More than 35 years ago, SAGE began building a road to change the way lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) older adults live and age in this country. Back then, there were few to no aging services that addressed the needs of LGBT older people, and so a committed group of LGBT activists in New York City decided to create their own services. SAGE quickly established a number of programs that addressed the social isolation, financial insecurity and poor health outcomes that are more common to LGBT elders than their heterosexual counterparts. Many of these programs were the first of their kind, and have since been replicated in communities across the country.
As SAGE grew, so did our mission to improve the lives of LGBT older adults. With the population of people age 65 and over in the United States projected to double to 80 million between 2010 and 2050, we knew that we needed to transform the LGBT and aging fields to prepare for an ever increasing number of LGBT older adults. So we mapped out a five-year Strategic Plan that came to an end in 2012—a plan that sparked tremendous organizational growth, and placed SAGE firmly on the national stage as a voice for LGBT older adults.
In the past year, SAGE saw the fulfillment of that Plan's ambitious goals. We celebrated the grand opening of the nation's first full-time center for LGBT older adults in New York City—a permanent home for the city's LGBT elder population, and model and incubator of programs for similar centers around the country. We built strategic partnerships with other national aging organizations, and propelled the interests of LGBT elders of color and transgender elders into national prominence. And thanks to years of focused federal policy work, we witnessed the introduction of the LGBT Elder Americans Act of 2012, a huge step toward ensuring that the sizeable resources of the federal Older Americans Act will address the unique needs of LGBT older adults.
These are just a few examples of what we've accomplished over the past year, and over the course of our now-completed strategic plan. We hope you'll take a moment to explore this report to look back on SAGE's accomplishments.
SAGE is proud that LGBT aging issues have gained such prominence in the past few years, but we know our work is not done. So what does the road ahead look like for SAGE? At the moment, we have an opportunity to use SAGE's resources and efforts to harness all of this exciting change and maximize the impact of the positive trends in the LGBT and aging fields. But we are moving forward thoughtfully, and once again, we have crafted a road map for our work in the coming years.
This fall, SAGE will introduce our new Strategic Plan, created with the input of our friends, supporters and constituents. This Plan addresses several questions we feel are essential to guide the next phase of our work: To push the ball forward for LGBT older adults, where must SAGE take the lead? How do we continue to partner with established and emerging leaders in the nonprofit, government and corporate sectors to make a difference in LGBT older peoples' lives? As the broader aging field changes to meet older people's needs, who in the LGBT community is being supported, and who is being left behind—and how do we shift our work to ensure that all LGBT elders get the support they need? And how do we sustain what we have built in the LGBT and aging fields?
Moving forward, we know that we can count on your steadfast support, which has been the foundation of SAGE's successes over the past year. On behalf of SAGE's Board of Directors, staff, volunteers and constituents, thank you for ensuring that LGBT older people have the support they need to age successfully now and in the future.
David W. Canter, Esq.
David W. Canter, Esq.