Promising Innovations grant supports minority community Alzheimer’s disease screenings

Pilot program could be adapted for nationwide dementia screening efforts

Nov. 13, 2012 — Kendal Charitable Funds announced today that it has awarded its first Promising Innovations grant to researchers in Florida to develop an Alzheimer’s disease screening program that can be adapted for use in minority communities nationwide.

Kendal Charitable Funds’ $25,000 grant to the University of South Florida (USF) Health Byrd Alzheimer’s Institute will bring an innovative, community-based approach to providing screenings for Alzheimer’s and other diseases causing memory loss to East Tampa, Fla., an underserved, predominantly African-American community. Older African-Americans are about twice as likely as older whites to develop Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.

“By providing this grant, an under-served group with dementia will get help from nursing professionals — this is an innovative approach to a very substantial issue in an aging population,” says Bruce Stewart, chair of Kendal Charitable Funds. “Besides being innovative, this project also has the potential to be replicated to serve minority communities across America.”

The USF Health Byrd Alzheimer’s Institute will collaborate with the National Black Nurses Association, Tampa Bay Chapter, to conduct the memory screenings, provide education about risk factors and explain screening results. Although there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, early diagnosis allows patients to enjoy a higher quality of life because current treatments can slow the progression of the disease.

“We are fortunate to have a partnership with the Black Nurses Association of Tampa Bay to provide free memory screenings to East Tampa residents, and that Kendal recognizes the value of providing this service to underserved communities,” says Jessica Banko, associate director of USF’s Health Byrd Alzheimer’s Institute.


A panel of experts on aging selected USF’s proposal for funding from among more than 450 grant applications submitted to Kendal Charitable Funds from across the nation for model projects to improve services for older adults. Projects that fit this broad purpose 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 Kendal residents, board members, staff and others outside Kendal, led to the creation of the Promising Innovations grant program,” says Cheryl Wade, executive director for Kendal Charitable Funds. “Promising Innovations grants provide an outreach opportunity that allows us to collaborate with others outside the Kendal System in developing new ways to improve the quality of life and care for all older people.”

In October of 2007 the board of Kendal Charitable Funds approved the creation of the Lloyd Lewis Fund to support improvements in serving older adults through the Promising Innovations campaign. The fund and campaign were initiated in response to a generous 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 four years, the Promising Innovations campaign raised more than $275,000 in matching gifts, more than doubling the size of the Lloyd Lewis Fund.

Kendal Charitable Funds was established in 1989 to raise and disburse funds in support of the charitable purposes of Kendal and its affiliates, including many outreach efforts. Those served by Kendal organizations and their boards and staffs, together with the wider constituency, support various funds for resident and member financial assistance, reaching out into the wider world, increasing the diversity of those served, and improving the experience of aging far beyond Kendal retirement communities and services.