New Grant Initiative Will Foster Intergenerational Connections

​In November, CIC launched a new initiative to encourage college students to help low-income older adults (ages 50 and older) tackle key life challenges. Developed with support from the AARP Foundation, the “Intergenerational Connections: Students Serving Older Adults” initiative will provide CIC member colleges and universities with grants to develop or expand campus-based projects that engage students in addressing four key needs of older adults in their campus communities: healthy diets, safe and affordable housing, income-generation, and social interaction. Through the initiative, students are likely to benefit from the acquisition of new knowledge and the practice of new skills, and colleges may benefit from improved retention that often results from student engagement in service learning.

In the initiative’s first grant cycle, CIC will award up to 12 grants of $13,000 each to college programs—course-based or extracurricular—that show the greatest promise to serve the important needs of older adults in the community. The grants will be used toward student stipends during 2017–2018. A second grant cycle will be launched for the 2018–2019 academic year, and awardees from the first round will be eligible to apply along with new applicants. Because many colleges and universities already encourage students to engage in these activities, this grant program can be used to help those colleges expand existing programs as well as to encourage new initiatives.

“The AARP Foundation is looking forward to expanding its work with independent colleges and universities to increase awareness of the challenges older adults in their communities face, to capture ideas about ways that institutions can address these needs using their best asset—students—and to build a national network of programs and services at colleges and universities across the country,” remarked Lisa Marsh Ryerson, president of the AARP Foundation, former president of Wells College (NY), and a member of the CIC Board of Directors.

CIC President Richard Ekman said, “CIC hopes that this pilot project will serve as a first step toward the development of a national network of programs on independent college and university campuses that promote intergenerational interaction between students and community members.”

CIC will engage participating institutions during each one-year cycle in an online community as well as in a series of webinars to discuss their respective projects, challenges, successes, and best practices. A national best practices workshop for members of the Intergenerational Connections network will be held in August 2019.

Applications for the 2017–2018 cycle are due February 13, 2017; CIC will announce the 2018–2019 cycle in fall 2017. View examples of possible projects and application information for the Intergeneration Connections project.