LeadingAge Magazine · May-June 2017 • Volume 07 • Number 03
Gene Mitchell, editor
Gene Mitchell

Stewardship is something I believe LeadingAge members understand viscerally. It goes to the heart of why so many of our members got into this field in the first place: the desire to make a difference, to improve their world and to do it in a responsible way, leaving their organizations in better shape than when they arrived.

There’s a strong connotation of preservation in the definition of stewardship, but in this issue we’ve also tried to look at stewardship in terms of responsible change as well. Adaptation of resources and long-term assets to meet new needs is just as important to organizational health as preserving the best of what we have inherited.

Preservation is a crucial part of LeadingAge’s new Save HUD 202 campaign, and our Vision column, “Stewardship of Affordable Housing Must Be a LeadingAge Priority,” reinforces that point. The article is an interview with Retirement Housing Foundation’s Laverne Joseph on why the HUD 202 program must be revitalized.

Stewardship: Balancing Risk and Responsibility” directly addresses both preservation and change by looking at how providers can make business decisions that are prudent, yet open up possibilities for the future.

Stewardship is a strong element in all religious traditions. Read “Faith-Based Stewardship” to see how a few of our faith-based members translate their religious principles to work in serving low-income seniors.

Stewardship and good fundraising go hand-in-hand, and there is an extensive literature in philanthropy on donor stewardship. Read “Donor Stewardship for Mission and Stability” to learn how providers can build trusting, long-term relationships with contributors. The article includes an interesting sidebar about a LeadingAge member that has developed a new set of standards for working with senior donors, e.g., residents.

Stewardship of buildings and land—the primary assets of most aging-services providers—has not lost its importance, despite the steady growth of home and community-based services that allow seniors to remain in their own homes. Read “Stewardship and Bricks and Mortar” for some interesting speculation about how the role of real estate may change in years to come.

Building an Inclusive Organization,” I believe, has a strong element of stewardship to it: the improvement and preservation of a healthy, respectful and diverse social climate in our organizations.

Intergenerational living is one of the themes of the above article on bricks and mortar. It’s also addressed, in a different way, by a member-written article, “Intergenerational Friendships Under One Roof.” Read about how one member and a nearby university have created a students-in-residence program to build friendships and explode myths about people of different generations.

The latest installment of our “This I Have Learned” series features short essays by 2 LeadingAge members about what their experiences have taught them.

Finally, “Engineers, Artists and Dedicated Staff: These are the People We Serve” is the latest in our series of profiles of the amazing people our members are privileged to work for and employ.

Gene Mitchell is editor of LeadingAge magazine.