Washtenaw County nonprofits vie for prizes in Vital Seniors competition

Vote to determine 2 of the 6 competition prize winners

By Sarah M. Parlette - Associated Producer

Credit | Vital Seniors Facebook page

ANN ARBOR, Mich. - For the past nine months, the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation has been working with nonprofits in Washtenaw County for its Vital Seniors: A Community Innovative Competition

As the population in Washtenaw County ages, the need for innovative and creative solutions to the lack of resources for vulnerable seniors and their caregivers grows dramatically. The Vital Seniors competition is unique in its goals. It aims to address the challenges faced by an aging population, their families and professional caregivers and to focus on the need for resources, support and actionable solutions.

A $2.5 million initiative, the competition will give awards and prizes to six winners on Nov. 13. These ten finalists have been chosen by a voting committee for their vision and innovation. 

  • Ann Arbor Center for Independent Living

  • Area Agency on Aging 1-B

  • Avalon Housing

  • Chelsea Senior Center

  • Eastern Michigan University

  • Jewish Family Services of Washtenaw County

  • NEW - Nonprofit Enterprise at Work, in partnership with New Foundry

  • Shelter Association of Washtenaw County

  • Trinity Health At Home, in partnership with Huron Valley Ambulance

  • Ypsilanti Meals on Wheels, in partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Huron Valley

While the Competition is one of the largest of its kind in the country, it has chosen a mixed approached when it comes to selecting its winners. Along with selections from a committee, the public will be able to choose its favorite.

Credit | Vital Seniors Facebook page

Public voting for the People's Choice Award opened on Monday and will stay open until Oct. 21. If you are interested and want to vote, watch videos on the Vital Seniors competition website then cast your vote. Videos from the 10 finalists are 30 seconds long and tell you why their innovation should command your vote for the People's Choice Award.

Prizes and awards will be broken down into four categories with six winners. The grand prize winner will receive a $500,000 award, while a $250,000 Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation Caregiver award will also be given. Four more winners will each receive $50,000; two Innovation Prize winners and two People's Choice winners. Each of the 10 finalist teams has already received a $20,000 capacity grant, coaching, support and technical assistance to help them further their innovation.

Funding and support for the competition come from the Glacier Hills Legacy Fund and the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation. 

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