Following the direction of its new strategic plan, LEADERSHIP FOR THE FUTURE | 2012-2014, MCF recently hosted the first of three programs this year focused around issues of diversity, inclusion and equity.
“Bold Steps Toward Funding Equity” featured three MCF-member foundations sharing behind-the-scenes looks at decisions to focus resources on equity issues.
- Aging with independence
In 2007 the foundation received a large research grant from The Atlantic Philanthropies to study seniors. It found:
- Seniors wanted more opportunities for civic engagement
- Seniors were concerned about so many young people leaving the community
- Seniors worried about the well-being of the younger generation
Simultaneously, decreased funding for youth and seniors, economic distress and geographic isolation left small communities in very sparsely populated northeast Minnesota struggling to provide for residents at either end of the generational spectrum.
AGE to age, an opportunity to bring generations together, was born. It is now an important part of 10 communities, including three reservations. Seniors and youth teach and learn, and individual communities determine their priorities.
Youth teach seniors how to use cell phones and computers; seniors teach youth how to cook, sew, dance and do woodworking. Native elders teach youth language and culture through beading, traditional story telling, ricing, sugarbushing and more. In Moose Lake, community members of all ages worked together to rehab the Hockey Arena. In Floodwood, the former Senior Center was renamed the AGES Center, reflecting its new role as a multi-generational gathering place.
Northland Foundation has found great success with this effort to address equity by bridging differences across generations and geography: “The energy and enthusiasm around AGE to age has been incredible. Youth and older adults are building relationships, developing skills, and working together to create projects and programs that not only benefit the participants but also their communities as a whole.”
Check out the two previous posts from this great MCF program. We featured the John Larsen Foundation’s decision to fund issues around LGBT equity, and the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota MN Girls Are Not For Sale campaign.
- Susan Stehling, MCF communications associate