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VOL. 129 | NO. 238 | Monday, December 8, 2014

Plough Foundation Grants $12 Million to Help Local Seniors

By Don Wade

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The Plough Foundation has made an unprecedented series of grants totaling nearly $12 million to serve Memphis-area seniors.

The grants will help feed vulnerable Shelby County senior citizens a million meals, to rehab the homes of 500 low-income seniors and to build a continuum of care for elderly victims of abuse through a coordinated community response, among other projects.

The grants are the result of three years of research and community engagement led by Plough on the needs of older adults in Memphis and Shelby County and the multiple issues facing the community as the population grows older, including aging in place/independent living issues. Built-in evaluations will determine success of each initiative.


"Our aging initiative has resulted in some large and I believe impactful grants," said Mike Carpenter, executive director of the Plough Foundation, in a statement. "We received many good proposals and it wasn't easy picking which ones to fund. We believe these awards will not only help many seniors in our community but also get government, business and citizens thinking more about the issues facing the elderly."

A three-year, $3.5 million grant will develop an around-the-clock coordinated process to respond to cases of elder abuse. The grant involves nine nonprofit entities plus two government agencies: the Aging Commission of the Mid-South and the Shelby County Crime Victims Center. The 11 funded organizations will collaborate with the Memphis Police Department, the Shelby County Sheriff's Office, the Shelby County District Attorney's Office and Tennessee Adult Protective Services. The grant pays for intensive training by national experts and a data system for tracking outcomes.

A two-year, $4 million grant will fund an ambitious collaborative home rehab and repair program by Habitat for Humanity of Greater Memphis, Service Over Self (SOS) and Memphis Light, Gas and Water Division. The program will serve 500 low-income homeowners.

A three-year, $4 million grant to address senior citizen hunger will go to Metropolitan Interfaith Association (MIFA) and seven other organizations to feed 3,300 elder citizens who are at greatest risk for hunger.

Other, smaller grants will help the establish a community-based mobile eye care program for seniors, train individuals on assessing home modifications that can help seniors remain in their homes, pay for an elder abuse hotline and help produce 26 episodes of the "Best Times" program on WKNO-TV.

Plough received more than 50 proposals from local organizations. It announced the funding of seven main initiatives and has encouraged collaboration among several of the groups who applied for funding with similar proposals.

The foundation has contracted with Patti Tosti, director of Coordinated Response to Elder Abuse, to be the project director of a coordinated response initiative.

In the Elder Home Rehab program, Habitat for Humanity will be the lead partner in the local effort to provide repairs, weatherization and mobility and accessibility modifications to 500 seniors' homes during the next two years.

The "no hungry senior" program is expected to provide more than a million meals over three years. The project will qualify referred clients for one of three levels of meals: a box of food staples for those seniors who can prepare but not buy; shelf-stable meals and snacks for those who can only warm food; and hot prepared meals delivered daily for those who are most frail, expanding the existing Meals On Wheels program.

The foundation is considering at least three other grants that have not yet been finalized.

PROPERTY SALES 101 603 9,602
MORTGAGES 92 538 10,616
BUILDING PERMITS 215 1,282 20,958
BANKRUPTCIES 51 408 6,108