Lifelong learning

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Opportunities for funders

Civic Ventures

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Many older people thrive on education and seek opportunities for mental stimulation. Enrichment education for older learners is now widely available thanks to stellar programs like Road Scholar (formerly Elderhostel) and local lifelong learning institutes. Increasingly, community programs are providing new learning opportunities for older adults, which not only offer intellectual stimulation, but also venues for socialization.

Education programs that serve older adults may need financial support for start-up costs, facilities, staff, and supplies, or to help with replication in a community. There are many models of lifelong learning programs across the country. Below are a few programs that serve older learners. Contact them and learn about what’s going on in your own community.

American Council on Education’s (ACE) Center for Lifelong Learning (CLLL) has promoted adult learner programs in higher education. The Center offers older learners programs, services, tools, and research to help bridge the gaps in serving diverse learners, alleviating workforce shortages, and meeting professional education demands in order to support access to, and success in, postsecondary education.

Oasis Institute is a national nonprofit that has developed programs for adults 50+. The programs include lifelong learning, healthy living, and social engagement. Oasis programs are located in 40 cities across 24 states and serve more than 35,000 individuals each year.

Osher Institutes, supported by the Bernard Osher Foundation, supports 116 lifelong learning programs on university and college campuses across the country. Non-credit educational programs are specifically developed for adults 50+.

Road Scholar provides educational travel and study programs both in the U.S. and around the world.

Senior Net is a program that provides older adults education for and access to computer technologies.


What to fund

  • Learning programs specifically for older people at schools, community centers, colleges, and universities
  • GED programs for older adults
  • English as a Second Language for older adults
  • Younger students teaching older adults, especially in technology and computers
  • Scholarships to allow older learners with lower incomes to participate in educational programs