Jewish Healthcare Foundation Awards $665K in Grants to Address Critical Issues Affecting Vulnerable Older Adults

PITTSBURGH, PA – The Jewish Healthcare Foundation (JHF) approved $665,000 in grants, including funds to create programming to engage older adults at risk for or with early cognitive decline; initial funding to explore gender and income equities in financial planning for women as they age; financial support to the Jewish Assistance Fund; support to develop a new model of vision and hearing care for older adults in the Pittsburgh region; and funds for an original exhibit by the Rauh Jewish Archives.

Engaging Seniors at Risk for or with Early Cognitive Decline

JHF approved up to $300,000 for 2024-2025 to support persons at risk for or with early cognitive decline. The effort includes a pilot of new memory cafes in the community aimed to improve the daily functioning of at-risk seniors. The project will engage community partners, including the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh (JCC) in Squirrel Hill and the Vintage Senior Center in East Liberty, to provide feedback and implementation support on the models. The first phase of the project, expected to last eight months, will involve planning focused on creating the most effective models of engagement for at-risk seniors and an initial implementation and evaluation of the memory cafes in Fall 2024. Older adults with early-stage cognitive impairment and their caregivers will be able to assess programming with the goal of creating a sustainable model for memory cafes that can be replicated throughout our region. Memory cafes are community-based gathering places that can serve as a resource hub, offering support for families of caregivers and activities geared toward participants' interests and abilities.

Advancing Gender and Income Equity in Financial Planning for Women as They Age

A $150,000 grant over two years to Brandeis University's Heller School for Social Policy and Management will support research into how financial policies, resources, and structures have disadvantaged women and detracted from their ability to be healthy and safe in their older years. More than 35 percent of women in the U.S. who are aged 65 or older live with resources 200 percent below the poverty line. This poverty compromises women's access to adequate medical, dental, vision and mental health services. The first phases of work will catalog policy and market successes and failures, taking note of gender differences in income and assets, paid and unpaid caregiving, and health, disability and risks that are often part of aging. The Heller School of Social Policy and Management is a leader in creating sustainable solutions to social inequities and developing students who are interested in careers in social justice. Academic research partners for this grant are Karen Donelan, ScD, the Stuart H. Altman Professor and Chair of U.S. Health Policy in the Institute on Healthcare Systems, and Christine E. Bishop, PhD, the Atran Foundation Professor of Economics, both at Brandeis.

The Jewish Assistance Fund: Emergency Funds to Address Community Health Needs

JHF approved support to the Jewish Assistance Fund (JAF) of $100,000 total for a period of five years. The JAF is one of the few sources of financial support for seniors, homeless, battered, recently immigrated, or impoverished persons in the community. Requests for assistance are received confidentially and where possible, the JAF requests repayment so that funds can be available for others with future needs. JHF will provide $20,000 a year for the next five years specifically earmarked for medical, dental, and health needs. The JAF will then disburse those funds as needed and report back to JHF on trends or needs they are seeing.

Vision and Hearing Care Without Bounds: A New Model of Care for Older Adults in Our Community

A $90,000 grant to the Eye and Ear Foundation will allow it and partners in the University of Pittsburgh Departments of Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology to engage a project manager to define community needs and the efficacy of fundamentally changing the landscape of screenings and follow-up care from the traditional model of care in a center or office to new models of care delivery that use CHWs, and include remote testing, technology, and telehealth applications. As the program progresses, JHF will consider continued funding at a declining level.

The Healing Power of Handcrafted Art: Louise Silk, A Patchwork Life

JHF approved a $25,000 grant to the Rauh Jewish Archives at the Senator John Heinz History Center in support of an original exhibit, Louise Silk: A Patchwork Life, which opens in September and runs through April 2025. Funding from JHF will support programming around the exhibit that includes an emphasis on the history of "Jewish feminism." Silk, a Pittsburgh-based artist, writer, and quilter, has generously created and donated many quilts to the community's Jewish agencies, including a large quilt that has been exhibited at the entrance to JHF.


Available for Interviews: Karen Wolk Feinstein, PhD, President and CEO, Jewish Healthcare Foundation

About the Jewish Healthcare Foundation
The Jewish Healthcare Foundation (JHF) and its three operating arms — the Pittsburgh Regional Health Initiative (PRHI), Health Careers Futures (HCF), and the Women's Health Activist Movement Global (WHAMglobal) — offer a unique brand of activist philanthropy to advance healthcare innovation, advocacy, collaboration, and education in the interest of better population health. For more information, visit jhf.org. 

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