At its 35th anniversary annual conference, held in Boston, Grantmakers In Aging (GIA) presented the GIA Diversity Award for 2017 to the Tufts Health Plan Foundation. Jackie Jenkins-Scott, a member of the board of directors of Tufts Health Plan Foundation and former president of Wheelock College, accepted the award on behalf of the Foundation and its grantees.
Ms. Jenkins-Scott observed, “A key tenant of our work is honoring the community and meeting them where they are. This includes listening, following and doing what is needed to ensure their success.”
The award was established in 2003 to recognize national, regional, and local individuals, programs, and organizations that embrace diversity as a fundamental element in all levels of their work in aging. It reflects GIA’s firm belief that diversity is a critical element of strong grantmaking in aging, and that diversity encompasses, but is not limited to, age, gender, race, national origin, religious beliefs, physical abilities and characteristics, sexual orientation, economic circumstances and lifestyle, or gender expression.
The award was presented by Therese Ellery, Senior Program Officer at the Rose Community Foundation in Denver, Colorado and a member of the GIA Diversity Award Committee, with the following citation:
“This year’s GIA Diversity Award winner is the Tufts Health Plan Foundation and its grantees. The Foundation’s mission is to improve the health and wellness of the diverse communities it serves. Diversity and inclusion are embedded in all of the Tufts Health Plan Foundation’s grantmaking. The Foundation prioritizes investments in underserved communities in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island, and in older adults at risk economically and socially. And while this award recognizes the Foundation generally, it especially recognizes the work of the Foundation’s grantees.
A powerful example is the Age-Friendly Boston Initiative, which you heard about earlier. The city recently released a 75-point Age-Friendly Boston Action Plan, which was informed by 30 listening sessions, conducted in 4 languages in 23 neighborhoods across the city. 70 organizations participated. In addition 3,700 surveys were completed in 6 languages. In sum, the City heard from 4,000+ older adults from every… single… community in Boston. In this and indeed all of its grantmaking, the Foundation seeks to minimize equity gaps in communities with limited resources and promote healthy aging for all residents. This means supporting work that engages LGBTQ older adults, communities of color, rural populations, and other traditionally underrepresented groups. Because of this deep and sustained commitment, it is our pleasure to present this year’s GIA Diversity Award to the Tufts Health Plan Foundation. ”
Previous GIA Diversity Award recipients have included the Center for Medicare Advocacy, the Pueblo of Zuni and Jewish Family Service of New Mexico, Services and Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Elders (SAGE) and the Coalition of Limited English Speaking Elderly (CLESE) , and several foundations, including the Rose Community Foundation, The Atlantic Philanthropies, and The Retirement Research Foundation. Members of the GIA Diversity Award Committee include Marcus R. Escobedo, Senior Program Officer and Communications Director at The John A. Hartford Foundation; Jolene Fassbinder, Program Officer, at Archstone Foundation; and Bonita Tindley, Program Officer at the Agua Fund.
For more information, please visit www.GIAging.org.