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Rose Community Foundation

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Leading change in greater Denver

Rose Community Foundation bases its commitment to older adults in the Greater Denver area on the spiritual commandment, “Honor thy father and mother.” The Foundation focuses on promoting innovative change in the way communities organize care and support for their elders and caregivers. In doing so, it has not been afraid to enter uncharted territory. 

Rose Community Foundation asks tough questions in the aging arena. In recent years, the Foundation’s Committee on Aging, which includes trustees, community leaders, and Foundation staff, has grappled with the question: How can we support community-based services and transportation and still respond to new emerging issues? In response, the Foundation has shown it can be extraordinarily dynamic and nimble in discovering novel ways to support initiatives that create systemic change.

Boomers Leading Change

In the 60s they changed the world. In their 60s, they may do it again.

With this mantra, the Foundation launched Boomers Leading Change,  a long-term initiative funded in part by The Atlantic Philanthropies in 2007. Today, the project engages people over 55 in work, community service, and lifelong learning. 

Boomers Leading Change is based on the promise of the “experience dividend” – the assumption that Boomers will contribute to their communities, nation, and world by remaining engaged and pursuing socially useful and personally meaningful activities after retirement age. The initiative began with a community assessment, which identified four steps key to engaging Denver-area Boomers:

  • Identifying Boomer connecting points and networks. This involves finding places, real and virtual, where Boomers can get information and resources to help them remain engaged.
  • Restructuring institutions and employment. Employers and community leaders need to find new ways to make employment and volunteer services more appealing, flexible, and meaningful to Boomers
  • Launching a health initiative. This would provide an opportunity for Boomers to become health care workers, volunteers, or health policy advocates.
  • Supporting work force development. This includes providing assistance for Bin seeking new career paths, becoming entrepreneurs, or retraining to remain productive and earn income.

The Foundation awarded 12 Boomer Innovation Grants of $5,000 each to provide seed money for creative approaches to engaging Denver’s Boomers. At the same time, work groups with representatives from the community, business, higher education, and social services were charged with developing project plans to address one of the four key steps identified in the community assessment. Twelve new project ideas emerged from the work groups. In 2008, the Foundation awarded one-time Boomer Matching Grants of up to $10,000 to expand or seed the projects developed during the Boomers Leading Change innovation phase. 

Boomers Leading Change in Health

The community assessment revealed that among older adults there was one overriding issue that influenced their decisions for their future: health care. So when the Foundation was challenged to select a significant social issue to tackle at the local level by mobilizing adults 50+, Boomers Leading Change in Health was born.

As part of the national Community Experience Partnership, Boomers Leading Change in Health is dedicated to improving the health—and access to health care—of individuals and families in Metro Denver. It does this by harnessing the experience, energy, and commitment of adults 50+ as volunteers and training them to be health care navigators and advocates.
The Aging Program has now formalized its work by articulating its top priority going forward: “...to support efforts with selected partners to address emerging issues and opportunities that have the potential for systemic change.” 

Within this new priority, the Foundation is launching the first local community assessment in the country to evaluate the needs and interests of older Latinos as part of the Hispanics in Philanthropy Latino Age Wave.

Creating systemic change

The Foundation has taken a leadership role and helped to fund:

  • A transportation initiative, which has resulted in a host of collaborations, programs and improvements in transportation information and options in the Denver area.
  • Senior Source, a multimedia education campaign, that provides critical resource information to older adults and caregivers.
  • BenefitsCheckUp, a program to help older adults apply for publically funded programs. This national program now resides at Centura Health.

Help us pursue our mission and strengthen grantmaking to support the needs and potential of older people.