Last week we received the news that Karen Berry-Elbert has received the Harvey A. and Dorismae Hacker Friedman Award for Excellence in Service to Older Adults from the Center for Aging at Washington University.

Karen has been the manager of Federation’s Naturally Occurring Retirement Community (NORC) since 2002. The St. Louis NORC helps seniors age with dignity in their own homes by providing volunteer support to help them maintain their households, along with programs and social outreach that protects them against social isolationism, a key factor in senior decline.

Federation’s 2014 Community Study identified that the support of isolated seniors is critical and will be increasingly so over the next decades as the baby-boom generation ages, many of whom do not have family in town. Federation supports a network of programs and agencies to make sure we are meeting as many needs as we can, including: the St. Louis NORC, JCC services for seniors, Covenant Place for low income seniors (a Federation beneficiary agency) and the Crown Center for Seniors (a recipient of Federation program grant funding).

Thanks to Karen’s leadership and the entire staff and volunteers of NORC, the St. Louis NORC is a strong and vibrant program. Primary funding of the NORC comes from State government, with administrative support from the Jewish Federation through our annual campaign. Additionally we are grateful for the recently established Siteman Endowment for the NORC as well as the long standing support of the Muriel Sanders endowment and the United Way as well. These funds ensure continuity and maintenance of our services even when government dollars are not forthcoming.

Congratulations to Karen for her tremendous work and recognition.