Stevens Square Foundation of Minneapolis awarded Ecumen a $25,000 grant to expand the reach of the Ecumen Awakenings program during a ceremony at the foundation’s annual meeting October 11, 2013. Kate Bryant, chairman of the board of Stevens Square, (pictured left) presented the check to Alex Hiniker, Ecumen development specialist.
The money will go toward training caregivers in non-pharmaceutical, relationship-based techniques used in caring for those living with Alzheimer’s and dementia. Awakenings is a highly personalized approach that focuses on getting to know people as individuals and developing collaborative care strategies that optimize their quality of life.
Awakenings, started by Ecumen in a care center in 2009, originally focused on reducing challenging behaviors related to Alzheimer’s and dementia without reliance on psychotropic drugs. The approach was so successful that even those without cognitive issues benefitted. Currently, Awakenings has been implemented in 15 Ecumen care centers across Minnesota, and the Stevens Square grant will help extend it to other settings.
Judy Blaseg, Ecumen’s Vice President of Philanthropy, said Stevens Square’s funding guidelines emphasize innovations in aging care, which prompted Ecumen to apply.
“Stevens Square is a venerable foundation known for its deep understanding of aging issues and the need to innovate in the realm of aging care,” Judy said. “Not only will the grant help take this important program to more individuals, but it also represents strong validation of the work we have done so far. We are very grateful for the funding and the recognition.”
The Stevens Square Foundation’s mission is “dedicated to inspiring and enabling people to live with dignity, with particular emphasis on the needs of the elderly and children.” Stevens Square was a direct services organization for 125 years until its nursing home closed in 2004. In 2006, the foundation was formed and began offering grants to support children and the elderly.