Promoting Equity by Meeting Basic Needs

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CICOA Aging & In-Home Solutions is a nonprofit committed to serving the needs of older adults, people with disabilities and family caregivers. We are working to build a healthier, flourishing community for all, with the help of our supporters. This blog is part of a four-part series highlighting each of the CICOA Foundation’s strategic initiatives to support our mission.

Many years ago, I worked with individuals with developmental and cognitive disabilities. I came into this field of human services quite ignorant of how inequitable life can be, especially when facing forever disabilities. I assumed everyone had the same opportunities and just needed to take advantage of them. How wrong I was.

When I met Danny, he had severe disabilities due to brain trauma from physical and mental abuse that he experienced as a small child. He simply did not have the same opportunities in life that I had. I soon came to realize how many individuals can find themselves in dire circumstances through no fault of their own.

Strategic initiatives to guide the way forward

The CICOA Foundation recently launched four strategic initiatives to serve as pillars for our philanthropic efforts. The four initiatives to guide us forward are:


Promote Equity by Meeting Basic Needs


Lead the Way with Innovation


Create Strong Communities Through Effective Outreach


Strengthen the Safety Net

How does CICOA transform lives by meeting basic needs?

As I think about promoting equity by meeting basic needs, I am reminded that some in our community face food insecurity, a lack of access to quality medical care, unsafe living conditions, and a scarcity of transportation.

Among older adults in Central Indiana:

8 percent


live in poverty

14 percent


are food insecure
(America’s Health Rankings)

25 percent


fall each year

42 percent


lack reliable, affordable transportation

Often there are few places to turn for help when help is most needed. But when these basic needs are met, lives begin to change, ailments begin to heal, and our community flourishes.

Through this strategic initiative, the CICOA Foundation is addressing these challenges for older adults and people with disabilities. When you give to CICOA’s Basic Needs fund:

  • You fight against hunger for your senior neighbors! Last year our donors provided 450,000 nutritious and life-giving meals to 2,000 seniors in our community.
  • You prevent dangerous and life-altering falls by providing grab bars, handrails, wheelchair ramps and other accessibility modifications through Safe at Home.
  • You increase access to medical care and support healthier outcomes by providing trips through Way2Go.

Protecting human dignity and independence

Our summary statement for this initiative offers insight into what I see as the “ultimate” reason to support this cause:

“Your donation offers survival and stability while protecting human dignity and independence for the best possible quality of life.”

My friend, I think that is worthy of our support. It’s a tremendous reason for sending your loving, caring, and compassionate gifts!

Over the next several months, I will address each of the Foundation’s strategic initiatives in my blog. By doing so, I hope to bring greater awareness and understanding about the work of the CICOA Foundation and why your support is so vitally needed.

Together, we are making a life-changing difference in our community!

P.S. Thank you for providing hope to those who lack the opportunities that you and I so often take for granted. Next month, we’ll look at how you can put compassion in action by investing in innovation.


Give to help provide basic needs

Stephen Gerber
Stephen Gerber

Stephen Gerber brings experience in pastoral ministry, nonprofit management and fundraising team leadership to his role as CICOA’s chief development officer. Stephen is responsible for the agency’s overall fundraising strategy, leading annual campaigns, major gifts, planned giving, grants and special events.

He holds designations for Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) and Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy® (CAP®), and the executive certificate in religious fundraising. Stephen earned a bachelor’s degree from Tennessee Temple University, a master’s degree from Grace Theological Seminary and a master’s in business administration from the University of Phoenix.

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