ElderSource Adopts New Inclusion Statement
Inclusion Statements Are Good Business
From coffee shops, to Board Rooms, news headlines, to community events and public meetings, Jacksonville residents are participating in and hearing about conversations on the topic of acceptance and inclusion. And, of course, it goes without saying that these conversations are occurring all around the country.
In the past, we believed our organization, ElderSource, was all-inclusive – meaning our mission, vision and guiding principles demonstrated our commitment to presenting a workplace and implementing practices that made us accessible to anyone who needs our services and resources, volunteered for us or worked for us. Looking closer and using an interesting self-assessment tool, we realized we could do a much better job addressing this issue.
To this point, the ElderSource Board of Directors recently adopted the following Inclusion Statement, which we intend to incorporate in all aspects of how we do business, including but not limited to, new employee and board member orientation, interaction with our clients and vendors, posting the statement in common areas of our building, on our website and in social media posts, job applications, just to name a few.
ElderSource values all people – including but not limited to all nationalities, socio-economic backgrounds, abilities, races, genders, religious perspectives, sexual orientations and gender identities – in everything we do. We welcome the unique insights and perspectives of all persons in our quest to fulfill our mission.
Having this statement sends a clear message that we take inclusion seriously. One of our board members who has helped lead this discussion eloquently stated, “We just don’t want to invite people to the party. We want to ask them to dance.”
This is just the beginning of the efforts we are taking to make sure we are sincerely inclusive. I invite and encourage other CEOs and community leaders to examine the climate of their workplaces and consider crafting an Inclusion Statement in order to create an environment where all employees, customers and vendors feel safe, comfortable and certainly welcome to dance.
Linda J. Levin, M.S.G.
This piece was recently submitted to and published in the Florida Times Union in February 2017. Click here to view it on their website.
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Medicare Open Enrollment Begins
Medicare Open Enrollment Begins Oct. 15th
Need Help Figuring It Out?
Have you been waiting to make changes to your Medicare Prescription Drug or Medicare Advantage plan? The long-awaited official period of change is here. The Annual Enrollment Period (AEP), the specific time frame to make changes in your Medicare plan, runs from October 15 through December 7, 2017. ElderSource, the Area Agency on Aging for Northeast Florida has a specific program through the Florida Department of Elder Affairs to help seniors understand their options and make the best choice for them.
The program, called SHINE (Serving the Health Insurance Needs of Elders has trained volunteers to give free and unbiased Medicare counseling to Florida’s seniors. The program provides educational presentations, informational materials, and an opportunity to speak one-on-one with a trained Medicare counselor.
Medicare beneficiaries are faced with an overwhelming array of healthcare choices and may need guidance on Medicare issues, supplemental policies, prescription resources, and Medicaid coverage. Medicare beneficiaries are encouraged to make a plan — review your costs and coverage and take the necessary steps to ensure your healthcare needs are met in 2017. The ElderSource SHINE counselors are here for you!
SHINE can assist all Medicare beneficiaries during the Medicare Annual Election Period to compare and, if necessary, enroll in Medicare health or prescription drug plans. ElderSource is hosting a number of enrollment clinics in Volusia County where individuals may receive in-person assistance and get more information.
Also note that general enrollment is happening now and will end on March 31st, 2017. This enrollment period is if a beneficiary did not sign up for Part A and/or Part B when first eligible.
Interested individuals are invited to visit www.FloridaSHINE.org for a listing of local events.
Call the ElderSource Elder Helpline toll-free at 1-888-242-4464 and ask to speak with a SHINE counselor.
Volunteers Needed in Volusia County For SHINE Program
ElderSource, a nonprofit organization that works to empower elders and their caregivers age with dignity and independence, is currently recruiting volunteers in Volusia County to help citizens become better informed about their Medicare choices. Volunteers are vital part of ElderSource’s SHINE program (Serving Health Insurance Needs of Elders), which helps elders make informed decisions about their Medicare health benefits and other health insurance issues.
Through an at-home, online training program SHINE Volunteers will receive basic training on Medicare, Medicare Part D (prescription drug program), Medicare Supplement Insurance and Medicaid. Volunteers have four weeks to complete the training at their own pace. Online course will be followed by a one day training that includes a detailed review and hands-on instruction. Additionally, other SHINE volunteers will serve as mentors to their peers on how to understand and capitalize on these insurance benefits.
Interested persons are asked to register calling 904.391.6644.
Computer experience is helpful, but not necessary, to participate in the training. Volunteers will be served lunch and reimbursed for mileage at a rate of $.445 per mile.
Interested persons are asked to register by February 16 by registering online at www.floridashine.org/join-the-team. People may also call 904.391.6644 for information.
Upon completion of the training, volunteers will have the opportunity to give presentations out in their communities and provide much-needed counseling with seniors to secure these complicated health insurance benefits. Volunteers, supported by SHINE staff, will connect with elders at various locations in the community, including but not limited to health fairs, senior events and other community outreach events.
To learn more about SHINE or to become a SHINE Volunteer go to www.floridashine.org. SHINE is a program of the Florida Department of Elder Services, funded through a grant from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and operated in partnership with the state’s 11 area agencies on aging.
Times-Union Editorial Focuses on Growing Needs of NE FL Aging Community
Editorial: The “Silver Tsunami” is coming
According to the Administration on Aging’s most recent profile of older Americans, there are more than 44 million Americans who are 65 or older — nearly a 25 percent increase over the last 11 years.
It also notes that while Americans 65 years and older now make up about 15 percent of the U.S. population, that’s expected to grow to nearly 22 percent by 2040.
How significant is that?
Well, by 2033 — 18 years from now — there will be more Americans 65 and older than those 18 and younger for the first time in the nation’s history, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s population projections.
And the silver tide will roll as the rest of the nation begins to look more like Florida.
FLORIDA LEADS THE WAY
Florida is one of 19 states, according to Aging Administration stats, where residents 65 and older already make up more than 15 percent of the population.
In Duval County alone, nearly 1 in every 5 residents is age 60 or older, according to Florida’s Department of Elder Affairs.
Both of those categories are expected to explode in numbers in the years ahead — and so will many others when it comes to the older population in Florida and Northeast Florida.
“There are big challenges coming ahead for us that I don’t think we’ve fully grasped,” said Linda Levin, executive director of Elder Source.
“But it’s also going to create lots of great opportunities ahead for us, too,” Levin added. “The story of our (increasing) older population shouldn’t be just about the needs it will have. It should also be about the huge contributions it can and will continue to make to our community.”
A HIDDEN GEM
Elder Source has been doing amazing work in helping to meet the needs, but it also promotes the promise and potential of this area’s older population.
In its role as the lead organization for overseeing the state funds that support senior services in Duval, St. Johns, Clay and four other area counties, Elder Source does everything from helping link older residents to programs and benefits to providing critical backing to caregivers.
It operates a Resource Center Help Line that handles approximately 3,000 calls each month. The help line is largely regarded as one of the best service centers for seniors in Florida, thanks to the numerous volunteers who work in tandem with Elder Source to staff it.
Elder Source has been consistently recognized by the state for its excellence and accountability; it’s among a handful of organizations — of any kind — to win national accreditation from the Alliance of Information & Referral Systems for its ability to use data and other resources to help its clients.
In short, Elder Source is yet another of Jacksonville’s hidden gems — an effective nonprofit that may lack the high profile of some but makes a huge impact few can match.
The fact is that Floridians and Americans are getting older. If the state is smart, Florida will be the national leader in adjusting to this wave of older Americans.
The sheer numbers of older Americans means there will be big pressures on health care and retirement costs. That means the nation must take every opportunity to spend those funds wisely.
There are many elderly Americans who are ready and willing to work, some with part-time or flexible hours. That human resource can be a big asset if employers capitalize.
The “Silver Tsunami” is coming to Northeast Florida.
And as that tsunami approaches, Elder Source’s work in addressing it will be even more critical — and appreciated — throughout our community.
The 2015 Delores Barr Weaver Elder Advocate Award Winner Honored at A Night with the Stars
“Bloom where you are planted.” These words of wisdom have been the foundation for a woman who has devoted most of her life to community service. Anita Gerson, community leader and volunteer in Macclenny, was honored on June 6th with 2015 Delores Barr Weaver Elder Advocate Award as part of the Friends of ElderSource “A Night with the Stars” gala benefitting ElderSource.
The octogenarian is the fourth individual to receive the award created to honor individuals who epitomize what it means to be a friend and advocate to elders, and to champion issues they confront. The Friends of ElderSource, the fundraising arm of ElderSource, established the Delores Barr Weaver Elder Advocate award to recognize Mrs. Weaver’s compassion for elders as demonstrated through her vision in establishing the Senior to Senior Fund. The program is designed to assist senior citizens residing in Duval, Nassau, Baker, Clay and St. Johns Counties who are facing short-term financial crises.
Ms. Gerson has been a faithful member of the ElderSource Advisory Council since March 2005 and served as its chair from 2010 to 2014, as well as a member of the ElderSource Board of Directors. Over the years, Ms. Gerson has encouraged the Advisory Council members to be the voice for seniors in their community in addition to conducting numerous client satisfaction surveys to gauge the quality of services being delivered to seniors in Baker County. She also was an active member of the Board of Directors of the Baker Count Council on Aging for seven years and president for one of those years. Time and again she demonstrated her concern for the well-being of all older adults in Baker County and ElderSource’s seven county area.
Mrs. Gerson comes from a long history of community service. Ms. Gerson and her family have had a broad and deep connection to the Baker County area since 1919. Ms. Gerson organized the first health clinics in Baker County schools; set up the first elementary school PTA in Macclenny and served as its president for two years; was on three different PTA Boards at three different schools; and trained the first groups in Red Cross first aid to staff the clinics. She is a Master Gardener and past member and former president of the Baker County Garden Club.
“My mama told me to always leave a place better than when you came to it and bloom where you are planted,” said Anita Gerson.
A Night with the Stars Gala raised much-needed funds for ElderSource to continue providing resources and services to families and the community. The event with the theme Crooners, Cars & Cocktails theme, transported guests to the Rat Pack era with an elegant ‘50s twist, big band music from Crescendo Amelia Big Band, dancing, signature cocktails and heavy hors d’oeuvres, all staged in an elegant club atmosphere at WJCT Studios.
Designated as an Aging and Disability Resource Center, ElderSource is funded in part by state and federal grants, foundation grants and private donations and reaches out to more than 12,000 people each year throughout its seven county service area in northeast Florida.
ElderSource Receives Grant from Community Foundation New LGBT Fund
Jacksonville, FL (September 17, 2014) At a news conference this afternoon, The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida announced the formation of a new fund, the LGBT Community Fund for Northeast Florida, and identified the recipients of the fund’s inaugural grants.
Initially prompted by the request of a donor, the LGBT Community Fund is a giving circle, a group of like-minded individuals who give collectively and determine the focus of their philanthropy as a group. Together, the LGBT Community Fund members help the local community address some of the needs of our LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) friends and neighbors. The LGBT Community Fund is The Community Foundation’s second giving circle; the Women’s Giving Alliance was established by The Community Foundation in 2002.
“The LGBT Community Fund seeks to help existing community organizations and institutions better serve the community’s LGBT youth, families and elders,” said Nina Waters, President of The Community Foundation. “The goal is to build capacity, knowledge and understanding within the organizations serving LGBT youth, family and elders, so they may respond capably and equally to the needs of all constituents, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.”
Jeff Chartrand, a LGBT Community Fund member and underwriter of the exploratory group that led to the creation of the Fund, said that the Fund will support $100,000 in grants, outreach and research in this first year of operation:
- $40,000 to JASMYN (The Jacksonville Sexual Minority Youth Network) to expand its fundraising capacity to accommodate increased demands for service, and to facilitate strategic planning.
- $30,000 to ElderSource to provide LGBT sensitivity training to professionals serving elders, and to provide outreach to LGBT elders in the community.
- $18,000 to University of North Florida LGBT Resource Center to support creation of a campus-wide education and visibility campaign to address safety and inclusion issues for transgender and gender non-conforming individuals.
- $7,000 to support development of the fund, outreach and awareness
- $5,000 to conduct and disseminate research on services and programs that support LGBT families
“We couldn’t be more pleased with our first giving and grant-making cycle,” said Chartrand. “The grant proposals requested and submitted by these organizations reflect their thoughtful dedication to improving the lives of LGBT seniors, youth and families. We are proud to become supporters of their meaningful and impactful work.”
There is no minimum gift requirement to participate in the Fund, though only those donors who make annual gifts of $2,500 or more per person are eligible to participate in the grantmaking process. The LGBT Community Fund is a non-endowed fund — meaning all of its assets are available for grantmaking. The annual funding campaign will be held from January through April, with the results determining the available grant pool for the year. At this time, the fund does not accept unsolicited grant proposals; organizations seeking grants must be invited to apply.
About The LGBT Community Fund for Northeast Florida The LGBT Community Fund for Northeast Florida, a giving circle of The Community Foundation of Northeast Florida, was founded in 2014 and pools the collective resources of its members to benefit the LGBT community in Northeast Florida. A steering committee representing members works to develop the grantmaking strategy and guides the work of the Fund. Any member making an annual gift of $2500 or more can serve on the Steering Committee. To become a member or donate to the Fund, or for more information, visit www.lgbtnefl.org.
About the Community Foundation
Now celebrating its 50th anniversary, The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida (www.jaxcf.org) is Florida’s oldest and largest community foundation. The Foundation works to stimulate philanthropy to build a better community – helping donors invest their philanthropic gifts wisely, helping nonprofits serve the region effectively, and helping people come together to make the community a better place. The Foundation has nearly $297 million in assets and has made grants in excess of $278 million since 1964.
ElderSource Receives National Accreditation
ElderSource has been recognized for excellence in information and referral services by successfully completing a detailed, nationally-recognized accreditation process from the Alliance of Information and Referral Systems (AIRS). ElderSource, the Area Agency on Aging and Aging and Disability Resource Center for Northeast Florida, is among a select group of organizations to be accredited by AIRS, recognizing quality information and referral processes throughout its seven county service area. ElderSource is the only Area Agency on Aging in Florida that has earned this distinction.
The AIRS Accreditation Program is a multi-phase process that assesses more than 200 distinct operational components and includes an expert review of the agency’s resource database, a “secret shopper” monitoring of service delivery, and culminates in a detailed onsite review.
The ElderSource Aging & Disability Resource Center (ADRC) HelpLine receives approximately 3,000 calls a month from seniors, adults with disabilities and their caregivers seeking information and guidance on a myriad of age-related issues. ADRC Customer Service staff conducts a thorough in-take process with the goal of connecting these individuals to resources so they can live independently and age with dignity.
ElderSource joins more than 130 organizations in the United States and Canada to have successfully attained AIRS Accreditation.
ElderSource is funded in part by state and federal grants, foundation grants and private donations. The northeast Florida service area includes Baker, Clay, Duval, Flagler, Nassau, St. Johns and Volusia counties. ElderSource reaches out to more than 12,000 people each year and is in its 40th year of business.