Foundation Awards $1 Million to Address Older Adult Poverty
Current Cycle of General Community Grants Targets Support to Diverse and Impacted Communities Across Los Angeles
The Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles (The Foundation) today announced $1 million in grants to five community nonprofits working to alleviate older adult poverty.
The funding – part of The Foundation’s General Community Grants initiative – expands support for programs providing assistance to low-income older adults through access to food, healthcare, housing, and supportive care to live independently and age with dignity.
Recipients of this year’s awards – which match the record-high amount granted in 2021 – are: Los Angeles LGBT Center; Mexican American Opportunity Foundation (MAOF); ONEgeneration; Partners in Care Foundation; and St. Vincent Meals on Wheels.
Notably, these grants reflect The Foundation’s demonstrated commitment to equity. Monies are targeted to support diverse and impacted communities across metropolitan Los Angeles.
General Community Grants support programs focused on high-priority social issues throughout Los Angeles. Past cycles of grants have focused on education equity, homelessness, domestic and sexual violence, and human trafficking, among other areas. Over the past decade, The Foundation has awarded a total of approximately $4.5 million through this initiative. To identify the recipient nonprofits in the current cycle, as well as to leverage the impact of its grantmaking, The Foundation consulted with leading funders and experts in the field.
Foundation President and Chief Executive Officer Marvin I. Schotland said that an alarming percentage of older adults in Los Angeles live in poverty, regularly having to choose between paying for rent, food or medication. Older adult poverty in Los Angeles – already the highest in the nation – was further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, sharp increases in housing costs, and the current rampant inflation rate that has “pushed many low-income seniors further to the margins.”
He stated: “Nearly one-third of senior Angelenos live at or below the poverty line, according to U.C. Berkeley Labor Center data. In communities of color, that percentage increases dramatically. With California’s senior population expected to double in 20 years, we are confronting a crisis as more older adults than ever live in poverty. The problem is compounded by the unaffordability of housing, healthcare and other basic needs.”
He continued: “It is the responsibility of us all to protect vulnerable seniors. But specific to The Foundation, Jewish tradition instructs us to respect and safeguard our elders, and I’m proud that our grants this year are addressing this pressing issue and providing the critical resources seniors need to remain healthy and housed, and age with dignity.”
Dr. Ciriaco Pinedo, President & CEO of the Mexican American Opportunity Foundation, spoke to the impact the grant will make on the stakeholders they serve: “The investment by the Jewish Community Foundation will enable us to serve an additional 1,200 under-resourced seniors. Through our person-centered approach, these vital community members will have access to benefits-enrollment assistance to alleviate their income insecurity. The Foundation and MAOF share the belief that our seniors should have access to all the resources they need to live and age in place with dignity. The support from The Foundation will empower our seniors, and help them believe us when we say someone cares and values them.”
About the Grant Recipients
Los Angeles LGBT Center serves thousands of LGBTQ+ older adults who, due to decades of stigma and marginalization, have high rates of financial instability, isolation, lack of familial support, depression, and poor health outcomes. Nearly all of its senior center clients experience food insecurity and have to choose between food, rent, or medication each month. This grant supports Food to Thrive, feeding over 500 older adults with hot meals daily and assisting seniors in securing or renewing CalFresh benefits.
Mexican American Opportunity Foundation serves Latinx families and seniors in Boyle Heights and Eastside Los Angeles. Many of their senior clients are eligible for benefits but either do not know how to apply or have difficulty applying for and enrolling in these benefit programs, often due to language or other barriers in enrolling. This grant for Senior Services will help expand Mexican American Opportunity Foundation’s outreach and enrollment at meal sites, food pantries, and multipurpose centers enrolling 1,200 additional seniors in essential food, health, and economic benefits.
ONEgeneration provides equitable support and assistance to older adults in underserved communities in the San Fernando Valley, including its innovative intergenerational adult day care that integrates childcare with its senior services. This grant will help ONEgeneration expand its suite of older adult services, which includes housing assistance services for seniors experiencing housing insecurity or homelessness, adult day care for low-income seniors, and its new food bank and mobile food pantry feeding over 8,000 people each month.
Partners in Care Foundation supports seniors’ health in Los Angeles and California by addressing the social determinants of health and equity disparities affecting diverse, underserved, and vulnerable populations. This grant supports the identification and enrollment of over 370 low-income seniors in South Los Angeles in the Multipurpose Senior Services Program. This state benefits program will provide seniors in frail health who typically live alone with in-home care, transportation, meal services, case management, and more to keep them safely and independently housed.
St. Vincent Meals on Wheels delivers thousands of meals to over 900 homebound older adults with mobility and health issues, whose average monthly income is just over $1,000. St. Vincent typically encounters situations where clients face immediate health, social, or basic needs predicaments that endanger their stability and where there are no viable community resources to quickly address those needs. This grant will support their Home Sweet Home Emergency Fund for Low-Income Older Adults, providing 350 older adults with emergency support to keep them healthy, safe, and sustainably housed. Emergency fund expenses would include one-time help with rent, essential household items, nutritional supplements, safety equipment for frail seniors, and medicine.