From the Executive Director
Dear Sarah Ralston Foundation Community,
We are coming to the end of our first year as the newly formed Sarah Ralston Foundation. Our organization is the first and only charitable foundation in Philadelphia that is solely dedicated to funding nonprofits serving the city’s vulnerable elderly population. I couldn’t be more pleased with what we have accomplished and I am excited for what the future will bring. Our spring grant cycle which funds ‘general operations’ and our fall grant cycle, which funds ‘innovative projects,’ brought forth a wide range of eligible applicants from nonprofits, both large and small. The word has clearly gotten out about our mission and we look forward to helping even more in 2024 and beyond. We exist to help these worthy nonprofits accomplish their mission and, in the process, we collectively improve the lives of many older adultes throughout the city.
As 2024 approaches, I am incredibly thankful to everyone who helped us to set the wheels of the Sarah Ralston Foundation in motion this year. I am hopeful that the funding we provide brings new energy to and focus on issues that impact older Philadelphians. It is a demographic category that has traditionally been underfunded and underserved. In the spirit of trust-based philanthropy, we look forward to collaborating and partnering with more of these incredible organizations that are working hard to remedy this imbalance. Together, we seek to improve access to affordable, high-quality care, care coordination, food and housing, advocate for their rights, prevent isolation, provide care for behavioral and mental health issues and support caregivers of older adults in our great city. We feel truly fortunate to be in a position to help and I know that Sarah Ralston would be proud!
As always, we will keep you informed on our progress in the coming year!
A Special Thank You to Two Forces of Nature
The Sarah Ralston Foundation would not be what it is today without the vision and leadership of these two women. Neville Strumpf, Board Member since 2007, and President since 2011, and Elise Robinson Pizzi, Board member since 2003, and Board Vice President since 2011 are both retiring from The Sarah Ralston Foundation Board. Their legacies are unsurpassed in the space of serving our elder community.
Neville Strumpf, PhD, RN, FAAN,
University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing
Neville Strumpf spent most of her career as a faculty member at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing where she led a gerontology research center and directed a geriatric nurse practitioner program. Her research focused on quality-of-life issues for frail older adults in hospitals and nursing homes. An internationally respected nurse researcher, she is known for her wisdom, intelligence, flexibility, energy, and work ethic.
Neville was recruited to join the Ralston Center Board in 2007 because of her expertise in aging, and starting in 2011, served as Board president and has remained our fearless leader through the various manifestations of Ralston.
Over the years Neville shepherded us through many ups and downs, challenges, and triumphs. We were especially fortunate for her leadership and expertise as we evolved to become The Sarah Ralston Foundation, a premier resource dedicated to supporting the elderly population in Philadelphia. This monumental shift in our model required much thought, hard work, and real estate prowess.
Thanks to Neville’s vision, the Sarah Ralston mission will continue to be fulfilled as we provide funding for working capital and innovative projects to the many stellar nonprofits involved with older Philadelphians.
We will miss having Neville at the Helm. However, we have great faith that she is leaving the Foundation in good hands.
Neville will be an ex-officio member of the Innovative Projects Committee and will be available for consultation as The Sarah Ralston Foundation continues its great work.
We cannot thank Neville enough for all that she has given this organization. Her mark as President of Sarah Ralston Foundation will resonate throughout the Foundation and beyond for years to come. She has left a strong, vital, and lasting legacy for those who follow.
Elise Robinson Pizzi, MSN, CRNP
Retired Assistant Professor, Villanova University Louise M Fitzpatrick College of Nursing
Elise Pizzi has served Ralston for more than 20 years, having joined The Ralston Center Board in 2003, and continuing on as we transitioned to The Sarah Ralston Foundation in 2023. Her tenure is a remarkable legacy of service and commitment to underserved older adults in Philadelphia. As a Geriatric Nurse Practitioner, still practicing in a clinic for persons who are unhoused and without resources, Elise has always brought her critical and compassionate eye to the needs of older adults, and the ways in which agencies can best serve them with dignity and respect.
Elise brought a wealth of leadership skills to the Board and served as Vice President from January of 2011 until February of 2023. These were years of immense change for the organization, and Elise gave tirelessly during her Chairmanships of the Strategy Blueprint Taskforce, Long Range Planning Committee, and Personnel Committee, as well as membership on three other crucial Taskforces.
Since the formation of The Sarah Ralston Foundation, Elise has chaired the General Operating Support Committee, which successfully executed its first round of grant making in the Spring of 2023. Twenty-eight diverse organizations were funded in the amount of $748,000. As the Foundation continues to fully realize its founding principles, Elise has served on the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Access Committee. Surely, over a span of 20 years, this translates into hundreds and hundreds of hours of voluntary service.
During the past 20 years, we have turned to Elise for guidance, counsel, and support—there were some very challenging moments as we shifted the way business had been done for nearly 200 years.
We are exceedingly grateful to her and her generosity for two decades. We’re most fortunate that Elise is not going away but will continue as a non-Board member on the General Operating Support Committee.
The Sarah Ralston Foundation's Innovative Project Support Grantees
The Sarah Ralston Foundation is pleased to announce the recipients of its Fall 2023 Innovative Project Support Grants. This is the second of a twice-yearly cycle of grants for qualified nonprofits. A total of $1,250,000 will be distributed to twenty nonprofits in support of their work with older Philadelphians in need.
Innovative Project Support grants range between $25,000 and $125,000 annually. “Innovative projects develop, extend, test, and evaluate approaches to challenges,” said Lynette Killen, Executive Director of the Sarah Ralston Foundation. “Innovative initiatives should be more effective than their prevailing approaches and should ultimately displace them.” Examples include projects intended to discover new and better ways of solving pervasive problems that impact older adults, seemingly small interventions that that when scaled, can have significant impact to addressing a big problem, and the projects should be managed by entrepreneurial leadership teams who are skilled at testing new ideas.
“The spring grant cycle, which funds general operating expenses for our nonprofits was a great way to launch The Sarah Ralston Foundation and establish important connections throughout the community. The Innovative Grant Cycle is another layer,” said Ben Hoyle, the newly elected president of the Sarah Ralston Foundation Board of Directors. “Supporting innovative programs and projects has the potential to open doors that lead us to new ways of serving our elders. The thought, research and creativity that goes into these programs are next-level. We anticipate some terrific results will come out of the funding.”
Read more about all of the Innovative Projects!
The Sarah Ralston Foundation Nonprofit Partner Directory
Our list of Nonprofit Partners has grown! With the addition of our twenty Innovative Project Support Grantees, we now partner with forty-eight nonprofits throughout Philadelphia that address the needs of the underserved, vulnerable older adults in our city. Our nonprofit directory provides information on each organization including website address