Bet Tzedek awarded Kendal grant for Elder Abuse Prevention


November 22, 2013

Kendal Charitable Funds has awarded a $25,000 grant to Bet Tzedek Legal Services to pilot an elder abuse prevention program within religious communities.

This Lloyd Lewis Promising Innovations Grant will seed the creation of new services in Bet Tzedek’s internationally recognized Family Caregiver Justice team. Within the multi-racial, multi-class community of Koreatown in Los Angeles, the pilot project will provide outreach, education and awareness training to diverse religious congregations so they may recognize potentially abusive relationships among their congregants and take appropriate action if they suspect abuse.

“With this grant, Bet Tzedek will pioneer a new approach to stemming the growing tide of elder abuse within religious communities,” said James Dowell, chair of the Kendal Charitable Funds, in announcing the award. “Besides the collaborative and innovative nature of the project, it also has the potential to be replicated in communities across America.”

Living longer, seniors are experiencing myriad issues beyond health and physical well-being. Growing numbers are becoming targets of financial theft, embezzlement and fraud, as well as physical, emotional and sexual abuse. Often relying on their religious connections as a home base for social support, seniors are extremely vulnerable to fellow congregants who seem trustworthy but are, in fact, predatory.

“We are grateful to Kendal for recognizing the need for this project and its potential to help seniors across the country. We are also thankful to work with a network of religious organizations committed to protecting and assisting their elderly congregants and caregivers,” said Sandy Samuels, president and CEO of Bet Tzedek.

A panel of leading experts on aging selected Bet Tzedek’s proposal for funding from among more than 130 initial applicants and 40 finalists from across the nation, all seeking grants for model projects to prevent elder abuse. Projects that fit within these parameters are in keeping with Kendal’s Values and Practices.

“Kendal’s pursuit of better ways to address the unmet needs of older adults, coupled with the generosity of the Janet Comey Foundation, Kendal residents, board members, staff and others outside Kendal, led to the creation of the Lloyd Lewis Promising Innovations grant program,” said Beverly Grove, executive director of Kendal Charitable Funds. “Promising Innovations grants provide an opportunity for greater collaboration among those of us who seek to improve the quality of life and care for all older people.”

About Bet Tzedek

An internationally recognized force in poverty law, Bet Tzedek was founded in Los Angeles in 1974 by community leaders who sought to act upon a central tenet of Jewish law and tradition, “Tzedek, tzedek tirdof – Justice, justice you shall pursue.” This doctrine decrees that it is the duty of all men and women to advocate the just cause of the poor. Consistent with this teaching, each year, Bet Tzedek helps over 15,000 persons from across Los Angeles County’s diverse communities achieve equal access to justice with free, high-quality legal services.

About Kendal Charitable Funds

Kendal Charitable Funds, established in 1989, raises and disburses funds in support of Kendal’s charitable purposes, including many outreach efforts. As a system of not-for-profit communities, programs and services founded on the principles of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), Kendal aspires to transform the experience of aging.

In October 2007, the Kendal Charitable Funds board approved the creation of the Lloyd Lewis Fund to support advances in serving older adults through the Promising Innovations campaign. The fund and campaign were made possible by a gift of $250,000 from the Janet Comey Foundation, a private foundation established through the estate of former Kendal at Longwood resident Janet Comey. Over the past five years, the Promising Innovations campaign raised over $450,000 in matching gifts, more than doubling the size of the Lloyd Lewis Fund.