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Next Fifty Initiative shifts paradigm: "Aging is not scary"

A comment from a recent press conference caught our attention. In discussing new grants designed to foster innovative ideas to improve life past 50, Governor John Hickelooper shared this line, "Some say, 'young people, they've cornered the market on innovation.' Not."

This sentence structure goes back a few years. But, it definitely conveys that the baby boomer generation is not out of ideas. The Next Fifty Initiative, based in Denver, will award $8 million in grants to support programs or products that improve lives and capacities for those over 50.

Growing segment in Colorado

What is the fastest growing segment of the population in Colorado? Millennials would be a good guess and the state has attracted growing numbers of young people. But those over 65 are the fastest growing group in our state. This group has increase almost 30 percent from 2010 to 2015.

And while Florida and Arizona might be where some choose to retire, Colorado consistently ranks at the top of the list for aging. Hickenlooper and the Next Fifty Initiative want to build on what is already working.

Thriving not just surviving

Part of the proceeds from the sale of nonprofit InnovAge to a private equity formed the Next Fifty Initiative. Moving forward the foundation will run two grant cycles each year for nonprofits and government entities. Private businesses might also apply for a grant to help with scaling a promising technology as well.

The next big thing often needs an extra boost. The Next Fifty Initiative will look at a wide range of proposals that target encore careers to improved housing, care and transportation solutions. They will be looking for ideas that allow older members of our communities to thrive and continue to use their human capital.

This brings us back to the title of this post. The Next Fifty Initiative is looking to change "the current aging narrative." After all, our governor waited until he was 50 to run for his first elected office. Aging comes with opportunity.

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