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The EngAGEment initiative

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Bringing aging and philanthropy together through regional partnerships

Julie Turkewitz/The John A. Hartford Foundation

Julie Turkewitz/The John A. Hartford Foundation

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What is the EngAGEment initiative?

The EngAGEment initiative, a unique partnership between GIA and regional associations of grantmakers, explored new ways to build awareness of funding opportunities in aging. 

This page provides an Evaluation Brief of the initiative, some of the results of the project, a description of the project model, project history, research materials produced, news items about EngAGEment-related projects, and a list of EngAGEment partners in communities around the country, and contact information. It also provides proceedings of the EngAGEment Initiative's final participants workshop, the Capstone Workshop, held at the 2012 GIA Annual Conference.


Funded by The Atlantic Philanthropies in 2005, EngAGEment partnerships have also been created with other philanthropic affinity groups and national infrastructure organizations. Each regional partner was required to secure matching funds totaling $30,000 over two years; a number of sites also received one year of additional funding through Encore grants.

EngAGEment was designed to build awareness of and educate the funding community about aging issues, develop leadership in the field, and stimulate more funding for older adult issues. The approaches and results of the EngAGEment grants are highly individual, dependent on both leadership and the special needs of organizations and communities where they operate.

How the EngAGEment model works

The EngAGEment model uses strategically placed challenge grants to create local teams of philanthropic leaders to answer the question, “what will it take to expand funding for aging in our region?” Teams complete a needs assessment of their regions, then develop initiatives that reflect the region’s aging population and how it can be an asset to the community. EngAGEment provides technical assistance to promote innovation and sharing between participants.


EngAGEment has produced impressive results that include:

  • $5,380,552 in funding in aging granted from more than 22 foundations as a direct result of the EngAGEment work, representing more than a 3:1 return on the original investment of grant dollars from The Atlantic Philanthropies. 
  • 62 leaders in philanthropy serving on design teams for EngAGEment, growing leadership and an increasingly articulate voice in understanding the intersection of aging and philanthropy.
  • 9,000 members of aging and philanthropy organizations routinely receiving information on EngAGEment Initiatives activities.
  • 1,227 professionals in philanthropy, government and business attending EngAGEment seminar/conferences and webinars.

Every region of the country is "EngAGEd." Our grantees are active in almost every area of the country, focusing leaders on successfully seeking funding in aging.

EngAGEment Materials

Both GIA and the EngAGEment partners have produced a wealth of materials as outcomes of the project.

GIA’s contribution included the development of six Issue Briefs as primers on aging-related issues for new funders. 

Many of the EngAGEment partners have hosted webinars, developed videos and produced other educational materials that are available through the partner websites (see below) and on YouTube.

A sampling includes:

  • The National Center on Family Philanthropy produced an in-depth look at funding programs for older adults in its October 2011 of Passages. Read more on “Changing Your Grantmaking Lenses, Aging as an Asset” here.
  • The Southeast Council on Foundations has created a YouTube site that features a variety of EngAGEment webinars.  Examples of topics covered include aging as a global asset and seniors with wealth supporting seniors in financial need.  

Contact Information

For more information about the EngAGEment Initiative, please contact:

Maria Gonzales Jackson
Director of Programs and Membership
Tel: 703.413.0413 
Email: mgonzalesjackson@giaging.org

EngAGEment in the news

The New York Times recently examined how the elderly are becoming the engine of the economy in the former dairy farming community of Southbury, Connecticut, an issue that EngAGEment site The Connecticut Council for Philanthropy has also explored.

Several EngAGEment partners are regularly blogging about the project, including Maggie Gunther Osborn of the Florida Philanthropic Network, Grassroots Grantmakers’ CEO Janis Richardson and the Patterson Foundation’s Nancy Henry.

  • "What's Happening in Florida with the EngAGEment Initiative?" describes how the Florida Philanthropic Network (FPN) has approached funding in aging "not by separating out the conversation but rather by infiltrating conversations that Grantmakers and partners are already having. We have also tried adding some joy and energy to what can often times be heavy and unappealing subject matter; approaching from a frame of abundance rather than deprivation."
  • “The Need to EngAGE in Aging" looks at the EngAGEment work of the Southeastern Council on Foundations, at The Patterson Foundation's blog, Connective Tissue.
  • In “A Promising Intersection: Grassroots Grantmaking and Aging,” Janis Foster Richardson blogs on the partnership between Grassroots Grantmakers and GIA.
  • The Forum of Regional Association of Grantmakers features snapshots of EngAGEment participants and a guest post from the Connecticut Council for Philanthropy. Its monthly e-newsletter, Forum Bits,  features stories and updates about the EngAGEment Initiative work being done throughout its network.

EngAGEment Initiative Partners

Pilot Sites

Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers  (Baltimore, MD)*
Council of Michigan Foundations  (Grand Haven, MI)*
Donors Forum of South Florida  (Miami, FL)*
Donors Forum of Wisconsin  (Milwaukee, WI)
Philanthropy Northwest  (Seattle, WA)*
Grantmakers’ Forum of New York  (Rochester, NY) 

2008-2010 Regional Association Partners

Indiana Grantmakers Alliance (Indianapolis, IN)*
New Mexico Association of Grantmakers  (Santa Fe, NM)**
Nonprofit Connect (Kansas City, MO)*
Philanthropy New York (New York, NY)
Southeastern Council on Foundations (Atlanta, GA)
Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers (Washington, DC)*

2011-2012 Regional Association Partners

Arizona Grantmakers Forum  (Phoenix, AZ)
Connecticut Council for Philanthropy  (Hartford, CT)
Florida Philanthropic Network  (Tampa, FL)
Grantmakers of Western Pennsylvania  (Pittsburgh, PA)

2010-2012 Affinity Group and National Infrastructure Partners

The Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers  (Arlington, VA)
Grantmakers for Children, Youth and Families  (Washington, DC)
Grassroots Grantmakers  (Hallettsville, TX)
The National Center on Family Philanthropy  (Washington, DC)***

* Subsequently received either $5,000 or $10,000 Encore Grant (no matching requirement)
** Project transitioned to Con Alma Foundation, Santa Fe, NM in 2012
*** One-year project for 2010-2011



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