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Annual Conference 2018

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Diversity Award Recipients

GIA established the Diversity Award in 2003 to recognize national, regional, and local individuals, programs, and organizations that embrace diversity as a fundamental element in all levels of their work in aging. For a complete list of past winners, please click here.

2018 Diversity Award Winner

At the 2018 GIA Annual Conference, the Diversity Award was presented to the City of Freemont Human Services Department, for its Community Ambassador Program for Seniors

The Community Ambassadors Program's mission is to:

  • increase service access for all seniors, regardless of language, culture, faith, economic status or other factors;
  • provide feedback to health and social service providers to improve cultural awareness and service delivery to older adults; and,
  • increase the capacity of immigrant communities to serve their elders in a sensitive and culturally appropriate manner.

The Volunteer Ambassadors, mostly older adults themselves, represent more than 10 ethnic and faith organizations. As a sign of the program’s success, its curriculum has been purchased by 3 cities who wish to replicate the model.

2018 Diversity Award Honorable Mention

This year, GIA awarded two Honorable Mentions for the Diversity Award. The first went to Alzheimer’s Los Angeles, for its Recuerdos Perdidos or Lost Memories Telenovela project.  

In a four-part, soap opera format, the telenovela follows an East Los Angeles family as they learn about and cope with their grandmother’s cognitive decline. Evaluations have shown that the telenovela raises viewers’ understanding of Alzheimer’s disease and decreases stigma associated with dementia.  

2018 Diversity Award Honorable Mention

Also receiving Honorable Mention for 2018 was Justice in Aging, a national organization that uses the power of law to fight poverty among older adults. 

Justice in Aging has explicit focus populations including women, people of color, LGBT individuals, and people with limited English proficiency. It has a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee, which counts among its successes a lawsuit against the government for unfairly recouping overpayments from low-income same-sex couples receiving Supplemental Security Income. 

Award Nomination Criteria

Nonprofit organizations (receiving funding from a foundation or whose funding sources include foundation(s)), individual grantmakers, or foundations working effectively with a diverse aging population are eligible for consideration.

GIA believes that diversity encompasses, but is not limited to, age, gender, race, national origin, religious beliefs, physical abilities and characteristics, sexual orientation, economic circumstances and lifestyle, or gender expression. Self-nominations are welcome!

Selection Process

GIA Staff and members of the Diversity Committee will review and select the winner.

Nominations typically open in July. The Diversity Award is presented at GIA's Annual Conference, where the winner will participate with all expenses – full registration, travel, and lodging – paid for a representative of the selected nonprofit or foundation to attend the conference. The representative will offer brief acceptance remarks at the event during one of the general sessions.

GIA Diversity Award Committee

Jim Beck
Mat-Su Health Foundation, AK

Therese Ellery
Rose Community Foundation, CO

Marcus Escobedo
The John A. Hartford Foundation, NY 

Jolene Fassbinder
Archstone Foundation, CA

Kelly Laflamme
Endowment for Health, NH

Bonita Tindley
Agua Fund, Washington, DC 

Previous GIA Diversity Award winners

2017  Tufts Health Plan Foundation
2016  St. Barnabas Senior Services
2015  Center for Medicare Advocacy
2014  Rose Community Foundation
2013  The Atlantic Philanthropies
2012  Pueblo of Zuni and Jewish Family Service of New Mexico
2011  Services and Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Elders (SAGE)
2010  The Retirement Research Foundation
2009  Coalition of Limited English Speaking Elderly (CLESE)
2008  George W. Davis, PhD, Executive Director, Bayview Hunters Point Multipurpose Senior Services, Inc.
2007  Jennie Chin Hansen, RN, MSN, FAAN, AARP President and UCSF Center for the Health Professions Senior Fellow
2006  Meyling Eliash-Daneshfar, Manager of Latino Services, Alzheimer’s Association, Los Angeles and a former ASA NVL Partner
2005  Connie Bremner, Executive Director of the Eagle Shield Senior Center, Blackfeet Nation Reservation
2004  Funders for Lesbian and Gay Issues, Affinity Group
2003  American Society on Aging (ASA) New Ventures in Leadership (NVL) Partnership Program


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