NextFifty Initiative is a Colorado-based nonprofit organization formed to identify and fund projects that improve the lives of those who are aging. NextFifty Initiative launched our inaugural grant cycle in November 2017 and announced our first grant recipients in March 2018. To date, we have awarded funding to more than 100 organizations working to improve and sustain quality of life for people in their second 50 years.

 As the chair of the board of trustees, I am humbled by the forward-thinking nature of the organizations that apply for funding. For each grant cycle, we receive applications from organizations that are working to develop innovative approaches that support older people’s ability to contribute to their communities today and look to the future to create a more aging-friendly state.

 The month of May was designated as Older Americans Month. As I reflect on the projects we’ve funded, it is apparent that the 2019 Older Americans Month theme "Connect, Create, Contribute" is so closely aligned with the mission of NextFifty Initiative and represents an opportunity to share examples of the great work across Colorado.

 Understanding societies which recognize and encourage the contributions of older adults are stronger and more vibrant, our grantee organizations are working to address the various needs of older adults within their communities. Project examples include increasing accessibility to dental and medical services through home visits and tele-medicine. Transportation services to increase community engagement. Addressing homelessness among the aging veteran population. Supportive resources for caregivers. Home modification and repair to safely age at home. Activities that encourage movement such as older adult Pilates classes, a motion and wellness playground and enhanced accessibility to parks and trails.

 Other organizations are tackling societal issues and working to overcome the stigmas and stereotypes related to aging. For example, grantees are bridging the digital divide by teaching older adults to use social media for meaningful connectivity to alleviate social isolation. Or helping older professionals connect to potential employers through LinkedIn or use Slack to collaborate among teams, each serving as opportunities to build digital skills, increase confidence and ensure relevance in today’s workforce.

 And when it comes to aging, language matters. Changing the Narrative workshops educate attendees on words and messaging that reinforce ageist attitudes and negative stereotypes — such as the terms “elderly” or “senior citizen” vs the preferred “older adult” or “older person,” phrases that better reflect an individual’s capabilities and contributions.

 Programs like the Latino Community Foundation of Colorado’s Las Mujeres Valientes Fellowship facilitates inter-generational relationships to change the way society views aging through a multicultural lens. This mentorship program partners younger Latinas with women of wisdom (Latinas who are 50-plus) to share knowledge, values and life experiences to understand the perspectives of the other generation.

 We all age and although people on average are living longer and healthier lives, our society hasn’t yet figured out how to make the most of this change. For this reason, we also prioritize funding for initiatives that identify and implement the critical changes needed to effectively address this increase in longevity.

 The Bell Policy Center recently released the findings from a two-year study to identify promising aging and long-term care policies from across the United States. This 50-state scan offers Colorado leaders an opportunity to learn from other states’ efforts. By learning from other’s work and tailoring lessons to our own state’s needs, the goal is to create an environment where Coloradans of all ages thrive.

 This is only a small sample of organizations that are working to broaden the perspective on aging. Each grantee organization has a unique story to tell. I invite you to visit NextFifty Initiative’s website to learn more about the impact of these programs in your community, around our state and throughout the nation.

 Applications for NextFifty Initiative’s next grant cycle open June 15. If you represent an organization working to make the next 50 years brighter, and have a project idea that is scalable, replicable and innovative, please visit to learn more.

 Marco Chayet is a Colorado-based elder law attorney and chair of the board of trustees of NextFifty Initiative.