Making a community more livable and age-friendly takes, well, a village. Local leaders, residents, advocates, experts, business owners, government agencies and nonprofit organizations all play a part. In most cases, money plays a key role, too.
Financial support is certainly needed for long-range plans and infrastructure projects, but even simple solutions incur costs. Because of that, grants and sponsorships from charitable foundations and community development organizations play an essential role in many livability and age-friendly efforts. These organizations vary greatly in size and scope and have different standards for how much they'll give to what and why. Some foundations prefer to provide seed money to get a program going; others won't get involved until they feel assured the investment will achieve the desired outcome.
Communities that are working on livability and age-friendly or aging-in-place initiatives often look to charitable foundations and community development organizations for support.
Photo courtesy AARP Hawaii
Many of the cities, towns and counties that are members of the AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities benefit in ways small and large from funding provided by foundations and organizations that are committed to improving communities and the well-being of older adults. In fact, according to some, including the Massachusetts-based Tufts Health Plan Foundation, membership in a network such as AARP's has its privileges.
"We like to fund work that is part of a collaborative effort," said Nora Moreno Cargie, Vice President for Corporate Citizenship and President of the Tufts Health Plan Foundation, while attending an AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities Conference. "One-off, isolated undertakings are less likely to succeed. Projects, programs and initiatives that are connected to an established network of like-minded people or organizations generally have a greater chance of deeper overall impact."
"We are delighted to see community foundations engage more directly in creating walkable, livable communities across the country, either on their own or in broad coalitions," says Nancy LeaMond, AARP Executive Vice President of Community, State and National Affairs. "Leaders and advocates should try to engage community foundations in their work. It can be hugely important to the success of these efforts."
The sidebar list (above right) provides links to profiles of some of the foundations that are working with AARP and others to strengthen communities for people of all ages and improve the lives of older adults.
Page published September 2015
Learn About 8 Domains Of Livability
- Watch our "8 Domains of Livability" slideshow
- Download the World Health Organization's "Global Age-Friendly Cities Guide"
- View the "Checklist of Features of Age-Friendly Cities"
- Read "case study" examples of work being done in the domains
- Use the AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities Tool Kit to implement livability efforts
Learn how to check the "livability score" of any address in the U.S.