For 10 years, Tufts Health Plan Foundation has been steadfast in its commitment to healthy aging, embracing a strong core belief: Communities that listen to and include older people in solutions are stronger, more vibrant and healthier.
In our early years, we funded programs to help older people maintain healthy bodies and minds. We learned from experts in the field. And we brought people together to explore new ways to forge personal paths to wellness.
As the Foundation matured, we got more ambitious. We listened more closely to communities and, as we did, we began to understand the need to engage more broadly, to think about how policies and systems could evolve to make communities better places to grow up and grow old.
In this report, we look back on our first decade with pride. And while it only highlights our milestones and features a few stories, it shows how our grantmaking has expanded to include innovative multiyear initiatives, collaborations with roots in community and partners in the four states where Tufts Health Plan does business. We’ve selected three stories to show the different ways we’ve grown throughout these 10 years. But even as we’ve changed over the years, our core mission has grown stronger: to promote the health and wellness of the diverse communities we serve.
We’ve grown in other ways, too. With Foundation support, we created the Corporate Citizenship program at Tufts Health Plan and are exceeding our goals for how we give back to community. Through the matching gifts program that supports employees and board members who have contributed financially to nonprofits, the Foundation has matched $500,000 to community organizations this year alone. And members of our Tufts Health Plan family — our employees and leaders —also gave their time. In this anniversary year, employees spent nearly 10,000 volunteer hours in their communities. In all our work, we strive to be responsive and relevant, to honor communities in their work and to be open and inclusive in how we engage with them. Because now that we’re a decade older, we’re wise enough to know we can’t do this work alone, nor should we. It’s just better to grow old together.
Thomas P. O’Neill III
Chair, Tufts Health Plan Foundation Board of Directors
Nora Moreno Cargie
President, Tufts Health Plan Foundation Vice President, Corporate Citizenship Tufts Health Plan
Thomas A. Croswell
President and Chief Executive Officer Tufts Health Plan
Since its beginning, Tufts Health Plan Foundation has invested more than $32 million in community. This does not include grantmaking by Tufts Health Plan before the creation of its Foundation. In 2019, Tufts Health Plan celebrates its 40th Anniversary.
Working together, creating communities that work for all generations.
Massachusetts is working to be an Age-Friendly State. With more than 140 cities and towns in the Commonwealth taking steps to become great places to grow up and grow old, Governor Baker adopted AARP’s planning process, making it the second of three states to take on the work.
How are they doing it? Through initiatives addressing transportation, support to caregivers, economic insecurity and housing. Programs that encourage intergenerational activities and welcome those living with dementia. And by listening and responding to community ideas, what they need and what they are already doing.
Collaboration is key, and the Massachusetts Healthy Aging Collaborative (MHAC) is a prime example. With roots dating back to 2010, the collaborative started out as an informal group, co-sponsored by Tufts Health Plan Foundation and the Brandeis Health
Policy Forum. Today, the Collaborative brings together more than 100 agencies and organizations committed to advancing healthy aging and supporting vibrant, age-friendly communities throughout the state.
Commitment is crucial. From the Governor’s Council to Address Aging in Massachusetts to the Community Compact program, the state has been a consistent leader in this work. The Community Compact, a state-supported program that provides cities and towns a list of approved best practices and offers grants and assistance to those municipalities that adhere to the best practices, now includes age-friendly options.
This is the first state-supported aging initiative of its kind — and proof positive that Massachusetts is leading the way in age-friendly community development.
Rooted in community, the Healthy Living Center of Excellence is relentless about improving health care for older people.
Innovation is a hallmark of the Healthy Living Center of Excellence (HLCE). Many communities have resources to help older people manage chronic conditions and become active partners in their own care. The pioneering team at Lawrence, Mass.-based HLCE has found a way to connect people to the resources they need, when they need them.
A division of Elder Services of the Merrimack Valley, Inc., HLCE gives older people access to evidence-based programs in their choice of setting within 30 miles of their homes and 30 days of referral.
HLCE creates an integrated partnership between health care delivery systems and community-based programs. And it’s working: Since 2008, they’ve signed up over 100 independent organizations, from the Amesbury Council on Aging to the YWCA, offering a healthy mix of everything from balance classes to nutrition programs.
These community-based programs are both more accessible and more effective. They employ cultures and languages that reflect diverse communities. The result: better care and improved patient outcomes. Yet, many providers are unaware of these programs.
The HLCE network functions like a well-oiled machine, creating a seamless process for health care providers and ensuring patient referrals that make a difference.
The best part: HLCE offers all its programs at no cost to participants thanks to funding commitments from sources like Tufts Health Plan Foundation. What’s more, HLCE has nearly halved its reliance on grants by pursuing contracts with health care insurers. That’s a model for not just healthier aging but the future of health care.
As we grow, we’re changing the way people think about aging.
Tufts Health Plan Foundation launched in January 2008. That year, we awarded $2.5 million to 60 Massachusetts nonprofits and pledged to focus on improving the lives of people over 60.
By 2013, we had expanded to include Rhode Island and had invested $14 million to support 150 organizations serving more than 65,000 older people.
We made our first New Hampshire grants in 2016. That year, we announced 21 new grants representing collaborations with more than 200 community organizations in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island.
Our investments had evolved. Our board had moved us to fund fewer, larger multiyear grants that were based in collaboration. These grants were focused on efforts to improve systems and scale best practices. And we saw how powerful it can be when older people are trained to advocate for policy changes.
It’s been a decade of milestones we’re so proud to look back on, but we’re especially excited about looking forward. And we’re proud to have played a role in something truly enduring: changing the way people think about getting old.
In geographic terms, we’ve grown way beyond our expectations in our first 10 years, diversifying and expanding to new communities. This year, we introduced the Momentum Fund, a new mini grant program to support early-stage initiatives and innovative age-friendly efforts. We also launched a program to engage Tufts Health Plan employees in grantmaking. Each of the company’s five business resource groups recommended a nonprofit organization for a grant of up to $5,000. Next year, we’ll begin funding in Connecticut.
It’s been a decade of incredible momentum. With each passing year, we’re growing and learning — and so are the communities we serve.
To our board for their vision and guidance. To Tufts Health Plan, whose leadership, commitment and generous endowment brought the Foundation to life and helped sustain us for 10 years. To the staff, past and present, who have made this all possible.
David Abelman; John Baackes; Donald M. Berwick, MD, MPP, FRCP; Patty Blake; Nora Moreno Cargie; Thomas Croswell; Yvonne Goldsberry, PhD; David S. Green, MD; Lydia Greene; Jackie L. Jenkins-Scott; Barbara Shattuck Kohn; Vincent Mor, PhD; Thomas P. O’Neill III, Charlotte Golar Richie; James Roosevelt Jr.; George A. Russell Jr.; Sarah E. Slater, MD; Steven A. Tolman; Rev. Liz Walker
David Abelman, Kimberly Blakemore, Anne Marie Boursiquot King, Regina Donovan, Abby Driscoll, Anne Dumke, Phillip González, Sara Leib, Stacey Mann, Kristyn McCandless, Alrie McNiff Daniels, Nora Moreno Cargie, Caite O’Brien, Theresa O’Toole, Ruth Palombo, Kayla Romanelli