We won no-fare bus passes for
low income seniors and persons living with disabilities!
The Senior Agenda Coalition is an independent and diverse coalition of agency and individual members. Our mission is to mobilize people and implement an agenda that improves the quality of life of older Rhode Islanders. We accomplish this through community organizing, public education and legislative action.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, we not been idle at The Senior Agenda Coalition. Three e-newsletters have been published, and our Five-Year strategic plan is summarized below.
We will continue to reach out to you regularly, and hope that you are looking ahead to brighter days.
Thanks to a grant from the Rhode Island Foundation, we engaged The Consultants for Good to guide us through the process. Using both surveys and focus groups, we received broad input what were the most critical issues facing older Rhode Islanders. In priority order those issues were: health and care issues; isolation and loneliness; lack of aging in community supports; transportation and loss of mobility; housing costs and options; and income insufficiency.
We then shared our data and findings with a group of 30 stakeholders from a wide spectrum: elected officials, non-profit care providers, community activists, private sector business persons, policy experts, and our own dues-paying members and Board of Directors. All then joined us for two day-long strategy discussions. Finally, our Board of Directors has been meeting virtually to complete our plan.
We look forward to sharing our 5-Year Plan with the community in the near future via our Website. I can tell you that its focus will be on continuing to do what sets us apart —recruiting members and leaders to build an even stronger and more widely-known social movement with the power to make “we want to age in the community“ a reality, not just an aspiration.
Jack Indeck, one of the founders of the Senior Agenda Coalition, died at age 94 on August 10 after a brief illness. I first met Jack in the 1990’s, when he was a member of the Gray Panthers and the leader of Single Payer RI. That group was advocating for a more affordable healthcare insurance option for Rhode Islanders, seniors in particular. Supported by foundation grants, the group crafted a plan to move toward the single payer option, but our elected leaders lacked the bold vision to follow through. Jack was a leader ahead of his time.
Jack was the Senior Agenda Board Chair when I became its second Executive Director in 2008. He was single-handedly caring for his wife who had Parkinson’s, and that burden was wearing him down. I convinced him to find respite care for her that gave him badly-needed time off. As a result they had three and a half more years together, keeping her at home until the final 2 weeks of her life. He became a champion for respite care.
In 2019 Carebreaks, the primary state-funded respite care program, had a waiting list of over 125 households needing respite services due to funding limits. Senior Agenda’s top legislative priority was an $185,000 increase in respite care funding. Jack and I met with House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello and Jack told his story of how important respite care was in his life. The Speaker was clearly moved, pledged his support, and the funding was added to the budget. The waiting list was eliminated. Jack made the difference. That funding was kept in the FY2021 budget now before the General Assembly.
Jack Indeck was the kind of leader that we are always trying to develop in our organizing work. We will never have enough leaders like him. He is our Board Chair Emeritus, and he will remain on our Board List and in our hearts forever.
Martha "Marty" Ames died suddenly on June 1. She was a dedicated Senior Agenda volunteer who helped with our newsletter production. She brought a sly humor and warm presence that helped turn our potentially boring work sessions into lively events.
She was a highly respected social worker involved in support programs for ex-offenders and persons in recovery. In addition, she volunteered and was a recognized leader in a number of community organizations serving both adults and children.
Marty was also a very involved member of Grace Church in Providence and a spiritual presence within the Episcopal Church. She was beloved by her family and a host of close friends, and she will be greatly missed by all of us.
Paul McNeil, Jr. died on June 3 after a long illness. He had been a devoted Board Member of the Senior Agenda Coalition, and before that the Gray Panthers for many years, and a lifelong activist for social justice, gay rights, peace and worker rights.
He was a state human services worker for 28 years and led the longest public sector strike of state employees in RI history.
An avid self-taught historian of labor and social movements, Paul wrote for the Labor Advocate and the Rhode Island Red, often using the pen name "Grey Fox." Most recently as a resident of the RI Veterans Home, he led a movement to improve services there. We will miss his encyclopedic knowledge of RI history and gossip about all things politica
Over 250 people gathered at the Crowne Plaza Hotel on November 1 for our 12th Annual Conference & Expo.
We were honored this year to welcome KATE HOEPKE, Executive Director of the San Francisco Village, as our Keynote speaker. She spoke with Bill Flynn about the work of her organization as well as the Village Movement across the country.
A lively panel discussion highlighted the work of community groups that focus on helping people age in their own homes.
A Town Hall meeting explored priorities for our 2020 agenda. Moderated small group sessions allowed attendees to tell their stories and express their views about the most pressing concerns they face.
Twenty-six exhibitors featured a wide array of services and programs that support these priorities.
Check out these great videos of our Conference: Part 1, Introductions & Award
Part II: Keynote Conversation between Kate Hoepke and Bill Flynn
Part III: Panel Discussion of Self Help Efforts
WE THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR SUPPORT!