March 2003

Grant Results

SUMMARY

Grantmakers in Aging, Dayton, Ohio, held its first National Research Forum, "Community Services: Strategic Grantmaking Opportunities for Research," April 13–14, 2000, in Chicago.

Grantmakers in Aging is an educational, nonprofit membership organization that focuses on promoting and strengthening grantmaking for an aging society.

Cosponsors of the meeting, attended by 41 participants from organizations with an interest in research on aging, included The National Institute on Aging, Grantmakers in Health and the Grantmakers Evaluation Network.

Key Results

  • The meeting included six keynote presentations, one panel discussion and two workshops. (See the Bibliography for details). Grantmakers in Aging produced a conference summary, "Highlights of the Inaugural National Research Forum," which included recommendations in six key areas:

    1. Funding Research on Aging: Why and How to Do It.
    • Given that the population of older adults is expected to double by 2030, research at all levels — from expensive national probability studies and multisite clinical trials, to more modest focus groups and demonstration projects — is needed.
    • Not every foundation can or should fund "macro" projects, which are often the province of federal agencies. However funding less expensive research activities — such as pilot projects — can lay the groundwork for more significant projects in the future.
    • Options for risk management when funding research in aging include collaborating with service providers, academics, other funders and/or the federal government.
    2. Workforce and the Elderly: Challenges in this Decade.
    • Funders can help to identify, test and replicate interventions to address the dramatic shortage of workers available to provide hands-on care to the increasing population of the "oldest old."
    3. Older Adults with a Developmental Disability: A Population at Risk.
    • Additional research, funding and action are needed to confront the challenges of aging among individuals with such disabilities as mental retardation, autism, cerebral palsy and epilepsy. Issues include family transition planning for those living with aging parents, as well as retirement and housing.
    4. Linkages in Aging Services: Improvements in Efficacy and Effectiveness.
    • At least 27,000 organizations nationwide provide in-home or community-based services to older adults or their caregivers. Research to improve service integration should be directed at the individual, team and program levels:
      • Individual (for example, finding ways to coordinate services so that individuals have more control).
      • Team (for example, linking professionals from diverse fields to work with individuals to create and implement care plans).
      • Program (for example, when organizations design programs together to provide services for older people).
    5. Collaborative Opportunities and Approaches.
    • Foundations have numerous opportunities to collaborate with the federal National Institute on Aging, which seeks to improve the health and well-being of older Americans through research. This can include helping to set the research agenda, initiating new research and disseminating successful research findings.
    6. Cross-Cutting Themes and Future Directions.
    • To ensure that foundation dollars are spent wisely, grantmakers must include support for research as part of grants to implement or expand community services for older adults.
    • Research findings should be effectively communicated to a variety of audiences, including practitioners, policy makers, families and consumers. This means developing clear messages about the work and identifying people who can explain findings that are sometimes technical.
    • Communications need to be improved among researchers, evaluators, providers and funders, as well as between government and private funders and among foundations. To aid in disseminating successful programs and services, it is important to overcome a reluctance to test ideas that were "not invented here."
  • Grantmakers in Aging distributed the conference summary to approximately 1,500 foundations and other organizations working in aging, The summary is also available at Grantmakers in Aging's Web site.

Funding
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) provided $15,000 in partial support for the forum.

The Mather Foundation ($30,000); the AARP Andrus Foundation ($5,000); the Helen Bader Foundation ($15,000) and the Retirement Research Foundation ($15,000) provided additional funding.

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THE PROJECT

Grantmakers in Aging held its first National Research Forum, "Community Services: Strategic Grantmaking Opportunities for Research," held April 13–14, 2000, in Chicago.

Grantmakers in Aging is an educational, nonprofit membership organization that focuses on promoting and strengthening grantmaking for an aging society. Cosponsors of the meeting, attended by 41 participants from organizations with an interest in research on aging, included The National Institute on Aging, Grantmakers in Health and the Grantmakers Evaluation Network.

Other Funding

RWJF provided $15,000, partial support for the forum. The Mather Foundation ($30,000); the AARP Andrus Foundation ($5,000); the Helen Bader Foundation ($15,000) and the Retirement Research Foundation ($15,000) provided additional funding.

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RESULTS

The meeting included six keynote presentations, one panel discussion and two workshops. (See the Bibliography for details.) Grantmakers in Aging produced a conference summary, "Highlights of the Inaugural National Research Forum," which included recommendations in six key areas:

1. Funding Research on Aging: Why and How to Do It.

  • Given that the population of older adults is expected to double by 2030, research at all levels — from expensive national probability studies and multisite clinical trials, to more modest focus groups and demonstration projects — is needed.
  • Not every foundation can or should fund "macro" projects, which are often the province of federal agencies. However funding less expensive research activities — such as pilot projects — can lay the groundwork for more significant projects in the future.
  • Options for risk management when funding research in aging include collaborating with service providers, academics, other funders and/or the federal government.

2. Workforce and the Elderly: Challenges in this Decade.

  • Funders can help to identify, test and replicate interventions to address the dramatic shortage of workers available to provide hands-on care to the increasing population of the "oldest old."

3. Older Adults with a Developmental Disability: A Population at Risk.

  • Additional research, funding and action are needed to confront the challenges of aging among individuals with such disabilities as mental retardation, autism, cerebral palsy and epilepsy. Issues include family transition planning for those living with aging parents, as well as retirement and housing.

4. Linkages in Aging Services: Improvements in Efficacy and Effectiveness.

  • At least 27,000 organizations nationwide provide in-home or community-based services to older adults or their caregivers. Research to improve service integration should be directed at the individual, team and program levels:
    1. Individual (for example, finding ways to coordinate services so that individuals have more control).
    2. Team (for example, linking professionals from diverse fields to work with individuals to create and implement care plans).
    3. Program (for example, when organizations design programs together to provide services for older people).

5. Collaborative Opportunities and Approaches

  • Foundations have numerous opportunities to collaborate with the federal National Institute on Aging, which seeks to improve the health and well-being of older Americans through research. This can include helping to set the research agenda, initiating new research and disseminating successful research findings.

6. Cross-Cutting Themes and Future Directions

  • To ensure that foundation dollars are spent wisely, grantmakers must include support for research as part of grants to implement or expand community services for older adults.
  • Research findings should be effectively communicated to a variety of audiences, including practitioners, policy makers, families and consumers. This means developing clear messages about the work and identifying people who can explain findings that are sometimes technical.
  • Communications need to be improved among researchers, evaluators, providers and funders, as well as between government and private funders and among foundations. To aid in disseminating successful programs and services, it is important to overcome a reluctance to test ideas that were "not invented here."

Communications

Grantmakers in Aging distributed the conference summary to approximately 1,500 foundations and other organizations working in aging, The summary is also available at Grantmakers in Aging's Web site.

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AFTER THE GRANT

Based on the results of this conference, Grantmakers in Aging now incorporates a section on research in its annual conferences.

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GRANT DETAILS & CONTACT INFORMATION

Project

National Research Forum on Strategic Grantmaking Opportunities of Community Services for Older Persons

Grantee

Grantmakers in Aging (Dayton,  OH)

  • Amount: $ 15,000
    Dates: April 2000 to June 2000
    ID#:  039056

Contact

Carol Farquhar
(937) 435-3156
cfarquhar@GIAging.org

Web Site

http://www.giaging.org

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BIBLIOGRAPHY

(Current as of date of this report; as provided by grantee organization; not verified by RWJF; items not available from RWJF.)

Books and Reports

Highlights of the Inaugural National Research Forum. Community Services: Strategic Grantmaking Opportunities for Research. Dayton, Ohio: Grantmakers in Aging, 2000. 3,000 copies printed; 1,500 distributed to the philanthropic community and other aging research organizations.

Sponsored Conferences

"Community Services: Strategic Grantmaking Opportunities for Research," April 13–14, 2000, Chicago. Attended by 41 people from organizations such as The Chicago Community Trust, The California Endowment, the Helen Bader Foundation and the AARP Andrus Foundation. Six keynote presentations, one panel and two workshops.

Keynote Presentations

  • Susan L. Hughes, University of Illinois at Chicago (Chicago), "Funding Research on Aging: Why and How to Do It."
  • Robyn I. Stone, Institute for the Future of Aging Services and American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging (Washington), "Workforce and the Elderly: Challenges in this Decade."
  • Matthew P. Janicki, Rehabilitation Research Training Center on Aging with Intellectual Disability (Albany, N.Y.), "Older Adults with a Developmental Disability: Population at Risk."
  • Nancy A. Whitelaw, The National Council on Aging (Washington), "Linkages in Aging Services: Improvements in Efficacy and Effectiveness."
  • Marcia G. Ory, National Institute on Aging (Bethesda, Md.), "Collaborative Opportunities and Approaches."
  • Terrie Wetle, National Institute on Aging (Bethesda, Md.), "Cross-Cutting Themes and Future Directions."

Panels

  • "The Knowledge We Need to Care for Older Adults," Brian F. Hofland, The Retirement Research Foundation (Chicago); David A. Lindeman, Mather Institute on Aging (Chicago) and Carol A. Farquhar, Grantmakers in Aging (Dayton, Ohio).

Workshops

  • "Evaluation of Community Services for Older Adults: A Primer and Tool Kit for Grantmakers," Nancy Zweibel, The Retirement Research Foundation (Chicago).
  • "Using Communications to Expand the Impact of Your Grantmaking," John Beilenson, Strategic Communications and Planning (Malvern, Pa.).

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Report prepared by: Susan G. Parker
Reviewed by: Richard Camer
Reviewed by: Karyn Feiden
Program Officer: Jane Isaacs Lowe

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