Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Building a Policy Framework: Family Matters a Success!

What a great event! On November 15th we released Family Matters: Public Policy and the Interdependence of Generations to a packed house at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. A panel, moderated by Generations United strategic advisor Juan Willams, discussed the issues and recommendations in the report. John Rother (AARP), Ralph Smith (Annie E.Casey Foundation) and Eugene Steuerle (Urban Institute) thoughtfully discussed the issues our country faces as our economy continues to struggle and families are hurting. While some tend to lean towards segregating support for generations, we at Generations United advocate it's not a fight, it's a family. We need to create and implement policies that help generations help each other.

We are grateful to Juan, John, Ralph and Gene for joining us. While the discussion was rich, the stories shared by three individuals added the heart to the day. Many thanks to Pamela Perry who talked about her twins' wonderful experience at Easter Seals' Harry and Jeannette Weinberg Inter-Generational Center; Beth Finke who shared her story pointing to the value of Social Security for all ages and the need to reinstate the student benefit; and to Carrie Ryan who explained why she believes generations should be connected which led to her starting "Bridging Generations" while in high school.
You'll be hearing more about the report and our plans to move the recommendations forward. In the meantime, download a copy of the report from our website and let us know what you think. And have a great Thanksgiving! Best, Donna

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Fighting Over Future Funding Hurts Everyone

Perhaps you’ve seen some press recently about a new book from journalist Ted C. Fishman called “Shock of Gray” (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/17/magazine/17Aging-t.html?emc=eta1). In it, the author attempts to make the case that as the world’s population is grows older, there will be heated battles between generations for shrinking dollars that fund programs which support older citizens (i.e. Social Security) or the young (i.e. Head Start).

Supporting an aging population is not a bleak either/or proposition that pits one generation against another. Instead of disparaging and dismissing the involvement of older adults, we should celebrate their contributions and facilitate their active participation.

One critically important way to do this is to make it easier for people of all ages to work in both paid and unpaid positions. In 2009, older adults volunteered 1.6 billion hours of time valued at more than $33 billion to our economy, a legacy that benefits recipients among all generations.

We must not look at an aging society as if we need to triage who to save and who to cut. We need to pull together and realize it’s a family, not a fight.

~Rich Robinson
Generations United, Press Secretary can be reached at rrobinson@gu.org.