Where Are Our Senior Nonprofit Services for Our Aging Population?
October 27, 2011 Post Newspaper group Articles, Berkeley, Marin, Oakland, Richmond, San Francisco, South County, Vallejo
By Lenora Williams
Seniors have a multitude of diverse needs: health care; patient visits, prescription disbursements, social welfare, community recreation centers, companionship services, in-home services, out-patient services; food and transportation, and more.
Unfortunately, when they wait for public transportation and need assistance with getting on the bus, into a vehicle or when they have assigned transportation that can’t seem to show up at the designated time to pick them up, our seniors feel the pain of lack of services that meet their needs. This lack extends also to when they are shopping in the grocery store with little or nothing in their baskets. A variety of their needs are currently being met by some nonprofits but there are a lot that are not. The needs of our aging population are urgent and funds for seniors are dwindling.
In California there are over 1200 nonprofit agencies available to assist the senior population but their funds are shrinking. The elderly age group will increase 112 percent by 2020, which means more than half the counties will have over a 100 percent increase in this age group.
For organizations seeking funding for seniors programs, on my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/pages/Williamsllpostnonprofitcorner/132836066768629, there is a list of funders who have ear marked dollars specifically for senior programs, for nutrition, transportation, health care, and other services. Some of the funders have specific application deadlines and others are open ended.
Something to remember when you are applying is to know the strengths of your organization. If you are missing a requested strength in an area that you believe the funder will require, collaborate with another nonprofit and co-author the grant application. Collaborations can be between one agency or with several agencies: senior centers and hospital rehabilitation centers; nursing homes and senior centers; food nutrition programs, transportation companies and senior centers; health centers, pharmacies and senior centers; hospitals and nursing homes The agency with the strongest audit portfolio becomes the fiscal sponsor or leader.
What if you don’t want to collaborate? Today with less and less funding available and with natural disasters occurring on large scales throughout the country, the available resources for community based organizations are spread thin. Smaller agencies are usually over looked because most funders want to get a large bang for their dollars.
How do you get money when you are a small agency? One answer is that you go to large private corporations or foundations that have discretionary dollars between $5 and $15 thousand dollars per year. Ask to speak with their Regional Manager or Corporate Officer and ask them about their giving history with nonprofit organizations like yours. Typically, these private entities should be businesses that exist in your neighborhood; banks, grocery chains, city agencies and similar sources. Please tweet me @nonprofit411 for more ways to strengthen your senior nonprofit agency.