Crowd in attendance at AAACF's Annual Community Meeting

Vital Seniors: A Community Innovation Competition

AAACF’s Vital Seniors Competition (VSC) aimed to spark innovative solutions to the serious problems faced by vulnerable older adults and their caregivers. Investing in well-funded and resourced programs with scalability to systems-level change, AAACF awarded $2.5 million to date, including:

The grantees were provided 3 years of access to consultants, focusing on collaboration, evaluation, and data. The resulting Vital Seniors Network (VSN) is working on a collaborative approach to support senior services in our community.

How local seniors have benefitted: 98 days total out-of-home respite care provided; 18,400+ meal and 1,600_ grocery deliveries; 2,400+ rides provided; addressing common comorbidities

How VSN is Forging Collaborations & Opportunities

  • Creating programs that wouldn't happen without cooperation: The Home Nutrition+ Pilot Program delivers medically-friendly meals AND identifies social isolation needs with follow-up referrals. 102 older adults/caregivers were enrolled in the pilot, and more than 4,605 meals were delivered in three months.
  • Attracting new funding sources from outside Washtenaw County: National Council on Aging Network Development Learning Collaborative  |  Thome Foundation  |  Michigan Health Endowment Fund  |  Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation |  Federal funds through the Administration of Community Living
  • Helping seniors and caregivers overcome obstacles to accessing services
  • Using data to learn, adapt, and improve: AAACF published the Washtenaw County Healthy & Fulfilling Aging Systems Report in 2021.
  • Investing in systems-change to work on County-wide issues: Supported formation of the Washtenaw Healthy Aging Collaborative and supported development of the Commission on Aging
  • Influencing momentum for systems-level change with collective work: The Healthy Aging At Home Network is working to contract with health payors to increase offerings and funding to the region.

Individual change + systems change = community change. An equation that adds up for our seniors.

Funding for the 2018 competition was from the Glacier Hills Legacy Fund at the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation, and support from the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, including:  

  • Vital Seniors Grand Prize of $500,000 – Ypsilanti Meals on Wheels, in partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Huron Valley
  • Ralph C. Wilson, Jr., Foundation Caregiver Prize of $250,000 – Area Agency on Aging 1-B 
  • Vital Seniors Innovation Award of $100,000 for a Small Organization – Chelsea Senior Center 
  • Vital Seniors Innovation Award of $100,000 for a Large Organization – Jewish Family Services of Washtenaw County
  • Vital Seniors People’s Choice Award of $50,000 for a Small Organization – Chelsea Senior Center 
  • Vital Seniors People’s Choice Award of $50,000 for a Large Organization – Jewish Family Services of Washtenaw County

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