Building a Creative Aging Movement: Collaboration with Aroha Philanthropies

Aroha Philanthropies Announces National Initiative in Collaboration with the National Guild for Community Arts Education

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - Participatory arts education programs for older adults have been shown to improve participants’ health and strengthen social engagement. Aroha Philanthropies and the National Guild for Community Arts Education (the Guild) announced today the launch of Building a Creative Aging Movement, a multi-pronged effort to advance the emerging field of creative aging, which seeks to promote well-being and advance equity and inclusion through engaging the creativity of adults ages 55+. This visionary effort includes a philanthropic investment of nearly $500,000 over two years, and aims to foster well-funded, comprehensive creative aging programs through training and networking opportunities, leadership development, and advocacy. Special attention will be paid to amplifying the work of small-budget and culturally-specific organizations.

Building a Creative Aging Movement exemplifies a combined commitment—on behalf of Aroha Philanthropies, the National Guild, and lead programmatic partner, Lifetime Arts—to lifelong learning in the arts.

Aroha Philanthropies Executive Director Teresa Bonner said, “Aroha is thrilled to develop this partnership with the Guild and our long-time partner Lifetime Arts. This initiative proudly supports national creative aging programs and the teaching artists who lead them, bringing the gift of creativity to older adults.” 

The goals of the Building a Creative Aging Movement initiative are:

  • To build organizational capacity to develop and sustain arts learning programs for older adults and foster a dynamic learning community for the ongoing exchange of advice, information sharing, and support.
  • To create a pipeline of arts education leaders who understand the importance and impact of creative aging; have increased awareness of how ageism impacts their leadership and organization’s ability to serve older adults; and bring people together across their team, organization, and community to advance creative aging.
  • To equip the field with the knowledge, readiness, and tools necessary to advocate for creative aging programming within organizations.

“This partnership will allow the National Guild for Community Arts Education to infuse the values of anti-ageism across all of our work, and more fully deliver on our commitment to creative programming for older adults,” said National Guild CEO Jonathan Herman.

This effort will support two more cohorts of the Guild’s Catalyzing Creative Aging program. A total of 40 organizations will participate, 20 of which will receive seed grants to implement their new creative aging programs. Additionally, the grant will support leadership development activities including training and network development, regional professional development events led by the Guild’s newly launched Creative Aging Member Network, a Creative Aging track at the Conference for Community Arts Education, and revisions to the Community Arts Education Leadership Institute (CAELI) curriculum to include an emphasis on anti-ageism and the piloting of a creative aging “speakers bureau”. The initiative will also support advocacy efforts including anti-ageism training for the Guild’s staff and board and the development of an advocacy toolkit and a culminating report to be published in Spring 2021.

About National Guild for Community Arts Education

Founded in 1937, the National Guild for Community Arts Education ensures all people have opportunities to maximize their creative potential by developing leaders, strengthening organizations, and advocating for community arts education. Through these strategies, the Guild aims to address our country’s widening opportunity gap which leaves millions of individuals with little or no access to the creative resources they need to reach their full potential. Together, the Guild’s national network of 400+ members serves 2.5 million students annually, employs 16,000 teaching artists, and reaches 8 million people through performances and exhibits. More information is available at

About Aroha Philanthropies
Awakening Creative Expression
Within all of us, creativity lies waiting to be awakened and expressed, bringing new chances for confidence, connection, purpose and joy. Aroha Philanthropies supports the development of artistic and creative opportunities – and the personal discoveries that go with them – for everyone.
Aroha fulfills its mission to awaken creative expression and build communities through its three program branches, each with a different area of focus:
Discovery Arts: Sparking wonder through creativity for children and youth
Vitality Arts®: Inspiring creativity for ages 55 and better
Humanity Arts:  Enhancing homes and empowering creativity for adults with mental illness
Aroha Philanthropies is a private foundation based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. For more information, visit

Vitality Arts® is a registered mark of Aroha Philanthropies.

Published: June 25, 2019