able to address housing needs that have been identified and allow older adults to age in place. This work is in partnership with city and philanthropic partners in Jamestown.
The Health Foundation has been a leader of age-friendly work in New York since the state became the first AARP-designated age-friendly state in 2018. Prior age-friendly initiatives supported by the Health Foundation include Partnerships for Healthy Communities, which focuses on creating age-friendly policies and practices within county governments across New York State, and Age-Friendly Health Systems, a framework for integrating age-friendly practices into health care systems. Age Friendly: Go Local is the Health Foundation’s first program to support building age-friendly communities at a neighborhood, grassroots level.
About the Health Foundation for Western & Central New York
The Health Foundation for Western & Central New York is an independent private foundation that advocates for continuous improvement in health and health care for the people and communities of Western and Central New York. Our vision is a healthy central and western New York where racial and socioeconomic equity are prioritized so all people can reach their full potential and achieve equitable health outcomes. For more information, please visit www.hfwcny.org.
About The New York Academy of Medicine
The New York Academy of Medicine (NYAM) is a leading voice for innovation in public health. Throughout its 176-year history, NYAM has uniquely championed bold changes to the systems that perpetuate health inequities and keep all communities from achieving good health. Today, this work includes innovative research, programs and policy initiatives that distinctively value community input for maximum impact. Combined with NYAM’s trusted public programming and historic library, and with the support of esteemed Fellows and Members, NYAM’s Impact as a public health leader continues. To learn more, visit www.nyam.org and follow @NYAMNYC on social media.