MNRAAA received an Age-Friendly Communities grant from the Southwest Initiative Foundation to work with four communities during their 2019 – 2020 grant round. A previous Southwest Initiative Foundation grant allowed us to work with two communities, Kerkhoven and Porter, in 2018. Each community is awarded a grant of up to $10,000 to complete a project to aide their community in becoming more age-friendly.
In 2019, the communities of Milan, DeGraff and Adrian agreed to undertake the process of becoming a Community for a Lifetime. The fourth community determined the timing was not right for them, so in early 2020, a meeting will be held with Tyler to determine whether they would like to become the fourth community in this grant round.
The first step in the Communities for a Lifetime process is to develop a Community Leadership Team. The Team determines the definition of their community, i.e., only within city limits or within a one-mile radius of city limits, etc. The Team then assists in distributing the Age-Friendly Community Survey document to their defined community. The survey results help to identify the community’s strengths and gaps.
Once the survey results are collated, the Community Leadership Team reviews the results to identify a gap that can be addressed with the $10,000 grant award. At the time of this writing, the DeGraff survey results have been reviewed by their Community Leadership Team. The Adrian and Milan surveys have been sent; results will be collated and reviewed in January 2020.
As an example, in DeGraff the survey identified a need for more community-wide information about transportation and nutrition services available through Prairie Five Community Action Council (CAC). This need can be met by partnering with Prairie Five CAC without using grant funds. The DeGraff Community Leadership Team met to discuss the gaps that can be closed with the grant funds; they are planning to make a final decision in January.
To some, $10,000 may not seem like very much money to complete a community-wide project, to the smallest communities in our area the process and the grant funding are invaluable. It is truly a gift to be able to assist communities in this way.
To learn how your community could become a Community for a Lifetime, call MNRAAA at 507-387-1256.