Spending several days with my home-bound elderly mother this week has given me new perspectives on the “graying of America.”
Let’s just say that I’m not looking forward to losing my driver’s license, walking with a cane and having difficulty cutting an apple or reaching up to my kitchen cupboards.
Of course, thousands of baby boomers in Minnesota feel the same way, and many more will face far greater challenges. And that’s one reason the philanthropic community is paying attention to the great “age wave.”
According to the Minnesota Department of Human Services, the number of Minnesotans ages 65 and up will nearly double between now and 2035, while other age groups will grow on average only six percent. (Learn more about our state’s changing demographics at Minnesota Compass.)
Funders for Aging Services
A statewide network of grantmakers affiliated with the Minnesota Council on Foundations (MCF) has just announced a new name for their group: the Finish Strong Funders Coalition for Aging Services. (Yes, they’re working at the other end of the age spectrum from the Start Early Funders Coalition.)
The network describes itself as “a wide array of public and private funders dedicated to funding services that support older adults in the community as important contributors, assets, and resources.”
Like several of MCF’s member networks, this group understands the importance of private and community foundations, corporate givers and government entities working together to face society’s challenges. And aging is a big challenge that’s closing in fast on all of us.
Resources on Aging
If you’re a grantmaker, a nonprofit aging services provider, elder or caregiver who wants to learn more about the impact of aging in our communities, here are just a few links to get you started:
- Read about the Minnesota Department of Human Services Aging 2030 initiative and its five themes for action: Redefining work and retirement, supporting caregivers of all ages, fostering communities for a lifetime, improving health and long-term care, and maximizing use of technology.
- Check out this “For All Ages” toolkit from Grantmakers in Aging (a national funders’ affinity group dedicated to improving the experience of aging) that describes all of the intersections between grantmaking and other subject areas — from health to arts to employment and more.
- Learn more about trends in grantmaking to aging populations in this recent Giving Forum article summarizing data from MCF’s Giving in Minnesota report.
And if you’re a grantmaker interested in learning more about Minnesota’s Finish Strong Funders Coalition, contact Tara Kumar, MCF member services manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By dedicating resources and coming together in formal and informal networks such as these, I have a growing confidence that we’ll transform our communities in ways in which we can live and age well. Then we’ll all have rides when we can no longer drive, as well as a helping hand in the kitchen.
– Wendy Wehr, MCF vice president of communications and information services