Building a Strong Foundation for the Future of Our Region
The later years of life should be as purpose-filled, vibrant, and comfortable as youth and middle age. Yet, especially in rural communities, connecting older adults and caregivers with the activities, services, and supports for aging-in-place can be more challenging. Less robust community and nonprofit infrastructure, longer distances to travel, and smaller concentrations of resources can form hurdles to aging with independence and dignity. The Northland Foundation is embarking on a multi-year, three-pronged initiative to overcome hurdles and enhance the journey of growing older in our rural region.
With the support of a $2.5 million, three-year grant the Rural Aging Initiative aims to strengthen the avenues for older adults in northeastern Minnesota to live full, meaningful lives with independence and dignity in their homes and communities. The funding for this Initiative is primarily being provided by the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation.
“This generous level of resources will enable us to dig much deeper into our longtime focus on aging and community vitality." —Tom Renier
For more than 27 years, “Aging with Independence” has been a Northland priority for both grantmaking and programming. Tapping that well of experience in the area of aging, as well as leveraging the power of strong relationships with other entities serving the needs of older adults and caregivers, are keys to success.
“We know the American population is aging, and this region is aging at a rate even faster than national averages, so the time to seek new solutions and expand community capacity to provide for our older adults is now,” stated Tom Renier, President of the Northland Foundation.
The first of the Rural Aging Initiative’s three strategic focus areas will include both financial and training support to nonprofit organizations and community partners in order to strengthen the avenues that help the older generation to be vital contributors to society and be as independent as possible throughout their lives.
Staying active and connected to our
communities as we get older is proven
to help maintain both physical and
Secondly, the Initiative plans to increase active civic engagement and social connectedness among older people. Staying active and connected to our communities as we get older is proven to help maintain both physical and mental wellbeing. This work will involve Northland’s nationally recognized AGE to age program, which is flourishing in 13 communities, including three Indian Reservations, in northeastern Minnesota.
The third prong will assist the Northland Foundation to hone its rural residential assisted living model, serving older adults from across the economic spectrum in its McGregor, Buhl, and Hoyt Lakes facilities.
“This generous level of resources," explained Renier, “in concert with strong community partnerships—which are essential to the way we have always done business—will enable us to dig much deeper into our longtime focus on aging and community vitality.”
For more information about the Rural Aging Initiative, contact Zane Bail, Director of Development and Special Projects at the Northland Foundation.