History of the Friends Foundation for the Aging
Friends Foundation for the Aging (FFA) is a private foundation; an independent, nonprofit corporation born from the sale of the properties of the McCutchen Friends Home, a former Quaker residential facility for older adults in North Plainfield, NJ.
The original home, a grand Victorian mansion built in 1886 for Charles W. McCutchen and his family, was donated to the Religious Society of Friends in 1950 when Charles’ daughter Margaret McCutchen, felt she could no longer live there. In her words, “although not a member of the Society of Friends, I have such admiration for their ideals and such confidence in their administrative ability, that I have offered the property as a gift, to be used for such purposes as they deem best.” Shortly thereafter, the McCutchen Friends Home was opened as a 17-room boarding home for the elderly, with meals and some assistance provided as might be needed. In 1965 and 1975 a 25-bed nursing wing and six independent apartments were added to the site.
After years of facing changing needs of aging adults in a time of increasingly different service models, and reviewing a range of strategic alternatives, the Board of the McCutchen Home decided in 2007 to sell the properties and become a grant-making organization. All remaining residents were settled appropriately in other communities.
In 2008, the sale was completed, and the name changed to Religious Society of Friends Foundation for the Aging, Inc. (dba Friends Foundation for the Aging). A new mission statement was adopted, “to support and promote high-quality programs and services for older adults that enhance their quality of life and foster independence, respect, dignity and security within a framework that reflects Quaker values, mutual caring and concern.”
Under new executive leadership the Board made FFA’s first grant late in 2008. The Board continues to evolve its understanding of its role and responsibilities in the world of grantmaking and philanthropy where there are few foundations that focus on aging issues.
The current FFA Trustees live in NY, NJ and PA. 80% are members or attenders of New York and Philadelphia Yearly Meetings of Friends. The trustees represent a variety of backgrounds and expertise including professionals in the aging field, as well as banking, law, and business.
FFA is a member of:
- Friends Services Alliance
- Council of New Jersey Grantmakers
- Leading Age
- Philanthropy Network
- PEAK Grantmaking
- Increase emphasis on funding programs engaging older adults with low and moderate income.
- Collaborate with Quaker meetings and organizations to support aging members.
- Support organizations seeking new models of care, especially those that increase diversity.
- Support efforts to increase intergenerational interaction.
- Support development of future leaders in aging services.
Values that Inform the Grantmaking of Friends Foundation for the Aging
Friends Foundation for the Aging is a Quaker foundation that funds innovative and collaborative programs to improve the lives of aging adults. Its values and philosophy flow from the Quaker testimonies of simplicity, peace, integrity, community, equality and stewardship, providing a prism through which possible grants are viewed. Few proposals are likely to address all of these values, but a proposal that fails to address any of them will not likely be viewed with favor. Please note in your application how you will address these objectives. What these values mean:
- SERVICE TO DIVERSE POPULATIONS We believe firmly in diversity, equity and inclusion. Thus, we place high value on programs that are explicit in their reach to people of different cultures and races, to people of varied economic means, and to people of different sexual orientations, especially those who are underserved. We also value programs that include opportunities for intergenerational learning.
- POTENTIAL TO CREATE CHANGE We seek to change systems that are ineffective, unjust or demeaning of older adults and to help build programs and practices that are based on new understandings of the potential of people in the later years of life. Thus, we favor programs that are innovative and impactful, and that hold potential for changing old patterns of care and service. Proposals must offer a means through which the new models or new understandings can be effectively presented and shared so that they can be adopted by others.
- LEVERAGING OF RESOURCES We seek to support initiatives that attract other resources and that can become self-sustaining over time. We are eager to join with other funders in support of proposals, and to work with organizations that steward their resources well and make the most of limited funds.We are especially interested in supporting programs that include strategies for self-sufficiency beyond a developmental or demonstration phase. This could be through new revenue streams, fees and reimbursement, integration into existing budgets or other means. While open to supporting programs for more than one year, grants typically are awarded on a one-year basis.
- COLLABORATION We believe that the challenges of meeting the needs of older adults, now and in the future, require active cooperation. Thus we are supportive of collaborative efforts among or between service providers and other potential partners. We are particularly interested in programs that draw different kinds of agencies and organizations into collaborative relationships and in proposals that draw on the resources and capacities of varied institutions.
- ENGAGEMENT OF EMPLOYEES & PARTICIPANTS We are convinced of the creative potential of people at all levels of organizations when engaged effectively in planning and implementing programs. Thus, we favor proposals that demonstrate such involvement, especially involvement of direct care or front line staff and of those the program seeks to serve.
- CONTINUING ENGAGEMENT OF FRIENDS FOUNDATION FOR THE AGING We feel led to support innovative work with older adults. We see funding as part of a broader collaboration which includes engaging with prospective grantees to shape as powerful a program as possible. We also seek practical ways of remaining engaged after a grant is made, not only visiting and receiving reports of progress and challenges, but working in continuing partnership with grantees to maximize the effectiveness and impact of their work. Open communication is critical to this success.
- INTEGRATION OF SERVICES We are committed to services that address the fullest possible range of seniors’ needs: physical, behavioral and spiritual. We favor programs that break out of the traditional molds of social service and healthcare delivery, creating new partnerships and solutions.