In the News | Month: November 2016

This holiday season, please consider supporting the Gary and Mary West Senior Dental Center

Fall 2016 American Society on Aging Generations journal “Aging and the Importance of Oral Health Now Available

The Foundation provided grant funding to the American Society on Aging (ASA) to underwrite the fall 2016 Generations journal “Aging and the Importance of Oral Health.”

Additionally, the Foundation’s grantee, the Gary and Mary West Senior Dental Center, had an article accepted in the journal highlighting their innovative program model delivering oral care to older adults titled “The Gary and Mary West Senior Dental Center: An Integrated Model of Dental, Health and Wellness Care for Older Adults authored by Karen Becerra and Vyan Nguyen.

The issue overview is available on asaging.org, in addition to featured articles from the journal and can be accessed through the below links.

http://asaging.org/blog/importance-oral-health

http://asaging.org/generations-journal-american-society-aging

Aging Today articles now available: American Society on Aging resources supported through Gary and Mary West Foundation grant

The Gary and Mary West Foundation is co-funding a grant to the American Society on Aging (ASA) to support broad dissemination of resources and educational materials to improve the business acumen of non-profit organizations that serve older adults.  The goal of the grant is to improve older adult health by transforming business practices that will help to ensure the provision of coordinated and continuous medical care and social services to older adults.

Aging Today, the ASA’s bimonthly newspaper, features stories that highlight ongoing work, trends, innovation and advancements in the field of aging.

Please find below two articles that have resulted through our work with ASA which appear in the November – December issue of Aging Today.

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Huffington Post Blog: Have We Forgotten About Our Nation’s Seniors?

While the number of seniors in America is growing dramatically, the amount of charitable giving to this increasingly vulnerable population has remained roughly the same for each of the last 20 years. It is truly a travesty that each year less than two percent of all philanthropic dollars go toward helping older Americans age in place with access to high-quality and affordable health and social support services. We must do better.

How could we let this happen when millions of seniors across the country, especially those living on fixed incomes, are forced to choose between food, medicine and shelter? What’s more, many must navigate a complex health and social support system that is not currently scaled or structured to meet the needs of a growing aging population.

Out of 105,000 private, nonprofit foundations in America, only a few are dedicated solely to addressing the needs of older adults. Recently, I talked to several leaders in aging to get their perspectives on the importance of philanthropy, and asked why so few charitable dollars are focused on seniors. Here’s what they had to say:

“The need is so large that many feel their philanthropy won’t make a difference,” said John Feather, Ph.D., CEO, Grantmakers in Aging , a leading national association of charitable foundations and corporate giving programs which works to improve the lives of older adults. “However, a society that is better for older adults is better for people of all ages, and philanthropy can — and does — play an important role.”

“I believe ageism is at the root of why more philanthropic dollars are not dedicated to older adults,” said Laura Rath, MSG, Senior Program Officer, Archstone Foundation, a nonprofit foundation that has awarded more than $102 million in grants to help meet the needs of an aging population. “Also, a confounding problem is viewing aging as a zero-sum game, where if one gains, another must lose. Improving the lives of older adults has the potential to improve society in general.”

“Philanthropy often serves as a catalyst in bringing attention to less visible but increasingly important challenges facing our communities,” said Ann Monroe, Chair of the Board of Directors, Grantmakers in Aging. “From the increasing economic and medical pressure on family caregivers to the lack of strong social policies supporting healthy aging, philanthropy has the flexibility and resources to develop new models of care and drive the public and policy discussions needed to support successful and respectful aging.”

“Now is the time for philanthropy to move our country forward by investing in strategies that enable every older adult in America to age with dignity and respect we all deserve,” said Mary O’ Donnell, Senior Program Officer, The Retirement Research Foundation, a private foundation that has awarded more than $200 million in grants to improve the quality of life for our nation’s older adults.

This week, the Gary and Mary West Foundation celebrates its 10-year anniversary. As CEO and president of this foundation, I have seen firsthand the power of philanthropy in kick-starting and shining a light on innovative models of care for seniors from geriatric emergency departments and senior dental centers to aging in place programs, and senior wellness centers that offer health, wellness, social support services and nutritious meals every single day of the year. We’ve awarded over $175 million to 181 grant recipients who are making a real difference in the lives of seniors everywhere. And, we have only just begun. Our founders, pioneering philanthropists Gary and Mary West, have dedicated their lives – and their fortune – to enabling successful aging for vulnerable seniors.

The Gary and Mary West Foundation, Archstone Foundation and The Retirement Research Foundation represent the handful of foundations focused solely on aging. Others include The John A. Hartford Foundation, H.W. Durham Foundation, The Scan Foundation and Isaac H. Tuttle Fund.

But, this small group of foundations simply cannot do it alone. This is the one time I wish we weren’t so unique in our laser focus on seniors. We’re trying to serve as a catalyst for philanthropists and other foundations to get involved, come up with new solutions, and raise awareness about the critical issues facing our seniors. Seniors are our parents, grandparents, teachers, friends, neighbors and our veterans. They deserve our best thinking, our utmost respect and greater attention from our nation’s philanthropists and foundations that have the power to galvanize and create a better place for the seniors who taught us, cared for us, fought for us and now count on us.

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Shelley Lyford
President & CEO
West Health and Gary and Mary West Foundation

Press Release: Gary and Mary West Foundation Celebrates Decade of Grantmaking to Improve the Lives of Vulnerable Seniors

Foundation has granted $175 million in support of enabling successful aging for our nation’s seniors


SAN DIEGO – Nov. 10, 2016 – Today, the Gary and Mary West Foundation celebrates its 10-year anniversary, marking a decade of pioneering philanthropists Gary and Mary West’s ongoing efforts to help vulnerable seniors successfully age in place with dignity, independence and a better quality of life. Since 2006, the foundation has awarded more than 400 grants to 181 aging-related nonprofit organizations in San Diego, Omaha, Neb. and across the country, totaling more than $175 million, making it one of the nation’s leaders in philanthropy for seniors.

Following successful entrepreneurial careers, Gary and Mary West decided to dedicate their philanthropic efforts to make life better for vulnerable seniors. Based on their personal experience working with and caring for seniors, Gary and Mary know first-hand the challenges of aging and understand that most low-income seniors do not have the resources to do so successfully. Ten years ago, they founded the Gary and Mary West Foundation, a 501(c)(3) private, non-operating organization to provide much needed outcomes-based grants to support healthcare and social support services for vulnerable seniors who live at or below the federal poverty level. Through their efforts, the foundation has provided grants to nonprofits committed to making successful aging a reality for America’s seniors.

“Mary and I are very proud of the foundation and the difference it is making in the lives of seniors, especially those living on fixed incomes. Far too many seniors are forced to choose among basic human needs such as food, medicine and housing, and have difficulty navigating a complex health system that is simply not currently structured to meet their needs,” said Gary West, co-founder and co-chair of the Gary and Mary West Foundation. “Poor seniors deserve better solutions and our deep support. They desperately need it and we are going to make sure they receive it and are not forgotten.”

With more than 10,000 baby boomers a day turning 65 and people living longer than ever before, the need for improved healthcare delivery and social services for seniors has never been greater. Of 105,000 private foundations in the United States, only six are solely focused on aging, making the Gary and Mary West Foundation one of the key supporters of seniors.

“Gary and Mary’s passion for supporting the needs of seniors has been the driving force of our successful aging efforts. Nationwide, less than two percent of all philanthropic dollars are directed at our nation’s seniors – it is a travesty that such a small portion goes to helping our fastest growing age group,” said Shelley Lyford, president and CEO of the Gary and Mary West Foundation and West Health. “Seniors are our parents, grandparents, teachers, friends, neighbors and our veterans. They deserve our best thinking, our utmost respect and greater attention from our nation’s philanthropists.”

 

The foundation has a mission to enable seniors to successfully age in place, with access to high-quality, affordable health and support services that preserve and protect their dignity, quality of life and independence. Examples of the foundation’s major initiatives and grantees include:

  • The Gary and Mary West Health Institute (San Diego), a nonprofit applied medical research organization and the Gary and Mary West Health Policy Center (Washington, D.C.), a nonpartisan policy research and education organization, are focused on advancing successful aging by developing or advancing acute and chronic care models and supportive services designed specifically for seniors. The goal is to demonstrate and document the value and effectiveness of senior-specific care models to encourage their greater availability, adoption and access across the country.
  • The Gary and Mary West Senior Dental Center (San Diego) is a nonprofit community dental center linking high-quality and affordable oral healthcare with a suite of nutrition, case management and wellness services offered at Serving Seniors’ flagship Gary and Mary West Senior Wellness Center in downtown San Diego, creating a one-of-a-kind, integrated community-based system of care for older adults. The West Senior Wellness Center is a unique community-based care model providing low-income seniors two meals a day and access to more than 25 nonprofit organizations and support services.
  • Challenge Center (San Diego) restores health, hope and lives through skilled physical therapy, specialized fitness and wellness programs to rehabilitate, increase independence and improve the quality of life of individuals with severe physical disabilities.
  • The Consumer Center for Health Education and Advocacy (San Diego) provides entitlement assistance to low-income seniors, including education and assistance with access to health insurance such as Medi-Cal and Medicare, as well as other assistance programs including supplemental security income, food stamps, utility assistance and in-home supportive services.
  • Meals-on-Wheels (San Diego and national) provides programs designed to specifically address food insecurity, declining health and social isolation, and helps to keep seniors at home and out of more costly healthcare settings.
  • Rebuilding Together Omaha (Omaha) operates several programs to serve older low-income homeowners with emergency repairs, home modifications and general maintenance.

To learn more about the foundation, please visit gmwf.org.

About the Gary and Mary West Foundation and West Health

The Gary and Mary West Foundation is a private non-operating foundation solely funded by Gary and Mary West that is dedicated to helping make successful aging a reality for America’s seniors. The foundation, in collaboration with the Gary and Mary West Health Institute and Gary and Mary West Health Policy Center, is working together toward a singular West Health mission dedicated to enabling seniors to successfully age in place with access to high-quality, affordable health and support services that preserve and protect their dignity, quality of life and independence. The foundation, which accepts grant proposals by invitation only, is based in San Diego and is celebrating its 10-year anniversary in 2016. Learn more at gmwf.org.

A Note to our Collaborators: Gary and Mary West Foundation Celebrates 10-Year Anniversary

Greetings,

Today is a proud day as we celebrate an exciting milestone, the 10-year anniversary of the Gary and Mary West Foundation. More than 10 years ago, I had the great honor of meeting Gary and Mary West, two extraordinarily successful entrepreneurs and visionaries who were planning to devote their entire fortune to making a positive impact in the lives of others.

Gary and Mary could have chosen any cause, any issue or any segment of our population to help with their money, time, passion, creativity and intellectual leadership. They chose to help vulnerable seniors—one of the most underserved and forgotten populations in this country. In 2006, their Foundation was born and their legacy began.

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Our anniversary celebration this week focuses on a decade of making a difference through the successful aging work of our grantees. It is wonderful to think about how many seniors’ lives we’ve touched over the past decade, helping restore their dignity and respect through the Foundation’s more than $175 million in grants to 181 organizations. Seniors who otherwise would have gone hungry, are provided with nutritious meals; seniors who were not able to chew, can now eat and smile; and seniors who never thought it would be possible to access care or basic social services, are hopeful and resilient.

I recently interviewed leaders from several foundations doing great work for seniors and asked for their perspectives on why so few others are focused on aging. I incorporated their insights into a Huffington Post blog titled, “Have we Forgotten About our Nation’s Seniors?”

Please feel free to share our anniversary video, press release and blog on social media to encourage more people to join in our mission to ensure seniors receive the care and respect they deserve.

Thank you, Gary and Mary, for inspiring us every day, and to all of you for your support and dedication to improving the lives of our seniors everywhere!

Best Wishes,

Shelley Lyford
@shelleylyford