United Church Homes One of Several Nonprofits to Jointly Award More Than $9,000 in Grants to Combat Loneliness

More than $9,000 in grants have been awarded to four Dayton (Ohio) area nonprofit organizations to help fund programs aimed at addressing loneliness and social isolation. The grant fund was established after 10 Miami Valley community organizations, including United Church Homes (UCH), came together to sponsor the Ohio premiere in June 2022 of All The Lonely People, a documentary highlighting the epidemic of social isolation and loneliness. UCH was the presenting sponsor.

The 10 sponsors set aside 50 percent of the $18,600 sponsor funds raised in the showing specifically for grants — a request from the film’s producers.  

The award recipients represent a diverse group of nonprofits serving a range of demographic audiences:

  • Sunlight Village will receive $3,000 to establish bi-weekly groups for children, youth, families and older adults in Dayton’s west end and connect residents to positive groups that offer encouragement, support and healing with crafts, movie showings, music and art activities. 
  • St. Mary Development Corporation will receive $3,000 for a three-month program in three low-income housing communities for older adults in conjunction with Senior Music Connection, to bring hand chimes, drumming, song writing and other activities to connect individuals through music and creativity.
  • Rainbow Elder Care will receive $1,650 for projects in conjunction with the LGBTQ+ Youth Center, which is under development with plans to open in 2023. Projects include portraits of older area LGBTQ adults, intergenerational programming and LGBTQ history books and resources for their future library.
  • The Food Bank will receive $1,650 for a program to bring pets from the shelter to food distribution sites for interaction with older adults, proven to have a positive effect on mental health. The interactions could also help alleviate feelings of loneliness.

An eight-member committee reviewed the grant requests and made the decisions about how to award the available funds. Committee members included:

  • Tazeen Ahmed, the senior program coordinator — Health Policy & Equity, ADAMHS (Alcohol, Drug Addiction, and Mental Health Services) Board of Montgomery County
  • Richelle Frabotta, LGBTQ health initiatives project manager, Public Health — Dayton & Montgomery County
  • Kery T. Gray, commissioner’s assistant to Montgomery County Commissioner Carolyn Rice
  • Gloria Hurwitz, vice president of advancement, United Church Homes
  • The Rev Becky King, BCC, MDiv, director of spiritual care for UCH’s Trinity Communities of Greater Dayton
  • The Rev. Beth Long-Higgins, director, Ruth Frost Parker Center for Abundant Aging of United Church Homes
  • Olivia Long, grant development coordinator, United Church Homes
  • Kim Moeller, project and special event coordinator, Ruth Frost Parker Center for Abundant Aging of United Church Homes

“The grant committee was pleased to see the array of ideas and programs that were submitted,” said Long-Higgins. “The variety of organizations and the range of services helped to illustrate the need for programs addressing loneliness and social isolation. It also made the decision more difficult because we knew we would not be able to fund all of the requests.”

 “To date, working with a number of like-minded organizations, All The Lonely People has raised close to $50,000 that has been awarded as grants to promote solutions to loneliness and isolation in local communities,” said film producer Joseph Applebaum, “and we’re just getting started!”

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