“Enhancing the Equity and Inclusiveness of Age-friendly Initiatives” Receives Funding from NextFifty Initiative

The National Civic League’s program, “Enhancing the Equity and Inclusiveness of Age-friendly Initiatives”, has received an additional round of funding from NextFifty Initiative, a Colorado-based foundation that supports efforts to improve the lives of older adults and their caregivers. This funding will allow the League to continue its equity-in-aging civic assistance program, further advancing efforts to support those 50 and older in Colorado, and across the nation.

“Our goal is to transform the way our society views and experiences aging, and that influences the types of programs and projects we fund,” said Diana McFail, president and CEO of NextFifty Initiative. “National Civic League’s work with older adults aligns with our efforts to improve and sustain quality of life for people in their second 50 years. We offer our support and congratulations.”

The League will build on the civic assistance program started last year and continue to work with Colorado communities to better infuse equity into their work. The funding will support the continuation of initiatives aimed at helping leaders in Huerfano, Las Animas, Logan, Summit, and El Paso counties infuse equity and inclusion into their efforts to create age-friendly communities. As part of this, the grant will support an ongoing coaching program, a learning exchange cohort, and the development of an Equitable Older Adult Engagement Best Practices and Resource Guide.

Throughout 2021, the League worked with a variety of stakeholders to co-create the “Enhancing the Equity and Inclusiveness of Age-friendly Initiatives” program, initialing focusing on the State of Colorado and including some local partners who contributed to the program’s development, implementation, and promotion. These partners include: the Colorado Governor’s Office on Aging, Colorado AARP, Denver Regional Council of Governments’ Boomer Bond Communities, Colorado Municipal League, and the National Council on Aging.

In addition to these partners, the program was also shaped by local thought leaders in the aging space, including Innovations in Aging Collaborative, the Strategic Action Planning Group on Aging (SAPGA), the Area Agencies on Aging directors, as well as many other individuals.

This pilot program had two phases – Phase One: Guidance, and Phase Two: Local Coaching. Both segments concurrently began in January 2021, following a period of background research and conversations with the aforementioned program partners, state and local organizations, and other aging professionals.

During the Guidance phase, the League conducted six equity training workshops for age-friendly communities and individuals working to improve the experience of aging. Workshop training included best practices on inclusively engaging older adults, applying an equity lens to aging work, training on racial equity foundations, and how to use the League’s updated evaluation tool – the Better Aging Civic Index – to measure a community’s level of engagement with older adults from all identities.

During the Local Coaching phase, the League worked with four focus communities. Three of the communities are members of Colorado AARP’s Age-Friendly network, and one community has joined with the goal to explore Age-Friendly designation. This phase has involved working with each focus community to apply an equity lens to their aging work and age-friendly planning, and to support each community to better engage with traditionally marginalized populations and those groups of older adults most often underrepresented in most civic affairs: communities of color, low-income populations, immigrant communities, people with disabilities, and LGBTQ communities.

“Older adults are a vital and valuable part of our community, so we are excited to have this opportunity to continue to nurture our program, ‘Enhancing the Equity and Inclusiveness of Age-friendly Initiatives’. This program is designed to provide support for Colorado communities to infuse equity and inclusion into their work to improve the experience of aging for older adults in our community”, said Keiva Hummel, Civic Engagement Program Director of the National Civic League. “Funding from NextFifty Initiative will allow us to continue to reaffirm the strengths and contributions of older adults, including to ensure that aging initiatives accomplish their goals of improving the lives of all older adults by engaging them in local affairs, rather than only those older adults that are traditionally well-represented in public affairs.”

About NextFifty Initiative

NextFifty Initiative is a Colorado-based, private foundation funding efforts to improve the lives of older adults and their caregivers. The foundation works with community leaders, experts in the field of aging, and front-line professionals to support programs and projects that positively impact aging and longevity. They focus on education, sharing best practices, and supporting innovation that will transform aging for generations to come. To learn more, visit www.Next50Initiative.org.

NextFifty Initiative recently announced $1.7 million in grants to 28 organizations working to improve the lives of older adults and their caregivers in the metro Denver area. The organization, which funds game-changing efforts to improve and sustain the quality of life for people in their second 50 years, also announced $1.8 million in grants to similar organizations around the state and $3.7 million in funding to organizations located outside of Colorado.

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