Jewish Healthcare Foundation Approves $300,000 Grant to Boost Senior Exercise, Recreation Options

April 5, 2017

(Pittsburgh, PA—April 5, 2017)—The Jewish Healthcare Foundation (JHF) Board of Trustees approved a $300,000 grant for a multi-pronged initiative to increase recreation and exercise opportunities for local seniors.

Senior Recreation and Exercise: Creating a Culture of Health

Since its establishment in 1990, JHF has demonstrated a commitment to the physical, psychological, and social well-being of seniors, as well as their caregivers. In 2016, the Foundation launched its Senior Connections initiative, which aims to strengthen a suite of service opportunities for older adults, including transportation and housing, exercise and recreation, geriatric‐friendly health care, and caregiver supports.

To advance the goals of Senior Connections, JHF has approved a two-year, $300,000 grant to increase opportunities for local seniors to meaningfully engage in a variety of exercise and recreation programs throughout all four seasons. The exercise and recreation initiatives are the result of a community-wide charrette, or planning event, that JHF convened in the summer of 2016 with more than 100 individuals representing health providers, foundations, environmental and recreational groups, aging organizations, insurers, community service providers, and activist groups. The Foundation will convene future charrettes focused on the other components of Senior Connections, including one on geriatric-friendly health care in May.

The multi-faceted approach to help seniors engage in exercise and recreation will include:

  • Launching a pilot project to allow seniors of varied abilities to engage in health-focused, guided outings in South Park and Frick Park. The programs in both parks will be designed to appeal to older adults with a wide range of fitness levels and interests. Venture Outdoors and Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy are the lead partners in developing programming for the pilot project. JHF has also partnered with AARP to recruit park ambassadors, who will help raise awareness of exercise and recreation opportunities and accompany seniors on such outings.
  • Developing a mobile-friendly, senior-friendly application that uses maps, text, and images to highlight curated walks, events, and other attractions focused on a senior audience of varied abilities. The application can be used directly by seniors, as well as by healthcare and social service providers. The Allegheny County Parks Foundation and GreenInfo Networks will develop the application. These materials will also be available in print.
  • Engaging members of the medical community to hold guided walking tours with seniors and their families. Physicians, nurses, physical and occupational therapists, and many other types of healthcare professionals will be recruited to lead the walking tours in conjunction with a Venture Outdoors staff member. The Allegheny County Medical Society and UPMC Rehabilitation Services will assist with recruitment efforts.
  • Developing online exercise and recreation programming that seniors can use to stay active during the winter and during inclement weather, and if they are unable to attend in-person activities. The online programming will housed on JHF’s soon-to-be-launched Virtual Senior Academy, a platform which connects community-dwelling seniors to interactive online classes and a peer network.
  • Creating communications materials that emphasize the importance of exercise and recreation on the health and well-being of older adults. JHF will partner with the Allegheny County Health Department and its Live Well Allegheny campaign to develop the senior-focused health messaging.

JHF will serve as the convener for all Senior Connections recreation and exercise activities, and will also establish an advisory board of local experts to guide the initiative.

About The Jewish Healthcare Foundation

The Jewish Healthcare Foundation (JHF) is a public charity that offers a unique blend of research, education, grantmaking and program management to advance the quality of clinical care and health of populations, with a focus on improving the quality, efficiency, and safety of health care. 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)— are located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and serve a national and global audience. JHF is also a founding member of the Network for Regional Healthcare Improvement (NRHI). For more information, visit

David Golebiewski
Jewish Healthcare Foundation
412-594-2553 or 412-216-6305 (mobile)