Urban League Grants for Senior Employment

Most cultural heritage organizations need more funding to accomplish more of the mission-essential work on their to-do lists. The Winston-Salem Urban League administers a grant program that has already helped several arts and humanities organizations in the Triad region and beyond build their capacities. By providing funds to hire older adults, this program offers sets of experienced helping hands to (often cash-strapped) nonprofits. The Arts Council of Winston-Salem and the Delta Fine Arts Center have both been beneficiaries of these grants. The Winston-Salem Urban League also operates a satellite office in Burke County and has extended its funding program to western NC counties. The History Museum of  Burke County has taken advantage of this program for several years now with great success.

The Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) assigns lower-income older adult workers to local nonprofit and government agencies and pays them minimum wage for 20 hours of work per week. Additional benefits to the employee include sustained independence and on-the-job training to enhance their opportunities in the local job market. Read more about the senior community service employment program here.

Why hire senior citizens when so many volunteers and board members are already part of that demographic—many serving on the front lines of visitor engagement like this docent at Tryon Palace (left)?

  • Seniors’ life experiences can be wide ranging enough to allow them to think more comprehensively and creatively about the range of possibilities. Encore Awards honor great examples of community leadership among seniors and one recent recipient was a Baptist minister in Conetoe, NC. His story is inspiring and involves the kind of community engagement to which museums often aspire. By refocusing his congregation on healthful living and growing food, he has nurtured members’ physical and economic well-being, as well as spiritual.
  • The Urban League senior employment grants target lower-income seniors as employees. This demographic focus may help bring diversity into the organization’s group of stakeholders, ultimately helping to construct new bridges to under-served segments of the community.
  • For some, decreasing family responsibilities at this stage of life allow seniors more availability to work after regular office hours, at night and on weekends. This coverage can help relieve regular, full-time staff.

Ask yourself what jobs seniors could be good at in your organization; you’ll likely create a long list that the Urban League (or one of the additional 4 SCSEP partners across the state) could help with. Why not take advantage of this potential reservoir of helping hands?

Thanks to C2C workshop participant and History Museum of Burke County board member, Robert Paganuzzi, for this post idea.

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About collectionsconversations

This blog will contain posts from the C2C project staff on a variety of topics related to collections care and disaster preparedness. Enjoy the posts and let us know if you would like additional information or have a topic you would like for us to address.

Posted on January 13, 2015, in Grants and Funding and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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