Fresh from painful experiences seeking care for their own aging parents, in nursing homes and retirement communities, several founders discovered Beacon Hill Village in Boston. This neighborhood-based nonprofit seemed a likely model for such an organization on Capitol Hill, where a strong sense of community has existed for many years and a number of community organizations have sprung up to serve particular needs. The “Village” idea took hold at once. Founders were determined to take charge of their own lives, find creative ways to live fully and productively at home as they grew older, and offer such an option to the Capitol Hill community. They adapted the Beacon Hill model by incorporating the concept that most services and programs would be provided by volunteers, “neighbors helping neighbors.” That volunteer-first policy has accounted in large part for the success of Capitol Hill Village.
The so-called “aging-in-place” movement has taken hold in communities nationwide. Articles appear regularly in the Washington Post, the New York Times, and AARP magazine, in addition to reports on radio and TV, documenting this trend and spreading the word. Capitol Hill Village has become a leader, called upon regularly to provide advice and counsel to communities interested in starting Villages. There are now hundreds throughout the United States, and about a dozen in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area. Our generation of founders and the “baby boomers” just behind us are determined that things will be different for us, and we will make it happen.
In addition to donations from individuals, we have received grants and other forms of support from the Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, the Capitol Hill Community Foundation, CHAMPS, National Capitol Bank, partner organizations, and most importantly our many remarkable and talented volunteers.
As Capitol Hill Village looks to the future, we depend upon that spirit of determination
and generosity, as well as the growing sense of satisfaction that comes from looking
after ourselves and one another, whether by volunteering or by making cash contributions
to support this effort. Donations to the Rogers Fund, for example, ensure that lower-income
residents profit from our programs and services and that Village membership reflects
the economic diversity on Capitol Hill. Donations and bequests to our Endowment
Trust ensure that services required by our frail and older members will be available,
and that Capitol Hill Village itself will be a vital part of the Hill community for
many years to come.
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