Northland Foundation Rural Aging Initiatives

Integrated Rural Community Aging Program

In January 2020, the Northland Foundation began a new $3.5 million, three-year initiative. The Integrated Rural Community Aging Program will help targeted regional sites to offer a better-coordinated range of services and supports for older adults. The end goal: help ensure that people in our region, as they age, can live with dignity and independence, maintain healthy social connections, and have access to the care they need. This new program, which expands on the previous six years of the Foundation's Rural Aging Initiative work, includes three components.

  1. Community Planning and Care Coordination. From a pool of applicants, eight nonprofit organizations in northeastern Minnesota have been chosen to lead local coalitions in a formal planning process, identifying existing services and gaps in services, and developing action plans. The Northland Foundation will provide technical support in partnership with the Arrowhead Area Agency on Aging, as well as funding to help the coalitions carry out their action plans designed to improve awareness and delivery of supports to older adults. Northland will also work with Tribal partners to provide resources that will help them further support their Elders to live well.

  2. Social Engagement. The 18 Northland Foundation AGE to age sites established throughout the region, including in three Tribal Nations, have an important role to play in the new Program. AGE to age sites will not only receive support to continue their successful community-based programming that links adults 55+ with young people to help all ages thrive, but also start to serve as information hubs for local residents to learn about and get connected to aging services and supports.

  3. Quality Care/Workforce. The Northland Foundation will work with education, economic development, and labor force partners with a goal of increasing the quantity and quality of caregivers in the region. Projects might include programs to attract more students into the aging services and gerontology health care fields, making certification and training more accessible, and helping service providers improve employee recruitment and retention.

For more information about the Integrated Community Rural Aging Program, please contact Zane Bail, Director of Development and Special Projects at the Northland Foundation.

Rural Aging Initiative

The Integrated Rural Community Aging Program leverages the connections and progress made during two prior phases of the Northland Foundation's Rural Aging Initiative. From January 2017 through December 2019, phase II of the Rural Aging Initiative, Northland provided funding opportunities, technical assistance and training, and peer learning opportunities to strengthen capacity among nonprofit and community-based services, and promote collaboration and innovation to help older adults in northeastern Minnesota to age in place. With an array of community and funding partners, this three-year initiative undertook:

  • Capacity Building which included training, funding awards, and peer learning with 18 nonprofit aging services organizations in the region;
  • Civic Engagement and Social Connectedness among older adults through support for the region's 18 AGE to age: bringing generations together sites; and implementing the
  • Aging Innovations Program which spurred creative approaches to help older adults age in place with independence and purpose in rural communities and Tribal Nations.

Learn about outcomes and highlights of this initiative on the Publications & Annual Reports page of our website, under Special Initiative Publications. 

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