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San Diego Seniors Community Foundation awards $200,000+ to strengthen local senior centers & nonprofits

SAN DIEGO – The San Diego Seniors Community Foundation (SDSCF) awarded $206,850 in grants and funding allocations to 14 local senior centers and nonprofit organizations to strengthen senior center programming and enhance executive leadership and ensure that a sophisticated network of local senior centers exists to help combat senior isolation.

The allocation of $206,850 in grant funds supports expanded programming, and services, and even increases hours of operations to serve more seniors. Securing local PR firms to assist in the rebranding and marketing of the valuable programs and services the senior center provides to all older San Diegans.

One of the exciting programs that the Foundation is helping to fund is the Jewish Family Services “Fix It” Program, which provides no-cost minor home modifications to seniors 60 and over. Each year, three million older adults visit emergency rooms due to falls, which impacts their health and can result in costly medical bills. The fix-it program provides minor home repairs and fall prevention installations to reduce the chances of falls and help individuals age in place.

“These grants are truly empowering local senior centers to expand their services and enrich lives,” said Kristoffer Kelly, Director of Partnerships of the SDSCF. “We're seeing more seniors access healthy meals, transportation, and social activities that keep them engaged and connected.

“The foundation's mission is to help seniors thrive,” added Kelly. “These grants to senior centers in underserved areas are ensuring more equitable access to the programs that support wellbeing and quality of life.”

Presently, San Diego County has 28 senior centers in communities from San Ysidro and Coronado to Oceanside and east to Borrego Springs. However, existing senior centers serve only about 8% of the region’s total senior population – and many of these centers are underfunded, understaffed, and lack sufficient programming.

The California Master Plan for Aging and The County of San Diego Aging Roadmap, SDSCF wrote the Master Plan for Senior Centers for San Diego as a complementary planning document, which presents a vision to modernize the current senior center model and build centers that allow accessibility to seniors. The San Diego County Board of Supervisors supports this plan.

“It's been incredible to see the impact of these grants in aligning with our master plan goals – improved nutrition, decreased isolation, and more diverse programming to promote healthy aging,” said Joe Gavin, Chief Program Officer. “By funding things like fitness classes, tech training, and volunteer coordinators, our senior center grants are directly addressing the pillars of our master plan: mental and physical health, lifelong learning, and social connection.

“We are dedicated to ensuring that every senior in San Diego has a place to turn to and trust,” said Gavin. “With the creation of the San Diego Senior Center Master Plan, we are taking a bold step towards creating a new sophisticated network of innovative senior centers that will serve as a hub of activity and support for seniors in the community.”

About one-quarter (23%) of San Diego seniors age 65+ live alone; an estimated 125,000 senior orphans live in San Diego County. Senior orphans are seniors who have never been married, married but had no kids then became widowed, or they have no family living in the area. The other worst-case scenario is that they have outlived their friends too.

Social isolation is a silent killer and is as harmful as smoking 15 cigarettes a day! The SDSCF is working to ensure every senior has someone they can trust by using the senior center to get them engaged and know they do not have to be alone.

The Sahm Family Foundation supports the SDSCF’s effort to enhance and empower senior centers with a commitment of $2 million over the course of four years. The Sahm Family Foundation believes supporting seniors is an urgent priority as our population ages. Census data predicts that by the year 2030 there will be 1 million people over the age of 60 living in San Diego. This is part of a national trend that marks one of the largest demographic shifts in U.S. history.

To date, SDSCF has given more than $1 million in grants and charitable expenditures, benefitting dozens of nonprofit organizations in San Diego and beyond.

SDSCF is currently seeking the San Diego community’s support to help raise additional contributions. Donations can be made at SDSCF also invites San Diegans to volunteer at their local senior center and visit or introduce someone they know to their local senior center as well.

For more information on the campaign, visit their new website at #NoSeniorAlone can be found on social media too.

2024 Empower Grants include:

Escondido Senior Center – $12,000

Marketing & Public Relations Support to promote community awareness, expand memberships and donations, and develop long-term planned giving strategies.

Fallbrook Senior Center – $37,000

Marketing & Public Relations Support to help re-brand the center and promote its activities and atmosphere geared toward active adults. Also, new (replacement) of thrift store delivery truck.

Poway Senior Center – $15,000

Program expansion to include weekly Qigong classes, monthly cooking classes, and monthly dances.

Ed Brown Center for Active Adults in Rancho Bernardo – $27,600

Strengthening the leadership infrastructure by adding a staff person to expand programming and outreach, while also increasing membership. And marketing support to further promote and expand the center’s programs and cultivate community awareness.

San Marcos Senior Center – $7,200

Expand arts & crafts program workshops

Submitted by the San Diego Seniors Community Foundation.


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