It's hard to believe that we're already more than half-way through the first year in SAGE's new 3-year strategic plan! Our new strategic blueprint outlines an exciting and ambitious agenda to continue transforming the aging experience for millions of LGBT older people—from forming new strategic alliances that can rapidly advance an LGBT aging policy agenda, to replicating the best practices in LGBT aging to improve the experiences of LGBT elders nationwide—and much more.
It's truly an exciting time for SAGE to be leading and partnering to produce game-changing progress! One area of special significance in our new strategic plan is diversity and inclusion. SAGE has long driven the effort to integrate the experiences and needs of LGBT older people into public policy, the aging and long-term care system, and the broader public conversation on aging in our country. Continually we have hammered away at the notion that leaders in all these sectors must focus on the needs of LGBT elders. Through persistent effort, we have had a growing impact on various sectors—the aging network, long term care providers, and the LGBT community itself—reshaping their thinking to increasingly recognize that LGBT elders must be in the mix in meaningful ways.
Having said all that, SAGE also acknowledges— as we describe in our feature story in this issue of SAGEMatters— that we must heighten our focus on diversity and inclusion in order to better support the full breadth of LGBT people who are aging nationwide. We know we have much more work to do on this front, not only because it's the right thing to do, but also because it will powerfully increase our effectiveness in delivering on SAGE's mission to dramatically improve the quality of life for LGBT older people. Pioneers in the diversity and inclusion field have long described the many benefits that diversity and inclusion ring: reducing poverty and dangerous health disparities among those most at risk, combating inequality by promoting opportunity, and designing services that meet acute real-world needs. A focus on diversity and inclusion also leads to more creative, innovative and effective workforce.
These are the reasons why we're so excited about SAGE's new diversity and inclusion campaign. Already, we're making major advances, as described in this issue of SAGEMatters. For example, we recently partnered with the National Hispanic Council on Aging to launch a landmark needs assessment on LGBT Hispanic elders—a rapidly growing population with distinct needs. And we launched a high profile social media campaign to connect LGBT people age 40+ to our employment readiness program, SAGE Works; employment insecurity and discrimination disproportionately affects older people, women and people of color, as three notable examples.
These exciting themes are laced throughout this latest issue of SAGEMatters. You'll see updates on key LGBT aging policy priorities and numerous educational events and training sessions that SAGE has led around the country. And you'll meet new staff and board members who have joined the SAGE team to help us in improving the lives of LGBT older people nationwide. As always, thank you for your support now and in the months ahead as we work to transform the LGBT aging experience across the country!
Executive Director, SAGE