Member Spotlight on Aroha Philanthropies

For the summer months of July and August, GIA's photo banner features work and artists supposed by Aroha Philanthropies. The foundation derives its name, Aroha, from the core value of the Maori culture of New Zealand which encapsulates many community-centered attributes: love, selflessness, tolerance, kindness, compassion, and generosity. Its work focuses in three main areas: Vitality + Art (ages 55+), Joy + Art (K-12), and Humanity + Art (residental mental health organizations for adults).

Aroha Philanthropies is especially excited about its newest initiative, Seeding Vitality Arts: The Transformative Power of Creative Aging. Since learning about the demonstrated benefits of arts education for older adults, the foundation recognized that more intensive, skill-based, sequential arts learning programs are particularly valuable for older adults and may have a variety of health and social benefits. The initiative was designed to seed new artful aging programs across the country that the foundation hopes will inspire others to join the movement of transforming aging through art engagement and art making.

Through a competitive process, a national cohort of 15 nonprofit organizations was created to develop high-quality arts education programs for adults 55+. Seeding Vitality Arts U.S. is multi-faceted: a grant program, a demonstration project, and a capacity-building effort. Aroha has engaged a stellar team, including Lifetime Arts, Touchstone Center for Collaborative Inquiry, and Spoke Consulting, to ensure the success of its grantees and their programs. The team is providing training, ongoing technical assistance, evaluation resources, and a shared learning platform for the 15 grantee organizations.

Aroha Founder & President Ellen Michelson shares, “The launch of Seeding Vitality Arts has shown us that the hunger for support for this work is enormous; we received more than 200 applications from over 40 states. We have followed the national initiative with a second, similar offering for Minnesota nonprofit organizations.”

Program Director Teresa Bonner adds, “We are looking forward to a robust assessment of these artful aging programs and the opportunity to publicize their successes across the country.”

Ellen and Teresa will be presenting on Seeding Vitality Arts on an upcoming GIA webinar on Tuesday, July 25 at 2:00pm EDT | 11:00am PDT. Please join us to hear more from them about the impact being made at the intersection of arts and aging.

Aroha Philanthropies joined GIA in 2010.

Learn more about the foundation and their program areas.

You can also visit the photo gallery on our Photo Credits page.