Dreaming Big to Support Our Seniors

Over the last few weeks, we have been rolling out KEIRO’s new Grants Program. Designed to extend our resources to the most vulnerable older adults in the Japanese American and Japanese community, the Grants Program has been an opportunity for me to learn more about the existing programs and services currently being offered in our community. To date, KEIRO has conducted seven workshops, in various geographic locations, to help organizations understand our Grants Program guidelines and application process. As we conduct these workshops, it provides me an opportunity to connect with community leaders and hear about the work they are doing to support the needs of older adults and caregivers. I have also been taking several phone calls from interested groups wanting to know if their project qualifies for one of KEIRO’s grants. Through these conversations and phone calls, I am hearing a lot of great ideas but also some ideas that don’t quite fit within our guidelines. To help you and your organization brainstorm project ideas, I want to share another approach when applying for a KEIRO grant.


Participants at our Grant Workshop at the Japanese American National Museum

Every time I hear about the lottery or someone winning millions of dollars, I think to myself, “If I had that much money, what would I do?” I usually end up dreaming about driving a fancy car and living in a giant house and really just “living it large.” That same approach of “dreaming big” can also be taken when thinking about this Grants Program. If your organization had a large sum of money, what would you do to have maximum impact on older adults in our community? That “large sum” could be $5,000, $25,000, or even $100,000—but what would you use that for? How could you use that large sum of money to serve the most in-need populations, including isolated seniors; low income seniors; individuals living with multiple health conditions and/or memory impairment or cognitive disabilities; monolingual Japanese-speaking seniors; those who have challenges with immigration or residency status; and the oldest of the old populations? What would that program or service look like?

When dreaming big, make sure that it is also realistic. With funding support, can you actually carry out the project? Will seniors actually use the program? Does it meet an actual need?

I am very excited to hear about your ideas and programs that are going to address the needs of those most vulnerable populations. By collaborating with organizations in our community, KEIRO has an opportunity to achieve the greatest impact and enhance the quality of life for Japanese American and Japanese older adults residing in Los Angeles, Orange, and Ventura counties.


So I pose the question again: if you had a large sum of money, what would you do to have the greatest impact on older adults in our community?

The KEIRO Grants Program is one component of KEIRO’s strategy to enhance the quality of senior life in Our Community.  We recognize that there are many organizations and agencies that are providing services and care for older adults in the Japanese and Japanese American community as well as their families and caregivers.  We hope to achieve the greatest impact as quickly as possible and to share vital resources to support the efforts of others working in alignment with our mission and goals within the region of Los Angeles, Orange, and Ventura counties. KEIRO’s Grants Program will offer two levels of funding. Small Grants will provide funding for grassroots, small, or volunteer-led organizations with requests of up to $15,000. Core Grants will provide support to organizations with established operating capacity and scale. Core grants can range from $15,000 to $100,000. Proposals for program support, capital costs, capacity building, and general operating support will all be considered. The proposal deadline for the inaugural grants cycle is November 15, 2016. To learn more about KEIRO’s new Grants Program, or to submit a proposal, please visit our website at www.keiro.org/grants.


About the Author: 

National Volunteer Week - Superman Keiro

Brandon Masashige Leong is the Director of Grants Program at Keiro. He graduated from the University of La Verne with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Organizational Management. Brandon stays genki by doing Bikram Yoga, snowboarding, hiking, and volunteering.


The material presented on this site is for informational purposes only and does not necessarily represent the opinions of Keiro, or its contributors. Readers should consult appropriate health, legal, or financial professionals on any matter relating to their health and well-being.  Full disclaimer.

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