UMRC Receives Grants Totaling $75K


By Doug Marrin

The UMRC & Porter Hills Foundation has received two grants totaling $75,000 which will provide art classes for residents and support for behavioral health care at Huron Valley PACE.

The first grant is for $25,000 from the Aroha Philanthropies Vitality Arts Granting program. These funds will support arts instruction for residents of UMRC’s historic Chelsea Retirement Community (CRC) campus as part of the project, Art of Aging: Crafting a Creative Community.

This project will offer an opportunity across CRC’s continuum of care for independent and assisted living residents and those receiving care at the Kresge Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center to learn the art of pottery, watercolors, and acrylic painting from local, professional teaching artists. Each class will also include a culminating event to showcase the finished artwork they create.

“Life enrichment is one of the Foundation’s four priority fundraising initiatives, helping the older adults we serve to find their purpose, follow their passions, and live life to the fullest,” said UMRC & Porter Hills Foundation President, Wendy Brightman. “We know the arts are a vital part of healthy aging, and we are thrilled to have this unique opportunity to provide meaningful arts instruction for the older adults we serve.”

Since launching arts classes at CRC in 2017, thanks to an initial grant from Aroha Philanthropies and gifts from other funders, UMRC & Porter Hills has offered a variety of arts programming, including theatre arts, ukulele, pottery, painting, and more, for over 200 residents.

Brightman added, “We are delighted for the older adults we serve to have the opportunity to utilize this new space for this exciting project and honored to partner with Aroha Philanthropies to make the arts available and accessible for our residents.”

The second grant of $50,000 is from the Ethel and James Flinn Foundation. These funds will support behavioral health training and workforce development for team members at Huron Valley PACE (Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly) to best serve the mental health care needs of its participants and their families.

A program of United Methodist Retirement Communities (UMRC) & Porter Hills, Huron Valley PACE, located in Ypsilanti, Michigan serves the psycho-social, medical, and supportive needs of low-income, nursing home-eligible adults, aged 55 and up. Its service area extends throughout Washtenaw, Monroe, and parts of Oakland, Wayne, and Livingston counties.

A previous grant two years ago from the Flinn Foundation helped launch the integration of behavioral health at Huron Valley PACE. This grant from the Flinn Foundation’s Capacity Building Opportunities fund will be used to provide a variety of mental health training for Huron Valley PACE team members and create a train-the-trainer program to fully integrate behavioral health into the primary care PACE delivers.

“Thanks to the Flinn Foundation, we have a solid framework for behavioral health in place,” explains Sonja Felton, Executive Director of Huron Valley PACE. “This project will allow Huron Valley PACE to create structures to ensure our entire team has the skills they need and that services are fully integrated into the PACE model.”

Mental health concerns for older adults have been exacerbated by the social isolation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Felton. “Quality behavioral health has been especially vital during the pandemic when behavioral health struggles for older adults have been at all-time highs,” said Felton. “UMRC & Porter Hills understands that access to mental health services is crucial to our vision of empowering all to age well. We are grateful for the continued generosity and opportunity to partner with the Ethel and James Flinn Foundation.”

Photo: Chelsea Retirement Community, Chelsea. Photo: Google.

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