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Featured Funder: Tufts Health Plan Foundation

Posted: March 1, 2018

Tufts Health Plan Foundation has been supporting JCHE for almost a decade. Their focus on older adults and healthy aging is a bright beacon for nonprofits working in this arena - especially given that the percentage of us private foundation philanthropy going towards older adults has remained at less than 2% for at least 20 years.

Nora Moreno Cargie, President of the Tufts Health Plan Foundation, leads the Foundation’s work. Nora took the time to answer a couple of big questions:

JCHE: What do you think are some of the biggest misconceptions this country has around aging? What attitudes towards aging would you like to see changed?

NMC: As we get older, we gain experiences, knowledge, and skills—in fact, the highest rate of entrepreneurial activity in recent years has been among people over age 55.

But our society is not treating older people equally. Many people are operating under outdated assumptions. Ageism—stereotyping people because of their age and thinking of them as the “other”—is all too common.

Forward-thinking employers are adopting policies that engage and retain older workers. Open-minded civic leaders include older people in thinking about community development. These practices will always result in a better process and plan because they rec- ognize and value the contributions of older people, and create opportunities that benefit all generations.

JCHE: We speak a lot about the challenges that a growing aging population presents. Let’s flip that. What are some of the unique opportunities that an

NMC: We have an opportunity  to  redefine  aging  and  what  it  means  to  be old. We live in a country that values ingenuity and our collective ability to solve problems; working together, we can eliminate outdated notions of “old” and move ahead in new ways.

We need to embrace inclusion and harness the energy of older people. Ask them how they want to participate in our communities; create opportunities that are relevant and responsive.

The opportunity we have is exciting to our team at the Foundation. We are committed to celebrating the wisdom that comes as we age. We want to support new models for workforce development, transportation and housing that reflect the needs of our communities…and that must include the needs of older people.

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