Deaconess Foundation and the St. Louis Regional Health Commission Launch Grant Fund for Organizations Serving Seniors

The St. Louis Regional Health Commission (the RHC) and its partner Deaconess Foundation have launched a $350,000 Seniors Community Revitalization and Development Fund (Seniors Community Fund) to support services for seniors in the region. The Seniors Community Fund aims to improve the public health system infrastructure to better serve residents 55 years of age and older and promote transparency and accountability. The Fund’s community-led Senior Advisory Board, comprised of residents aged 55 and older, is now accepting funding proposals for up to $30,000 from organizations/projects/initiatives addressing three priority areas: transportation, safety, and health navigation support for older adults in the Greater St. Louis region and nearby counties in Illinois.

“To realize our vision of achieving zero health disparities in our region, our approach must include the senior community voice,” said Angela Brown, CEO of the RHC. “Seniors deserve to live in safe, accessible neighborhoods and receive the support they need to navigate crucial health and social services. We’re proud to partner with Deaconess Foundation and the Senior Advisory Board to ensure local organizations receive funds to help close gaps that particularly impact seniors in Black and Brown communities.”

Through an extensive community feedback process, including in-person focus groups, listening sessions, and surveys, seniors shared ideas that have shaped the Fund’s three priority areas. While some respondents involved in the process felt their health and social needs were met within their communities, others expressed that local public transportation systems could be improved and their neighborhoods could be made safer with additional lighting, cameras, and police presence. Some seniors also expressed that they’d like assistance with understanding often complex legal programs and health and social services.

“As a longtime healthcare advocate and lifelong St. Louis resident, I’ve seen firsthand how the challenges seniors face can often go unseen and unheard,” said Rosetta Keeton, patient advisory consultant at the RHC. “Seniors have important concerns, hopes, and aspirations for their community’s future. Having the Senior Advisory Board provides those who are impacted with the power to utilize their expertise and experiences to allocate funding for needed services. I look forward to seeing how the Board leverages funds.”

The Senior Advisory Board is comprised of seniors, leaders of organizations serving seniors and families, and community leaders in St. Louis City and County, St. Charles, Jefferson, Warren, and Franklin Counties in Missouri and Madison, St. Clair, and Monroe Counties in Illinois, who share decision-making power in order to advocate for and invest in the needed services.

“We are called to listen with intention and respond to our elders, our most experienced and often sidelined community members. When we facilitate an inclusive and accessible community for seniors, we are one step closer to achieving liberation for all that expands across seven generations,” said the Rev. Bethany Johnson-Javois, president and CEO of Deaconess Foundation. “The Seniors Community Fund embodies a ‘by us, for us’ approach that centers community voices and paves the way for necessary, generational systems change for elders in our region.”

The application period for the Fund is now open and will close Oct. 31, 2023, at 11:59 p.m. Organizations/projects/initiatives that serve senior men are strongly encouraged to apply. 

Questions regarding the Seniors Community Revitalization and Development Fund can be emailed to Blessing Kuebee, the RHC strategic initiatives director.

Questions regarding application technical assistance can be emailed to Deleshā George, Deaconess Foundation program manager.

Learn more about the information session and apply for the Fund.

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