Grantee Highlight: CaringKind
A New Name, a New Mission
CaringKind has a nearly 40-year history of serving patients in New York who suffer from Alzheimer’s, but it wasn’t always under that name. When the Alzheimer’s Association restructured in 2015, the New York chapter chose to split off and became CaringKind. Through comprehensive programs and services aimed at patients and their families, CaringKind aims to increase public awareness of Alzheimer’s and dementia and ultimately eliminate them.
In recent years, CaringKind saw increasing need in Brooklyn’s Sephardic and Orthodox communities, where largely no culturally competent programs were serving patients with Alzheimer’s and dementia. The Sephardic Foundation on Aging (SFOA) helped reverse that trend, distributing a total of $250,000 in grants to date and allowing CaringKind to aid this underserved population.
2019: Filling an Urgent Need in Brooklyn
While CaringKind serves all patients suffering from Alzheimer’s, it was not founded as an explicitly Jewish organization, making support a tough sell to Brooklyn’s Orthodox community. To get past this barrier, Carol Berne, CaringKind’s Senior VP of Development, knew she needed outside support. She identified Adina Segal, a Jewish Community Outreach social worker, as the best fit for their needs and hired her to head their efforts in Brooklyn. With the support of SFOA’s initial $175,000 grant, Adina was able to establish the needs of the community and make presentations in the hope of getting referrals.
One such referral was an individual named Mark, who was caring for his parents, both of whom had dementia. His mother, a Holocaust survivor, refused any home care and would often push Mark away as well. He now speaks regularly with Adina for advice on how best to care for his parents and maintain his own mental health. In a recent message to Adina, Mark said, “You are doing tremendous things. Just knowing that there are caring and understanding people out there helps so much.”
2020: Continuing Support During the Pandemic
The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic made a difficult task even more daunting for Adina. With health and safety guidelines preventing her from going directly into the community, she worked overtime to make a digital pivot. SFOA’s second $75,000 grant was primarily used to fund Adina directly. Thanks to this additional support, she can do her job more effectively under the pandemic’s constraints, and now has the resources to launch an Alzheimer’s and dementia support group, something she had been hoping to accomplish since starting her work with CaringKind.
“Because of Adina’s success, she has been able to branch out her work to other communities beyond New York,” Berne says.
According to Berne, CaringKind simply would not have been able to support the Orthodox and Sephardic communities in Brooklyn without SFOA’s funding. “CaringKind is very unique in that we are almost 90 percentprivately supported,” Berne says. “We were very fortunate not only to find Adina but also for the generosity of SFOA.”