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Community-based planning process wraps up, multi-year funding awards support action

Integrated Rural Community Aging: Community Planning and Care Coordination comes to life

“Partner organizations adapted quickly, not only figuring out their day-to-day work serving older adults but also building their coalition groups and crafting their action plans.”
—Tony Sertich, Northland Foundation President
In the middle of these challenging times, northeastern Minnesota is fortunate to have an incredible nonprofit network working on behalf of our communities.

Just as the Northland Foundation was rolling out its new Integrated Rural Community Aging Program, the pandemic hit. It has taken a massive toll throughout the region, but those serving elders and their family caregivers have gone above and beyond.

Establishing coalitions, visions, and action plans

Spring, summer, and into fall have been busy implementing the Community Planning and Care Coordination (CPCC) coalition-building and planning process in sites across the region. When public safety measures began in March, the process pivoted from in-person to virtual. Timelines shifted as everyone adjusted to dramatic changes in circumstances.

Dozens of organizations and individuals have joined forces to help older adults age with dignity in their homes and communities. The eight Community Planning and Care Integration sites are Two Harbors, Itasca Area/Northern St. Louis County, Ely Area, North Shore Area, Koochiching County, Northern St. Louis County, Aitkin County, and Cook County. Northland and its key partner, the Arrowhead Area Agency on Aging, will provide funding and technical assistance to the eight sites over the next two years.

Three of the coalitions – Two Harbors, Itasca Area with includes part of northern St. Louis County, and the Ely Area – were the first to be launched and have since received multi-year funding to support their exciting plans. Remaining sites will also have the opportunity for funding as their plans are solidified.

Moving to action in three sites to date

The Two Harbors action plan includes the following:

In the Ely area, action plans are to:

The plans for the Itasca Area as well as part of northern St. Louis County are to:

"The strategies that are being planned by the coalition partners, in a coordinated way, will greatly help older adults and their family caregivers to age successfully in their homes and communities," said Sertich.

The Community Planning and Care Coordination Project is just one strategy of the Integrated Rural Community Aging Program. Northland will also leverage its nationally recognized AGE to age program in 18 sites across the region to increase social engagement among older adults while helping children and youth thrive; work with Tribal Nation partners to provide resources that will help them further support Elders; and support workforce strategies to increase the quantity and quality of caregivers for older adults.