CHAI Awarded Eisner Foundation Grant in Support of Intergenerational Programming
The Center for Health and Aging Innovation (CHAI), directed by Associate Professor and MSW Program Director Dr. Ernest Gonzales, has been awarded a $150,000 grant from The Eisner Foundation to strengthen its portfolio of intergenerational programs. It was one of the first 13 grants made through The Eisner Foundation’s New York City grantmaking program, which was announced in November 2021.
Based at NYU Silver, CHAI was launched in January of 2021 and has a specific goal of maximizing the promise of intergenerational cohesion and relationships. CHAI offers an array of intergenerational programs that range from short-term intergenerational art interventions and discussions on aging and life to longer-term academic and professional courses and intergenerational home sharing. Dr. Gonzales explained “We learned early on that some individuals want a meaningful intergenerational interaction but can only commit a few hours of their time, while others want a longer and deeper interaction.”
CHAI’s intergenerational programs include:
“Images of Future Selves,” a 15-hour intergenerational arts program designed in collaboration with NYU Work Life to highlight creativity and generativity, and combat ageism through an intersectional lens among racially and ethnically diverse retired faculty and college students.
The Death Cafe, a collaboration with The Wrinkle Project, led by CHAI Associate Dr. Stacey Gordon, the Program Director of Next Phase Adult Caregiving and Retirement at NYU Work Life. The 2-hour program brings together people of all ages to engage in conversation about how we want to live and what impact we want to have in society while becoming more familiar with important end of life conversations in an open, nonjudgmental, intergenerational setting.
Academic courses at NYU Silver, such as the MSW-level electives Theories and Issues of Aging and Ending Ageism, and the BS-level electives Alzheimer’s Disease: Sharing the Lived Experience and Service Learning through Visits with Holocaust Survivors.
The NYU Intergenerational Home Share Program, a collaboration with The New York Foundation for Senior Citizens, which matches graduate students in need of housing with older adults to bolster economic security, affordability of higher education, and social cohesion.
“We believe this portfolio of intergenerational programs fosters awareness, understanding, and appreciation for collaboration across generations,” said Dr. Gonzales. “Moreover, we have evidence that it significantly impacts participants’ stereotypes on aging; affects health, social, and economic outcomes for older and younger individuals; and promotes tight societal bonds between the generations.”
Dr. Gonzales said the funding from The Eisner Foundation will enable CHAI to hire a full-time social worker to raise awareness about the Center’s intergenerational programs in the broader NYC community, recruit participants, evaluate their effectiveness, and develop “how to” manuals to replicate them at other universities. “This partnership with The Eisner Foundation presents an opportunity for CHAI to expand our intergenerational efforts and make a major impact on hundreds more diverse students and older adults.”