Seniors Are Flocking to Central Texas. Here's How One Health Funder Is Responding

It’s not news that seniors are living longer and putting increased demands upon the healthcare industry. But what’s interesting is that increasing numbers of seniors are moving to retirement hubs in search of warm weather and a fresh start. Central Texas has one of the fastest growing senior populations in the country right now, and those seniors are looking for services to meet their growing needs.

Fortunately, the philanthropy scene is strong in this region, and foundations of all shapes and sizes are rising to the challenge to accommodate the growing elderly population. St. David’s Foundation has become known around Texas as a health funder that gives big, so a lot of expectations rest on the shoulders of the Austin-based staff and board.

The health funder recently announced $20 million in new grants for healthcare-related infrastructure needs. The targets of these grants are key nonprofits that are trying to meet the needs of more new residents moving to Central Texas. St. David’s made $5.2 million in capital grants for improvements and expansions to accommodate growing demand. The grants are funding things like building new facilities, creating specialized housing for people with mental illness, and providing transportation for seniors. New capital grants ranged in size from $74,342 to over $1.5 million. Top funded groups were Austin Travis County Integral Care and Mobile Loaves & Fishes – Community First.

Earl Maxwell, CEO of St. David’s Foundation said:

As our population grows, we are seeing an escalating demand for more healthcare-related services for our rapidly growing community. By partnering with organizations who are developing facilities and programs to address future healthcare needs, from mental health to homelessness to the needs of low income families, we hope to anticipate future demands and provide targeted solutions.

Capital grants for expansion efforts have been a significant part of St. David’s funding strategy lately, but it’s certainly not the only part. The funder is also throwing a lot of money behind preventative healthcare programs for Central Texans of all ages. Mental health is still a big cause of concern for this funder, especially for the elderly. And increased demand for healthcare services requires a larger and stronger workforce. So St. David’s has also been funding programs and scholarships to support people pursuing careers in healthcare.  

Of the over $20.5 million in new grant commitments, lots of that funding went toward healthy aging. Over $6 million new grants went to this cause, with individual grant amounts ranging from $60,000 (to Bastrop Country Emergency Food Pantry for a senior nutrition program) to over $1.5 million (to Meals on Wheels Central Texas to expand various services).

But interestingly, St. David’s funding for mental health actually beat out its aging program in this recent round of giving. The Healthy Minds program put out over $6.2 million in new grants, and ones these were much larger. Only four grantees received new Healthy Minds grants, but three of those were in the millions.

To tap into this funder’s trend of giving to senior healthcare causes, check out the sample application materials and application templates on the funder’s Apply for a Grant page. Your best point of contact for the Healthy Aging program is Program Officer Andrew Levack

Related: Behind St. David Foundation’s Record-Setting $10 Million Health Grant