The Village concept

The Village to Village Network, a national organization that helps coordinate senior villages, defines villages as "membership-driven, grass-roots organizations that, through both volunteers and paid staff, coordinate access to affordable services including transportation, health and wellness programs, home repairs, social and educational activities, and other day-to-day needs enabling individuals to remain connected to their community throughout the aging process."

• Villages vary in size from 13 to 550 members; the median size is 96 members.

• Most villages have at least one paid staff member, and almost all have volunteers, both seniors and non-seniors, to help provide the services.

• Almost all villages have membership fees, which range from $50 to $1,285 per year. Most have reduced rates for those in financial need.

• While membership fees are the most common funding source, others include fundraising and gifts, private foundations or corporations and government.

Source: Study by the Rutgers School of Social Work, University of Maryland School of Social Work, others.

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