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$1 Million to Boost Alzheimer’s and Aging Programs Across Wis.

The Helen Bader Foundation (HBF), a leading philanthropic Milwaukee-based foundation and a leader in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease throughout Wisconsin, recently granted $1,082,214 in funding to various Alzheimer’s and Aging organizations throughout the state. With an emphasis on enhancing the quality of life for older adults in rural communities, the new grants will help create, expand, and bolster a variety of efforts to address various challenges that greatly improve the quality of life of Wisconsin’s aging community.

Since opening its doors in 1992, HBF has led with Helen Bader’s vision – to play a key role in supporting statewide initiatives and collaborations aimed at finding innovative approaches to assist those affected by Alzheimer’s, dementia, and aging. This recent list of grant awardees represents HBF’s continued commitment to provide an average of $1.5 million annually to support organizations that provide solutions for families struggling with Alzheimer’s disease, as well as creative and healthy aging projects. To date, HBF has given nearly $43 million in related grants, making it the largest private funder of Alzheimer’s and aging in the state.

“With the rapidly increasing number of older adults, we have been hearing from communities across Wisconsin on how to address the various health, wellness, and social needs of Wisconsin’s aging community,” said Helen Ramon, program officer and manager of HBF’s efforts to address Alzheimer’s and aging. “We at HBF are continually striving to keep our home state a national leader in how we serve older adults, and we’re impressed by the dedication of individuals and communities that share that vision for an elder-friendly Wisconsin.”

HBF’s approach to addressing Wisconsin’s aging community involves working with organizations to assure that programs and resources are available to meet the increased demand for services. The following four grants are a few of the latest examples of Helen Bader’s lasting legacy to find solutions by connecting partners, building consensus, and creating momentum on crucial issues to help older Wisconsinites live fuller, healthier lives.

Interfaith Senior Programs, Inc., which has been helping Waukesha County older adults retain their independence and contribute to their communities through a variety of services, resources and opportunities, is receiving a two-year $62,000 grant from HBF. The grant supports Wisconsin InterFaith In Action Network (WIFIAN) to continue the state’s interfaith caregiver programs. These cost-efficient, community-based programs greatly improve the quality of life of Wisconsin’s older adults and those with disabilities.

Grant funds will also be used to provide for a part-time state director to further WIFIAN’s mission of helping programs increase their overall efficacy and sustainability. WIFIAN’s state director will develop peer mentoring programs and monthly webinars to assist local programs and implement programming to assist the network, including new director training and marketing assistance.

“In rural areas, these programs are often the only resource available to seniors existing on fixed incomes,” said Colleen Motley, state director for Wisconsin Interfaith in Action Network. “Unfortunately, rural programs are experiencing serious struggles as they strive to meet the increased demand for services while budgets shrink. Our partnership with the Helen Bader Foundation ensures that we are able to continue to offer quality programming to meet the critical needs of seniors.”

Milwaukee Area Technical College Foundation, Inc., which exists to enhance educational programs and services, and support institutional advancement activities, is receiving a $100,000 grant from HBF. The grant supports Milwaukee Public Television’s (MPTV) expansion of “Next Avenue Community Conversations,” a web-based information portal in collaboration with 75 public television markets. MPTV is owned and operated by Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC).

“Next Avenue Community Conversations” has engaged local communities and citizens in healthy, interesting and vibrant discussions on how to better improve their quality of life. In addition to the web video streaming, MPTV has produced broadcast-quality viewing conversations on various topics that are important to baby boomers as they enter a new phase in their life, such as Health and Well-being, Money and Security, Work and Purpose, Living and Learning, and Caregiving.

In the coming year, the PBS affiliates covering rural Wisconsin, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, Twin Cities, and the Duluth viewing area will be approached and offered the opportunity to broadcast these productions to reach older adults living at home. Additionally, new programs and interstitials will be produced at community venues in rural areas. These segments will highlight very specific topics to be aired on the partnering stations and on the
website.

“This type of technology has a far-reaching approach to bringing aging-related topics into the home,” said Allyson Meredith Olivier, coordinator for Next Avenue Community Conversations, MPTV. “A combination of HBF’s financial support and an estimated 97 percent of Wisconsin households that are television viewers, enables programming that will help grown-ups keep growing into the next stages of life.”

Wisconsin League for Nursing, Inc. (WLN), a leader in the promotion of nursing education to enhance the quality of health and health care in Wisconsin, is receiving a two-year $60,000 grant from HBF. The grant supports WLN’s efforts to promote advanced nursing studies, with an emphasis on gerontology in rural areas of Wisconsin.

Based on an extreme shortage of nurses and individuals who are able to care for older adults, particularly in rural Wisconsin, the WLN will offer tuition support to individuals who will focus on gerontology as they pursue an advanced practice nursing degree or post-master’s certificate of education degree. The program allows individuals currently employed (full-time or part-time) and located in rural communities an opportunity to update their required academic degrees. Applicants are screened for evidence of intended academic enrollment via a structured validated search and tuition support is disbursed directly to the school of nursing of the applicant. Certification Nursing Scholarships to support post-graduate candidates whose intent is to seek certification in adult gerontology and advanced practice gerontology through the American Nursing Credentialing Center (ANCC) will also be awarded. These scholarships will be for Generalist Specialty Certification, Clinical Nurse Specialist Certification, and Nurse Practitioner Certification, all with an emphasis in Gerontology.

“The WLN is committed to making an impact on the future of nursing and health care delivery in Wisconsin,” said Maureen Greene, Ph.D., CNS-BC, ACNP-BC, the recent past president for WLN and Advanced Practice Nurse and Researcher at Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare, Milwaukee. “Through the generous support from the Helen Bader Foundation, WLN can increase the number of health care professionals in the field to meet the increased needs of Wisconsin’s aging community.” Scholarship information will be available in spring 2015 at www.wisconsinwln.org.

Wisconsin Rural Women’s Initiative, Inc. (WRWI), which provides programs for rural adult women, is receiving a $15,000 grant from HBF. The grant supports the Elderwoman program, which provides support networks and resources for older women in rural Wisconsin who experience isolation, depression, lack of support, low self-esteem and low self-confidence.

The new Elderwoman program creates partnerships with service leaders in key geographic areas identifying older women in need and making service accessible. Personal development programs and health and wellness resources are offered, and trained facilitators continue the process, providing ongoing service and support.

The Elderwoman program establishes networks that both serve and respond to the needs of older farm/rural women, which ultimately results in systematic change for themselves, their families and other members of the community.

“Aging rural and farm women are faced with a unique set of issues,” explains Mary Bub, WRWI advisory council member. “With Helen Bader Foundation’s support, WRWI programming can encourage and build self-esteem, build skills for coping with change, resource needs and remain a presence that can bring transformative and systemic change to themselves, and their communities.”

About the Helen Bader Foundation
Milwaukee-based Helen Bader Foundation, Inc. is a philanthropic leader in improving the quality of life of the diverse communities in which it works. The Foundation supports innovative projects and programs through grants, convening partners, and sharing knowledge to affect emerging issues in key areas. Awarding an average of $10 million annually, the Foundation has an emphasis on at risk populations. Since 1992, the Foundation has committed more than $250 million in grants and program-related investments, which include loans and equity investments.

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