Archstone Foundation Awards Grants for “Villages”

If the Archstone Foundation has its way, "village" is going to have a new meaning. The foundation announced $1.3 million grants to expand senior "Villages."

Oakland, Calif.—If the Archstone Foundation has its way, the word “village” is going to have a new meaning, especially to the growing ranks of America’s elderly. Recently the foundation, which is based in Oakland, announced grants totaling $1.3 million to expand “Villages” throughout the state, the purpose of which is to help older adults age in place, either in single-family or multifamily settings, wherever is home.

Under the new and evolving definition, Villages are “self-governing, membership-driven, nonprofit organizations run by small staffs and volunteers working together to build welcoming communities, provide social supports, and coordinate affordable services, including transportation, in-home medical care, home repairs and other day-to-day needs for people wishing to remain in their home and communities,” according to the foundation. Currently, there are 29 Villages in California–eight are open and 21 are in development.

The concept is also going national. In 2010, NCB Capital Impact and Beacon Hill Village launched the Village to Village Network to provide a national peer-to peer-network to help communities establish their own Villages. Nationally, there are 55 operating Villages, with an additional 120 in various stages of development.

The Archstone Foundation grants are to help Villages with training in business planning, marketing, sustaining growth and viability, creating and managing strategic partnerships, and designing member programs, services, and benefits, the foundation notes. One of the larger grants, totaling nearly $230,000, is going to NCB Capital Impact to provide technical assistance to foundation-supported Villages and convene four meetings of California Villages. Another of the larger grants is going to the University of California-Berkeley, which will receive about $235,000 to conduct an external evaluation of the foundation-supported Expansion of the Village Movement initiative.

Other grants of $100,000 or less will encourage the creation or expansion of Villages patterned on the “hub and spoke” model (which is one of the Village models). The hub and spoke model “is a strategy where a group of neighborhoods located in close proximity to each other—either in the same town or in a small regional area—collaboratively develop an organization to serve as the ‘hub,’ ” Candace Baldwin, co-director of the Village to Village Network and Senior Policy Advisor, NCB Capital Impact, tells MHN. “This organization is governed by representatives from multiple neighborhoods to share the burden of administrative costs and leverage their collective power to secure funds and manage marketing and outreach activities.”

The spokes in the model, Baldwin further explains, are the neighborhoods themselves, which “have a neighborhood-based governing body and administrative operation to manage the members from their enclave,” she says. “The hub and spoke model allows multiple Villages in separate neighborhoods to leverage their collective assets.”