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 (and more to come) 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.