Wednesday, May 26, 2010

No Senior Hungry; No Senior Isolated

We recently invited Michael Kumer, Executive Director and Faculty for the Nonprofit Leadership Institute of Duquesne University to work with our Board of Trustees and staff with regard to strategic planning. I had the opportunity to work with Michael when I attended Meals On Wheels of America’s Leadership Training in Ohio last year and I was in awe! How did he get our group to be so productive in such a short amount of time?

Michael reminded us that as nonprofit community benefit organizations we are not here to plan for the sustainability of our own organizations. Rather, we exist to make an impact in the community we serve. “How is SCS making an impact on the lives of metro Atlanta seniors?” Michael asked me. I responded with how many lives we affect with life-sustaining services that truly help seniors remain independent.

Michael probed further. “How are you measuring it—and not just in outputs, but in outcomes?” Proudly, I knew where he was going—nonprofits are more than just the meals they deliver and home repairs they complete—they are about change for the communities they serve. What I did not realize until he framed things the way he did, was that even though we pride ourselves at being as client-driven as possible, we were still focusing our planning efforts on how to grow the organization (with the end result of impacting more seniors) as opposed to how to truly resolve a perplexing issue for our seniors.

If we want to envision an Atlanta that is free of senior hunger and isolation, which is what we as an organization have envisioned since our first year in 1965, we need to fully grasp the need and think big about bold solutions. This means that we may need to partner with or invest in studies that help us understand our local need. For the most part we’ve relied on census data and internal waitlists to comprehend the need. This will not suffice going forward.

This also means that we will have to think more broadly about solutions. We need to think more about advocacy and how public policy may more quickly affect the change we need than just service delivery. We certainly have some recent experiences with our seniors advocating on behalf of SCS, but something even more substantial will be necessary.

Finally, this means that SCS will need to think more about collaborations and may need to extend its reach beyond our current service delivery area. We may need to think about other factors that affect our vision and form more strategic partnerships. We may need to invest more in awareness, marketing and education.

You can see that our time with Michael was a wise investment for the organization and a break-through for me. Though sustainability for SCS is vital in serving our seniors, it is the means, not the end. We remain dedicated to an Atlanta where no senior is hungry and no senior is isolated. Will you jump in with me?

-- by Jeffrey M. Smythe, Executive Director

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Go Out and Play!

Now that spring is here, and summer is approaching quickly, it’s a glorious time to be active. Many renew their commitment to an exercise program during this time. Studies have shown that exercise provides many health benefits, and that older adults can gain a lot by staying physically active. Even moderate exercise and physical activity, indoors or outdoors, can improve the health of people who are frail or who have diseases that accompany aging. SCS provides exercise opportunities at its senior centers that are listed on our web site.

The National Institutes of Health have created a special senior health and exercise web site that is informative and motivational. You and others whom you know may be interested in learning more:

Enjoy the summer months by being active – go out and play!

-- by Brad Catherman, Vice President for Gift Planning

Friday, May 7, 2010

geneRACEtion Run Raises Funds for Seniors and Kids

On Saturday, May 22, two generations will come together to host the annual geneRACEtion 10K Run and 2K Fun Run in Grant Park. We will raise money while running or walking through one of Atlanta’s oldest neighborhoods. Proceeds raised from geneRACEtion will benefit two worthy organizations:

Kate’s Club is a non-profit organization that empowers children and teens facing life after the death of a parent or sibling. By creating friendships with kids and young adults that share the experience, Kate’s Club guides children through their grief journey in a comfortable, safe, and uplifting setting. For more information, please visit

Senior Citizen Services of Metropolitan Atlanta, Inc. (SCS), a nonprofit, community-based organization, has been providing services since 1965 and is designed to enable seniors to enjoy a high quality of life, maintaining their independence and dignity. Their programs include Meals On Wheels Atlanta, Home Repair Services, Vivian T. Minor Adult Day Care for Alzheimer’s/Dementia, eight Neighborhood Senior Centers, and CareShare. For more information on programs, please visit

Bernie Goldstein, age 73, will be running the 10K. “I don’t do marathons any more at my age, but I still enjoy an occasional 10K race,” said Mr. Goldstein.

To register for the 10K or 2K, please visit On-line registrations will be accepted until May 19. Registration fee is $25.

Kaiser Permanente Donates $70,000 to SCS

Kaiser Permanente announced today a $70,000 donation to Senior Citizen Services of Metropolitan Atlanta (SCS), with the goal of providing meals and nutrition supplements to seniors needing extra support.

The funds will be applied to SCS’ Extra Helping Initiative for its Meals On Wheels Atlanta program. Through these two programs, at least 21 fragile seniors will be provided with nutrition in a way that meets their specific needs. For many, this may be the difference between managing chronic disease and succumbing to it.

“As other corporations cut back on community donations, Kaiser Permanente has increased its commitment to the safety net SCS provides for our community,” stated Jeffrey Smythe, Executive Director for SCS.

Adequate nutrition is paramount for the frailest seniors, who are unable to stomach as many calories as they need to get out of bed in the morning and live independently. SCS’ Extra Helping Initiative will enable seniors to enjoy a high quality of life, maintaining their independence and dignity.

“Kaiser Permanente is committed to improving the health of the communities we serve. The grant to SCS to provide Atlanta’s vulnerable seniors the nutrition they need to survive and thrive is a demonstration of that commitment,” said Evonne Yancey, Director of Community Benefit and Community Relations at Kaiser Permanente.