January 12, 2018

Through the generosity of Ann Arbor’s Glacier Hills Senior Living Community and Trinity Health Senior Communities of Livonia, MI, an $18.25 million fund has been created to benefit senior adults in Washtenaw County—especially those at-risk and with low incomes—in perpetuity, managed by the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation (AAACF).

Named the Glacier Hills Legacy Fund, the $18M+ sum represents an unprecedented gift to the local community, made on the occasion of Glacier Hills, Inc.’s agreement to join Trinity Health Senior Communities. Steve Kastner, President and CEO for Trinity Health Senior Communities, indicates the fund provides an excellent opportunity to extend the resources of Trinity Health Senior Communities and our local Trinity Health partner, Saint Joseph Mercy Health System, to address vital community needs for our elders.

As steward of the Glacier Hills Legacy Fund, AAACF will begin distributing more than $650,000 annually toward senior initiatives in Washtenaw County in 2018, enabling this extraordinary gift to have an immediate impact. A volunteer advisory committee of community members has been appointed to establish Legacy Fund priorities, review grant proposals, and recommend final grant determinations. AAACF staff will help facilitate grantmaking, evaluation, and formation of regional and national funding partnerships. The public should note that the Foundation is not accepting proposals for the Legacy Fund at this time.

AAACF will also direct a portion of the gift toward a prize competition for innovative, actionable new ideas to support seniors and their caregivers. Details will be released in early 2018.

This exceptional initiative on the part of Glacier Hills and Trinity is a response to huge growth anticipated in the local 60+ population over the next 25 years. The 2010 census found 53,000 adults age 60+ in Washtenaw County, with some 4,300 at or below 125% of the Federal Poverty Level. The total number is projected to rise to 110,000 by 2040. Meanwhile, neither local public funds nor local philanthropic resources are able to meet even current needs of vulnerable seniors. Michigan is home to an unusually large 65+ population, but the state’s health-related philanthropy currently designates just 3% of its granting specifically to seniors.

The senior population presents many pressing needs, including health, affordable housing and independent living support (a recent survey found 90% of local seniors wished to “age in place”), transportation and mobility, and social, employment, and volunteer opportunities (one-third of the survey sample said they felt socially isolated).

Those 75 and older—8,000 now in Washtenaw County and more than 25,000 by 2040—are especially vulnerable. Professional and family caregivers are already stretched to their limits, yet even more and better-trained caregivers will be required as this population grows. The survey referenced above reported that 15% of the sampled seniors acted as informal caregivers to other seniors, often to the detriment of their own health and finances.

An additional amount of $10M was placed with Glacier Hills, including $6.25M in a Campus Fund and Campus Fund Endowment with the Glacier Hills Foundation to help fund life-enhancing and transformational programs and initiatives for residents and staff on its Ann Arbor campus through a grantmaking process involving residents, staff and Foundation Board members.

Ray Rabidoux, Chair of the Glacier Hills Legacy Fund Committee, commends the intentional local focus and the deliberate process the Glacier Hills Board of Directors and Trinity Health Senior Communities undertook in understanding the current and projected needs of seniors here. “The magnitude of this gift represents extraordinary commitment, just as it illustrates the need for more awareness of the vulnerability of many seniors—even in a vibrant community like Washtenaw County.”

As it starts to fund senior initiatives through the Glacier Hills Legacy Fund, AAACF will seek to highlight aging issues for the broader community, particularly as they affect Washtenaw County seniors, their families, and caregivers. AAACF will also report regularly to the public on the outcomes of Glacier Hills Legacy Fund grants.

The establishment of the Glacier Hills Legacy Fund by Glacier Hills and Trinity is in addition to the commitment in 2016 by Saint Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor to join the Washtenaw Coordinated Funders as an annual grantmaker in support of human services programming, build nonprofit capacity, and foster community collaboration and systems-level change.

Established in 1963 as a permanent source of community capital, the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation has a broad community focus, enriching the quality of life throughout Washtenaw County. A core team of 18 trustees, 10 staff, and more than 400 volunteers connect people, charitable causes, and permanent capital for community impact.

Trinity Health, based in Livonia, MI, one of the largest multi-institutional Catholic health care delivery systems in the nation, and its National Health Ministry, Trinity Health Senior Communities, are known for their focus on care and services for older adults, including senior ERs, specialty acute geriatric units, medical practices, senior housing, nursing care, Programs for All Inclusive Care of the Elderly (PACE), home care and hospice services. Trinity Health employs 97,000 full-time employees including 5,300 physicians, across 22 states, and including Saint Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor.