In the News: ARTZ Philadelphia Receives Innovation Mini Grant

ARTZ Philadelphia received an Innovation Mini Grant from Friends Foundation for the Aging for virtual art making programs. Read the full press release below.

PRESS RELEASE: For Immediate Release

The Friends Foundation for the Aging offered its first request for proposals (RFP)–Innovation Mini Grants–celebrating ideas generated by front-line staff that address problems related to the pandemic. Grants are to be used to recognize employees or to implement or expand on the idea. The RFP was sent to communities in the Kendal and Friends Services Alliance networks, other Quaker aging services providers nation-wide, and current grantees, serving residents in independent living, personal care, memory care, skilled nursing, and aging in place. Eleven proposals were selected.

A primary issue addressed was equity in access to technology. Jewish Family & Children’s Services of Greater Philadelphia will provide tablets so more of their hoarding program participants can attend peer groups; Brother Bonadventure Skilled Nursing (Trinitas Health) will have tablets to facilitate communication between residents and families. Chandler Hall is adding value to virtual visits by hair styling and creating photo cards for residents to help them remember their family calls.

Direct service staff were especially creative in developing programs for residents who must stay in their rooms and homes. Friends House Retirement Community started “Doorway Bingo” engaging all residents on a hall and “Magic Carts” with activities for individual residents, holiday celebrations and ice cream delivery. ARTZ Philadelphia created virtual art programs, distributing packages of art materials to individual residents and then guiding them through the art project via video at “ARTZ in the Hallway” events or with individual caregivers who also enjoyed the activity. The Hickman will engage residents through Virtual Reality activities. Kendal at Home implemented weekly virtual coffee hours with a wide range of guests to engage clients and family caregivers at home. It has been clear that isolation, loneliness, anxiety, depression and boredom have been prevalent during this crisis, and it is hoped that the programs and lessons learned can extend past the quarantine.

Many proposals addressed the major changes that needed to occur in dining services. Communal meals have been central to social connection, and eliminating excursions into the community critical to infection control. Lathrop created a “Virtual Country Store” filling resident grocery orders through dining services, and they are planning to expand to live stores on their campuses. Kendal-Crosslands packages pre-ordered meals for residents which are delivered to the door, adding a treat on Sundays. They also implemented a pre-ordered cocktail hour package of cheese and fruit, delivered to residents connecting virtually. Medford Leas has added birthday cakes and greetings from the servers to their meal delivery service.

Some recipients (Kendal Crosslands and Broadmead) will use the grants to recognize staff for their dedicated service through this stressful time through care packages or a community celebration. Broadmead created a weekly virtual support group for employees to share concerns, laughs, resources during this stressful time.

The Friends Foundation for the Aging celebrates the hundreds of front-line employees who have provided dedicated care to the aging adults in these communities, who continue to work and make efforts to keep everyone healthy and engaged, and who have applied their creative ingenuity to solving problems created by this crisis.

For more information on the Friends Foundation for the Aging, go to