CFO awards new Senior Mental Health grants

Five agencies receive $40,000 for new program targeting issues of social isolation, deaths of despair and community engagement.

  1. Group photo of 2019 Senior Mental Health grant recipients

The Community Foundation of the Ozarks awarded $40,000 in five Senior Mental Health grants for projects designed to improve the lives of senior citizens in Springfield and Greene County.

The grants were awarded Wednesday, March 6, at Northview Center. Representatives for each of the partnerships described their projects, which are intended to tackle senior citizen mental health challenges such as social isolation, deaths of despair and community engagement.

  • The Library Foundation: $2,300 for the Movies and Memories project to provide socialization through programs for seniors and people living with dementia in the welcoming and stimulating environment of the Library Center. The project also will provide kits for Library Outreach and any care partners that want to replicate the program.
  • Lost & Found Grief Center: $7,700 to provide five therapeutic grief support groups for older adults grieving the loss of a young adult child or spouse of many years.
  • NAMI Southwest Missouri: $10,000 for the Greene County Senior Peer Support Program to train adults 55 and older to offer support and connection to other senior adults through shared experience, ensuring those in need are connected to appropriate mental health resources and care.
  • SeniorAge Area Agency on Aging: $10,000 to launch the Counseling for Seniors Project at the Northview Center and Southside Senior Center.
  • United Way of the Ozarks: $10,000 to support the Give 5 Civic Matchmaking Program to match innovative volunteer opportunities with retired (or almost retired) adults 60 and older who live in Greene County as a way to reduce social isolation and increase community engagement among seniors.

The Senior Mental Health grants are made possible by donors who make gifts that are unrestricted or for general fields of interest, such as the needs of senior citizens. This is the inaugural grant round for the program, which was established to address one of the priority community health issues identified by the Ozarks Health Commission.

Applicants to this grant program used the Canary Measure — a tool developed by the Springfield-Greene County Health Department to track various conditions, indicators and outcomes throughout the community — to target key factors affecting senior mental health.

The grant selections are made by a volunteer committee, chaired by Jon Mooney, Assistant Director of the Springfield-Greene County Health Department. Other committee members include Annie Busch, Jordan Coiner, Julie Humphrey and Matt Lemmon.

“Mental health is a priority health issue for the community, and our senior residents face unique challenges,” said Bridget Dierks, Vice President of Programs at the CFO. “We are grateful to have organizations in the area willing to take bold approaches to address these needs.”

The Community Foundation of the Ozarks is a regional public charitable foundation established in 1973 that provides asset and resource development, grantmaking and public leadership through a network of donors, 49 affiliate foundations and some 600 nonprofit partners across central and southern Missouri.

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