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Intergenerational-shared sites are programs where children, youth, and older adults receive services at the same location. Both generations interact during regularly scheduled activities.

The use of shared spaces by multiple generations also can be an important solution in helping communities and organizations stretch their scarce resources, while benefiting all.

Grantmakers can foster collaborations between youth and older adult organizations to help create and support programs like these:

Little Tokyo Service Center in Los Angeles has broken ground on a new downtown facility for youth, families, and older people to enjoy sports, community events, and other opportunities to connect with Little Tokyo and Japanese American culture. The Paul I. Terasaki Budokan, scheduled for completion by the end of 2018, will house a two-court gymnasium for basketball, volleyball, martial arts, and other activities. The facilities will also feature an outdoor plaza for special events, children’s playground, and a community room. The multipurpose and multigenerational community facility has received support from government agencies, private foundations, corporations, and individual donors. The Terasaki Family Foundation donated $3.5 million to the $25 million capital campaign for construction costs, and The Eisner Foundation awarded a two-year, $250,000 grant to support the project.

Ebenezer Ridges in Burnsville, MN, offers independent living, assisted living, rehabilitation care, and day care for older adults and handicapped-accessible, intergenerational child care. There is a designated intergenerational space where older adults gather with the toddlers and preschoolers from child care that includes a computer center; games, toys and puzzles; books to read by the fireplace; an area for arts and crafts; a kitchen area for baking cookies; and an outdoor playground and patio.

The Champion Intergenerational Enrichment and Education Center in Columbus, Ohio, is a good example of a collaborative partnership that provides early childhood education through Columbus Early Learning Centers and senior services through the National Church Residences adult day program, with leadership in intergenerational programming by The Ohio State University Colleges of Medicine, Nursing and Social Work—all under one roof. In addition to the Early Learning Centers, National Church Residences, and Ohio State, other partners in this innovative intergenerational project include Partners Achieving Community Transformation (PACT) and the Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority.

Underscoring the importance of shared spaces, The Eisner Foundation made a $200,000, one-year grant to Generations United in 2017 for a new signature report on shared-site intergenerational programs. Working with experts at The Ohio State University, this report will include a nationwide survey of various shared-site models and include recommendations to inspire adoption of these programs in Los Angeles County and beyond.

What to fund

  • Adult day care and child care programs housed in the same facility
  • Senior center located in a public school
  • Afterschool teen program held at a senior center
  • Child care program co-located within a long-term care or assisted living facility
  • Youth recreation program in a senior housing facility
  • Community or multigenerational center offering programs for both young and old
  • Multi-use park or outdoor spaces
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