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Children, youth, families ... and aging

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Young and old helping each other...and the community

The Intergenerational Center

The Intergenerational Center

image to create a dropshadow

We need to reach across our differences and across the generations. Any funder can make a difference by supporting and encouraging innovative intergenerational programs and quality practices that connect rather than separate all the generations in your community. Why? Because we are stronger together.

Donna Butts
Executive Director, Generations United

Stronger together

People in our communities are often segregated by age. Children spend their days in schools or child care centers, while many older adults live or socialize with people close to their own age. At both ends of the age spectrum, children and older adults can face serious challenges—poverty, isolation, family dysfunction, and health and mental health issues.

Given the current and future needs of youngsters and oldsters, as well as the growing number of older people in our communities, there are ample opportunities to support or develop intergenerational programs. Whether old serving young, young serving old, or young and old serving together, these kinds of initiatives provide exciting opportunities to build understanding relationships across age groups and strengthen community cohesion. Almost any service or program, or space, can be enhanced by using an intergenerational approach—from education, to the environment, to health and wellness, to workforce development.

The good news: Many older adults are seeking ways to remain active in their communities. Many young people are eager to help older people. Together, they can make things happen. The fact is, communities become more cohesive when everyone pulls together. And everyone reaps the benefits. 

Grantmakers can play a critical role by supporting strategies that connect children and youth with older people in ways that benefit all. Explore different ways young and old can help each other and help their communities.

Getting started
Benefits of intergenerational programs
Older people serving young people
Young people serving older adults
Young and old working together
Shared sites—different generations sharing space
Grandparents raising grandchildren

Aging really touches everything. If your foundation primarily funds children, you can fund an intergenerational program that brings older adults and kids together in some sort of program.

 Marcia Slater Johnston, The Harry G. and Charlotte H. Slater Family Fund



Information on intergenerational programs in this section was provided by Sheri Steinig, MSW, Deputy Executive Director, Generations United.


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