Bader Philanthropies Issues RFP for Projects That Reduce Social Isolation Among Older Rural Adults

Milwaukee-based Bader Philanthropies has issued a Request for Proposals from agencies interested in working with key community stakeholders to engage, train, and support older adults in using technology to reduce social isolation, increase social and community engagement, and improve quality of life.

Social isolation among older adults is an unseen epidemic. Recent studies show nearly half of older adults will experience social isolation, which is linked to a range of negative physical and psychological outcomes that can be life threatening. What's more, the problem is having a disproportionate impact on older adults in rural areas due to geographic isolation, limited access to reliable transportation, and reduced family/social networks as young people move to urban areas for employment.

Bader Philanthropies believes that technology can play a transformative role in reducing the effects of social isolation among older rural adults by providing them with stimulating, meaningful, and enjoyable activities; enhancing their sense of connection to family, friends, and community; and helping them live independently in their community of choice.

Successful project proposals will have the following elements: specific plans for the identification/selection of socially isolated older adults; knowledge and resource sharing among partners; intergenerational support services for technical education when possible; and a detailed project plan with measurable goals.

The foundation suggests that projects serve a minimum of a hundred older adults and, if intergenerational approaches are used, involve a minimum of fifty young people.

To be eligible for a grant under this RFP, projects/programs must serve northeastern Wisconsin (i.e., Brown, Calumet, Door, Kewaunee, Marinette, Oconto, Outagamie, Waupaca, and Winnebago counties). Projects can be community-wide, city-wide, and county- or multi-county focused. 

Eligible organizations include but are not limited to nonprofit organizations, schools, public and private institutions of higher education, health organizations, libraries, and/or governmental organizations. Multi-agency efforts are strongly encouraged.

Successful grantees will be required to participate in bi-annual gatherings with other grantees where they share results, outcome measurements, challenges, and lessons learned. The final outcomes and lessons learned will be shared throughout rural Wisconsin and nationally at a final convening held in 2022.

The application deadline is October 18, 2019. Proposals will be considered by the Bader Philanthropies board of directors in January 2020. Funds can be expended over a two-year time period, beginning February 2020. Projects should be completed by December 31, 2021.

See the Bader Philanthropies Online Portal for application instructions and to apply.