The Council for Older Adults has announced more than $530,000 in grant money awarded to 14 Central Ohio organizations and agencies.
“Generally speaking, the COA (tries) to manage a comprehensive system of care for seniors,” said COA executive director Bob Horrocks. “As part of that, we think it’s important to provide funding to community partners who are engaged in serving seniors on a day-to-day basis. Fortunately through our senior service levy dollars, we’ve always been able to do that. It makes us a more coordinated system and it makes it more efficient.”
Grant applications were sent out to previous applicants and was advertised in the spring, and board’s grant review committee made recommendations to the full board after reviewing applications in the fall.
“Some of the grants are for things we’ve funded for 15 years or more, and some things can be totally new,” Horrocks said. “Pretty much the majority are the organizations we’ve funded before. Sometimes the specifics of that organization will change and sometimes not.”
Organizations such as AARP has received grant money in previous years, but not every year he said. They were awarded $4,249.11 for new equipment for their tax-assistance program.
Horrocks said COA also increased the funding to the Central Ohio Area Agency on Aging (COAAA) volunteer guardianship program to $10,000. The program generally receives funding yearly.
“There’s a strong component of volunteer action in these grants – actively engaging volunteers where action is done,” he said.
Employment for Seniors, a new recipient of grant money, will received more than $9,500 and is planning job fairs in Delaware County.
“That’s an organization that’s based in Columbus and doing good work, and we wanted to give them some incentive to come to Delaware County,” he said. “There are a lot of folks who were retired or thought they were retired and are now looking for work.”
Horrocks said the method of funding outside organizations rather than use the levy money to create programs within the COA creates a tighter community and streamlines services.
“Why would we want to try to duplicate (services)?” he said. “Sometimes organizations say we’re going to do it all. We’re going to use all of these dollars ourselves. And we really felt like it’s more efficient.”
He said the method of grant distribution just makes sense for seniors in the community.
“When people call us, it keeps us involved with what’s going on int he community and helps us help people connect with the best place for then,” Horrocks said.