Innovative New Program ‘SAGE@SoFIA’ Launched to Support Isolated and Vulnerable LGBT Seniors Throughout Broward County
SAGE@SoFIA, an Our Fund Foundation initiative, is a collaboration between three non-profit organizations to better serve South Florida’s growing LGBT senior community
South Florida’s only LGBT community foundation, is joining with the national advocacy and services organization Senior Action in a Gay Environment (SAGE) and the South Florida Institute of Aging (SoFIA) to create SAGE@SoFIA, an Our Fund Foundation initiative, a signature program that will offer a variety of key services to LGBT elders in Fort Lauderdale and throughout Broward County.
“Our mission is to promote a culture of responsible philanthropy by uniting donors with organizations supporting the LGBT community to make South Florida the most livable community in the country for LGBT people and this includes residents of all ages, especially our elders,” said David Jobin president and CEO of Our Fund Foundation. “We are proud to spearhead this much-needed program which will aid hundreds of isolated seniors.”
Our Fund Foundation was cognizant of the lack of services supporting the growing number of LGBT elders who are disproportionately isolated putting them at greater risk for cognitive decline, depression and mortality. LGBT older people are twice as likely to live alone, twice as likely to be single, and 3 to 4 times less likely to have children. Many are estranged from their biological families.
LGBT support networks are often made up of friends of the same age who approach the challenges of advanced age at roughly the same time. Therefore, socially isolated LGBT elders often need to rely more on aging providers and non-profit organizations. However, discrimination is still a factor and often discourages LGBT elders from seeking care from mainstream providers, or demands that they go back into the closet to receive care.
SAGE@SoFIA, an Our Fund Foundation initiative, combines SAGE’s expertise as the world’s oldest and largest organization working with and on behalf of LGBT older people with SoFIA, a Broward-based think and act tank with a more than 50-year history of leadership and service to Broward’s older adult population.
Among the services offered by SAGE@SoFIA, an Our Fund Foundation initiative will be:
- A visitation program which matches volunteers from the community with socially isolated, often home-bound LGBT elders, sadly many of whom have no one to call in an emergency. The program will be modeled off of SAGE’s hugely successful and proven Friendly Visitor Program which forms mutually rewarding relationships to relieve chronic isolation. Founded in 1979, the Friendly Visitor Program has served six cities throughout Broward County and was the first of its kind in the United States.
- Expansion of technology training services at SOFIA’s TLC Center which will provide digital literacy and computer access to LGBT elders. Technology training will be supported by the cultural competency and technical IT assistance provided by SAGE, complemented by SOFIA to ensure a welcoming and accessible environment for LGBT elders.
- A full-time, trained SAGE@SoFIA Program Coordinator will be hired to lead and implement various programs.
- More to come
About Our Fund Foundation
As South Florida’s only LGBT community foundation, Our Fund Foundation, exists to support a sustainably livable community for all South Floridians by promoting and increasing responsible philanthropy directed at agencies advancing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues in Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach Counties. In the model of community foundations across the country, Our Fund strengthens community organizations and their leaders, mobilizes donors and funders, inspires giving, and actively secures our LGBT community’s future for generations to come. Established in 2011, Our Fund Foundation has grown into the third largest LGBT foundation in the nation. For more information on Our Fund Foundation visit our-fund.org or call 954-565-1090.
A non-profit think and act tank, the South Florida Institute on Aging (SoFIA) creates planning and development strategies to deliver socio-economic support programs for South Florida seniors that can also serve as a model for other communities with aging populations. For more than 50 years, SoFIA has provided innovative services tailored to meet seniors’ caregiving and respite, civic engagement and economic security needs. In 2018, SoFIA’s 500 experienced senior volunteers provided over a quarter of a million hours to serve nearly 2,000 residents including: veterans who received the mentoring of fellow veterans; seniors, disabled adults and caregivers who were enabled to live independently through caregiving and companionship programs; children in underserved communities that saw a 90 percent improvement in literacy skills through the Foster Grandparent program; and other non-profits that benefitted from experienced consultants. Visit www.theSoFIA.org for more information.
SAGE of South Florida is a social and support group of gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgenders, of all ages, dedicated to serving the needs of the maturing community. Our goals are to enrich the lives of members of the LGBT senior community. This is accomplished by volunteering and sponsoring various social and educational activities to deal with the special needs of aging. SAGE provides opportunities to interact with members of our LGBT community. Visit www.sagewebsite.org for more information.