What We Believe

Programs like Social Security have greatly reduced—but not eliminated—poverty among our nation’s older adults. The majority of aging baby boomers are healthier, wealthier, and more educated than their parents’ generation. Yet the number of older adults 55 and older who are at or just above the federal poverty level is growing faster than the total older population. Reversing this trend will not be easy or quick.

We believe that low-income older adults can—and must—participate in efforts to reduce poverty. Too often, we overlook their knowledge, wisdom, and abilities, especially if they are women, have less education or fewer advantages, belong to a racial or language minority, or live in a rural community. Targeting opportunities and resources to enable low-income older adults to serve their community is a sound public investment that produces multiple returns.

As a national organization, we also believe that we can best achieve our mission by strengthening the capacity of local organizations through genuine, lasting partnerships. We rely on a network of local partners—which include a wide range of nonprofit as well as government agencies—to know best what’s needed and what works in their counties, neighborhoods and municipalities.

We make long-term investments in local organizations with proven track records and extensive networks in their communities. Nearly two-thirds of our partners have received funding from SSAI for 20 years or more. And four of our original 11 partners continue as our subgrantees. Read how one of our partners helped strengthen its agency with SCSEP participants.

We have deepened our commitment to these principles after four decades of working with over 100 local organizations that have enabled hundreds of thousands of low-income older adults to serve their community through SCSEP.