Thomas's RWJF audience included program officer David C. Colby, Ph.D., a member of what was then the foundation's Supportive Services Team.
The team's portfolio included long-term care, and Colby was on the lookout for promising new approaches that might—with a little financial boost from RWJF—blossom eventually into alternatives to the traditional nursing home. In Colby's words, he wanted to seed the field.
Colby saw promise in Thomas's concept but was under no illusions. Turning the concept into reality would not be easy, and any payoff was likely to be years away. Still, he considered it a risk worth taking and invited Thomas to apply for a grant to help get the Green House concept from idea to reality. Colby expected RWJF's investment to be limited in both dollars and duration.
Although nursing home reform has not been a major focus of RWJF, RWJF over the years has funded many initiatives to improve the quality of long-term care for the elderly. These include:
In 2003, as part of a new framework for RWJF grantmaking, the Supportive Services Team disbanded, and long-term care issues became the responsibility of a staff group created to focus on the nation's vulnerable populations, including older adults.