Monday, January 28, 2008

"Coming of Age" in PA to be Replicated

On January 23, 2008, The Philadelphia Inquirer noted Philadelphia's successful Coming of Age initiative, in an article entitled "A growing search for wisdom of the elders -- Grant exports a Temple program across nation", by Lini S. Kadaba.

According to its website, "Coming of Age is Greater Philadelphia’s initiative to promote 50+ civic engagement, lifelong learning and community leadership."

Coming of Age initiative is based at Temple University, on North Broad Street, in Philadelphia, PA. It was created in 2002 as a partnership of Temple University's Center for Intergenerational Learning, AARP Pennsylvania, the United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania, and WHYY-TV.

A one-page "
Fact Sheet" (copied above) explains in bullet points its mission, composition, audience, programs, & opportunities, all aimed at the fifty plus crowd.

I have read COA's weekly email updates ever since I subscribed online -- around the time I posted an entry on this Blog entitled "
Philly's "Coming of Age" Profiles & Project" (02/26/07) -- and I have learned much.

For example, COA turned me onto the rock band "The Zimmers", which I noted in a Blog entry entitled
Zimmers "Talkin' 'Bout My Generation" (04/24/07). So, I describe COA in superlative terms.

Others recognize its excellence & effectiveness, too, according to the Inquirer's recent article. It reported that COA will be replicated & exported through grant funds:

For several years, a local initiative based at Temple University has captured the energy and expertise of many of the area's elders by connecting them to nonprofits.

Now, a $1.8 million grant over three years will allow Coming of Age to take its model on the road and replicate it around the country.

"There's a recognition that people age 50-plus are a tremendous resource for our nation, our communities," Dick Goldberg, director of the initiative, said yesterday as he announced the grant.

It is from the Atlantic Philanthropies, an international foundation based in Bermuda that billionaire American philanthropist Charles Feeney began.

The grant will allow Coming of Age to bring programs to eight communities (still to be chosen) around the country - programs such as Boomervision!, a series of community dialogues held at PBS station WHYY's studios since 2005, and Learning Lab, which has brought nonprofits together to share strategies to tap retirees.

The money also will help broaden the initiative's reach into Asian and Hispanic communities in this area. * * * [Links added.]
The recognition for this program, begun in Pennsylvania, is both national & international.
Coming of Age has boosted the number of those 50-plus who contribute time, either unpaid or paid, to community organizations, and it has expanded the types of opportunities available to older baby boomers and others, Stacey Easterling, program executive for the U.S. Aging Team of the philanthropy, said from New York."

They're engaging together unlikely partners to develop a community effort," Easterling said. "They've really developed some best practices."
How did I learn about COA's planned expansion? By reading an announcement in its most recent email newsletter.

Coming of Age To Go National
Why are Philadelphians Sol and Judy Levy, familiar to many from the Coming of Age home page, smiling? They've heard the good news: our initiative is going national!

Coming of Age
recently was awarded a three-year, $1.8 million grant from The Atlantic Philanthropies to pilot more innovative activities promoting age 50+ connection and contribution in diverse local communities and replicate our work in at least eight communities throughout the United States. * * *
To sign up for such email announcements, newsletters, or updates from Coming of Age in Philadelphia, click here.
"I love Philadelphia. I was shocked at what a great city this is.
For me, it is the cat's pajamas. I love everything about it.
I love where I live. I love the people.
I have been met with such kindness and affection here.

-- George Dzundza, American actor