Current and prospective philanthropic supporters of the San Antonio Area Foundation gathered two weeks ago amid an eclectic assortment of plants and flowers at the San Antonio Botanical Gardens to hear what “successful aging” is all about.

The purpose of this joyful yet educational reunion was a quarterly “philanthropic briefing” organized by the Area Foundation to bring supporters and donors together to learn up front about the impact that our work through their giving has in our community.

Successful Aging is one of the Area Foundation’s main impact areas for its grantmaking work – alongside Youth Success, Livable and Resilient Communities and Cultural Vibrancy.

Event participants heard from the Area Foundation’s Managing Director of Collective Impact, Jane Paccione, who discussed the tremendous impact the initiative she leads — (Successful Aging & Living in San Antonio or SALSA – has had in just a few years uplifting our older adults.

As Paccione explained, SALSA was created by the San Antonio Area Foundation to increase leadership, collaboration and funding to ensure older adults have access to necessary services, information and support systems. SALSA’s mission is to transform our community by advancing practices and policies that improve the quality of life of vulnerable older adults in Bexar County and help them “age in place,” as Paccione put it.

“If I were to come over to any of your homes to visit, would I be able to have a way in?” she asked attendees. Paccione speaks for others like herself who use a wheelchair and have very limited access to places that don’t have ramps for wheelchair access. 

“People don’t want to have to go to a nursing home if they’ve fallen, they want to age in place,” Paccione explained, bringing up the crucial point that most homes aren’t built to accommodate older individuals who may need handicap accessible living spaces. 

Audience members were engaged and moved by Pacione’s speech.

 “I feel good about aging and I’m proud to be a grandma, soon-to-be great grandma,” said Mary Anne Owens, who started the Mary Kay Owens Memorial Fund for her late daughter. 

Other speakers in the program included Patricia Mejia, the Area Foundation’s Vice President for Community Engagement and Impact, as well as Lisa Brunsvold, Vice President for Development and Donor Services.

In all, it was evident the event helped raise awareness and support for efforts like SALSA, which brings together nearly 50 local nonprofits all working on behalf of older adults. It was all about giving a chance to see “Successful Aging” in a new light.

Are you or someone you know interested in learning more about this and other ways the Area Foundation supports the community through the work of nonprofit partners and grantees? Click here to find out the many ways you can get involved.

Cristiana Salinas is the Multi-Media Specialist at the San Antonio Area Foundation’s Marketing and Communications Department