Santa Barbara Village, a community-based membership organization for residents 50 years and older living in the South Coast (Carpinteria through Goleta, inclusive), officially opened in mid October, and will expand into a full-phased launch in January, offering members access to comprehensive quality services and fostering social support and a sense of community. The Village’s opening follows a three-year thorough planning process that involved the participation of over 150 individuals and several respected local organizations. Santa Barbara Village is a collaborative initiative of the Jewish Federation of Greater Santa Barbara (serving as the organization’s fiscal sponsor), the Center for Successful Aging, United Way of Santa Barbara County, and AARP Santa Barbara. Membership is non-denominational and South Coast residents 50 years and older are eligible to join.
Santa Barbara Village is part of the Village Movement sweeping the nation, providing communities a successful model for grassroots community collaborations that help and empower older adults to live happily, healthfully, and successfully in their own homes as they age by providing a network of resources that addresses members’ living needs as well as their social, cultural, and educational interests. There are an estimated 60 Village programs and more than 100 currently in the planning stage throughout the country.
The Archstone Foundation, in support of its mission to prepare society for the growing needs of an aging society, has awarded Santa Barbara Village a $98,700 grant, to be disbursed over a two year period, as well as technical assistance, to support Santa Barbara Village’s launch of a grassroots village model serving Santa Barbara. The grant was one of 11 awarded under the foundation’s Responsive Grantmaking portfolio, representing an investment in Creating Aging Friendly Communities through the Expansion of Villages, which seeks to further understand and document the varying village models being developed. The Foundation’s President and CEO, Joseph F. Prevratil, J.D., said, “With these grants, the Archstone Foundation has continued its commitment to serving older adults. Through these grants, the Foundation is supporting consumer driven culture change for delivery of services for older adults who desire to age in community, and will identify the key organizational characteristics to advance the effectiveness and sustainability of these innovative models. The movement for Villages will grow and provide meaningful, viable options for older persons to age in community across America. If villages are successful and sustainable then together we will be pioneers in a movement that will be tailored to meet the needs of an aging population. ”
The United Way of Santa Barbara County, one of the catalysts in creating the framework to develop Santa Barbara Village, has awarded Santa Barbara Village a $7,500 grant to provide general support and to help build the organization’s infrastructure.
The Gildea Foundation, which identifies one of its special interests as projects that focus on the well- being of our senior citizens, has awarded a $10,000 grant in support of Santa Barbara Village’s Scholarship Program for low-income qualified seniors. This program provides scholarship recipients access to valuable and necessary services, while also helping ensure that the organization’s membership reflects the diversity of its service area. This award is also in keeping with the foundation’s belief that a collaborative approach to funding priority programs enables co-funders, providers, and the community to achieve “more for less.”
“This generous support from the Archstone Foundation, the Gildea Foundation, and the United Way of Santa Barbara County will not only strengthen Santa Barbara Village,” stated Naomi Kovacs, Executive Director of Santa Barbara Village, “it will provide a number of seniors living under serious financial constraints access to services otherwise unavailable to them, services that are crucial in allowing them to age in place, at home where they want to be, within a supporting community of peers and volunteers.”
“We couldn’t be more pleased that the Village Movement is gaining momentum,” stated Kovacs, “and that funders such as these recognize the important role that Villages play in communities across our nation.”
For more information on Santa Barbara Village, visit: www.sbvillage.org