LInkAGES Receives Grant of $220K

NextFifty Initiative Awards $220K to LinkAGES Colorado for Intergenerational Programming ~

Denver, CO: LinkAGES Colorado (LinkAGES) recently earned a multi-year grant for more than $220,000 from NextFifty Initiative. The funding will help LinkAGES expand its work to increase social connection and belonging among older adults through research-backed programs.

“We are incredibly excited to have received this funding from NextFifty Initiative,” says Rachel B. Cohen, CEO of Aging Dynamics and lead consultant for LinkAGES. “These funds are critical for us to help more organizations across Colorado create and offer intergenerational programming and most importantly reduce social isolation.”

Established in 2018, LinkAGES is a collaborative of multi-sector Colorado agencies committed to increase social connection between individuals from different generations. According to one Harvard Study in 2021, thirty-six percent of Americans report feeling profound loneliness; this includes one-third of older adults and 51% of people aged 18-25. High-quality intergenerational programs and relationships have been shown to decrease social isolation among older adults and increase all participants’ sense of belonging, self-esteem, and well-being. 

“We gain experience, wisdom, and perspective as we age,” says Debbie Aleinikoff, founding funder and strategic partner of LinkAGES and president of the Strear Family Foundation.

“LinkAGES helps older and younger generations form meaningful connections.”

LinkAGES came together due to Aleinikoff, who realized the impact intergenerational programming could have on the pervasive issue of social isolation. She reached out to Rachel B. Cohen of Aging Dynamics, a consultant with expertise in capacity building, strategic planning, and organizational development to facilitate a community strategic planning process. This collaborative effort led to the creation of LinkAGES.

Today, LinkAGES members and partners – about 12 in all – work to bring generations together to share stories, skills, and experiences, often between those above 65 and young people five to 25 years old. Members work together to enroll older and younger individuals in programming, identify ways to enhance their reach, develop and facilitate creative programs and problem-solve in a dynamic peer group.

Through stringent evaluation with the University of Denver, LinkAGES has proven its programming reduces and prevents social isolation.

The grant from NextFifty will allow LinkAGES to engage new organizations and expand impact to a variety of diverse Front Range communities. Specifically, it will offer skills-building and strategic guidance while staying rooted in its ethos of curiosity, creating culturally appropriate programming. LinkAGES will also create tools to help remove barriers to developing intergenerational programming. It will be able to make its resources widely available through an online hub as well. The plan is for the second year of funding to further expand resources, training, and geographic reach, both physically and virtually.

About LinkAGES Colorado: Established in 2018, LinkAGES is an award-winning collaborative that prevents and reduces social isolation. Comprised of multi-sector Colorado agencies, LinkAGES’ provides technical assistance, capacity building, and evaluation to remove barriers to delivering intergenerational programming. Funders: Strear Family Foundation, Pluss Family Foundation, and NextFifty Initiative. Members: Denver Art Museum, Denver Public Library, Jewish Family Service, Kavod Senior Life, Senior Planet Colorado, Shalom Park, Jewish Community, and Wish of a Lifetime. Partners: Generations United, Rose Community Foundation, University of Denver: Knoebel Institute for Healthy Aging and Graduate School of Social Work. 

About NextFifty Initiative: NextFifty Initiative is a Colorado-based private foundation dedicated to funding mission-driven initiatives that improve the lives of the older adult population and their caregivers. It seeks to fund game-changing efforts to improve and sustain quality of life for people in their second 50 years. NextFifty Initiative educates about proven initiatives and advocates for transformational change. It considers itself an engine for innovation that transforms aging whose work will impact life for generations to come.

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