Fall 2019
C ome to the office of Little Brothers - Friends of the Elderly during our monthly Cards, Crafts, and Coffee gatherings and more likely than not you will see Mary Karen sitting at a table with the newspaper. Mary Karen loves to keep up on news, politics, the economy, climate change, and more. Name a topic and she will be able to share not only a myriad of facts, but also well thought-out opinions on each topic.

Mary Karen and Julie are visiting companions, who were paired close to four years ago. Throughout their time together, Julie and Mary Karen have shared many things, thanks to Mary Karen’s sweet tooth, more often than not it has been over dessert. Mary Karen grew up in the Twin Cities and has lived here for most of her life. Today she is proud to call Northeast Minneapolis her home. She worked
for some time in the 1960s at the Pillsbury Club, a residence for young women. Later, she worked to get Sharon Sayles Belton, the first female mayor of Minneapolis elected.

Since 2012, Mary Karen has come awfully close to participating in every activity LBFE has had to offer. From Bingo to Cards, Crafts and Coffee, to the annual Summer Sizzle, to the holiday dinners.

Eventually, Mary Karen and Julie were paired together as visiting companions. Julie works for Medica, and heard about LBFE through a presentation at her office. She knew right away she wanted to participate. “It wasn’t long until Mary and I were matched together,” said Julie. Julie worked for many years in a nursing home, and came to LBFE missing the interactions she had with elders. “It makes me happy to bring her joy. Just help her, doing things like cleaning out her room,” she shared.

The two occasionally go out to eat, and both frequently attend LBFE events, but their favorite thing to do is just sit and visit. “Mary is so intelligent,” said Julie.

One of the things Mary Karen has appreciated most about being involved with LBFE is the people she has met. She marveled at the things she has learned from others involved with LBFE. She recalls the advice one woman gave her on her hundredth birthday; “be good, take care of yourself.”

Mary Karen says with this advice she hopes to live twenty more years. If she is going to achieve this, “LBFE is going to have something to do with it,” she speculated.

“Little Brothers - Friends of the Elderly is my family,” Mary Karen reiterated time and time again.
Proudly Sponsored By:
Help us celebrate the 2019 International Day of Older Persons.
We will honor this significant day by promoting awareness of the importance of relieving elder loneliness and isolation in our community. Come and enjoy fresh flowers and desserts and celebrate with us!

Sunday at 1 PM – 3 PM

4801 Minnehaha Ave, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55417
T he greatest poverty is the poverty of love,” believed the founder of Little Brothers - Friends of the Elderly Armand Marquiset. Inspired by his foundational words, our Friendship and Flowers program seeks to spread love to elders who are isolated and lonely. On the third Saturday of each month, volunteers bring flowers and homemade cookies to home-bound elders throughout the metro area.

Julie Kraus is the coordinator of the St. Paul Friendship and Flowers program. “I want to help people who are isolated and alone. It’s helping elders who can look forward to someone coming out once a month,” she said.

Julie also participates in the program each month herself, bringing flowers and cookies to her elder friend, Richard. Out of all her time volunteering with LBFE, her most fond memories are with him. “He jokes with me, he’s just such a nice man,” said Julie. “I just enjoy my visits with him, and I think he does too.”

One of the many reasons Julie prefers Friendship and Flowers is how it fits into her schedule. Like many people, Julie works a job, volunteers at an animal rescue program, and cares for her Shih Tzu, Tillie. Volunteering for a morning once a month allows her to help out at LBFE.

For other volunteers, Julie encourages them to “Look and find what program fits your life, fits your schedule. That way you’ll keep doing it.” Ultimately, Friendship and Flowers is the perfect solution for anyone looking to get involved with LBFE, but feel the time commitment is a little daunting.
Looking to get involved
with Friendship and Flowers?
Contact Kris Jones today!
Building and Rebuilding at LBFE
by James Falvey, Executive Director
T o the outside world, Little Brothers – Friends of the Elderly continues to do what it has always done. We seek out older adults experiencing social isolation, recruit and train kind and caring volunteers, thoughtfully match volunteers with Elders, and present our mission, and the compelling stories it generates, to groups in our community that are interested to learn or do more.

Many of these stories come to you through this newsletter like our cover story about Mary Karen and Julie and their
shared interests.

Behind each of these stories is an organization that is constantly working to grow, improve, and adapt to a changing world. We are constantly building and rebuilding.

“Behind each of these stories is an organization that is constantly working to grow, improve, and adapt to a changing world.”

In our last issue of Among Friends, I mentioned a new database that we are building and that we are considering options for an improved office space. I acknowledged that for most, these back-office issues are something less than interesting.

While office space and databases are mere tools, what they help us build, an organization that can inspire our community to serve significantly more Elder Friends, is truly remarkable.

It is because of you, and upon your shoulders, that we are building more and more unique stories like Julie and Mary Karen’s. These stories are built from the raw materials of caring volunteers, dedicated donors, and a committed staff- using the tools that include office space, databases, and donations that are crafted into the stories of hope and happiness that inspire us all.

For many of you, this issue of Among Friends has been presented with an appeal letter asking for an additional gift, one over and above your annual supporting contribution. I understand that only a few of you might be able to provide extra support at this time, but it is important that I ask.

Because every additional dollar you might be able to send today allows us to build another story of hope and happiness, I urge you to consider your extra gift at this time. On behalf of those waiting for a better story, I thank you!

James Falvey
Executive Director
Bring flowers, cookies, and good company to a home-bound, isolated elder in your community.
October 19th
November 16th
December 21st
or call 612.712.1400
N orm Morris spends life looking for opportunities to make connections. Norm started volunteering with Little Brothers - Friends of the Elderly in the late ‘80s. He fell off for a while, but in the past couple of years he has returned with full force. Not only does Norm have two phone companions, one visiting companion, and frequently participates in tabling events with LBFE, he is also always on the lookout for community connections.

When he noticed a hole at Meals on Wheels, he quickly realized LBFE had the tools to fill it. “My wife volunteered with Meals on Wheels, and she would often come home and tell me about the guys who seemed very lonely,” he recalled. Norm soon approached a friend from church who served on the board of directors at Meals and Wheels, and proposed that the two organizations work together. A partnership was soon born.

Volunteers at Meals on Wheels are now on the lookout for elders they serve who may be in need of more than just a meal. Although they might not be able to spend as much time they like at an elder’s home, they go into homes armed with LBFE as a resource, knowing that another volunteer might be able to spend more time with them.

"A lot of organizations get so focused on the particulars of what they do, I think they’re missing the opportunity to expand and to help others. Working together, we help each other in many ways.”

“A lot of organizations get so focused on the particulars of what they do, I think they’re missing the opportunity to expand and to help others. Working together, we help each other in many ways,” said Norm.

And for Norm, it doesn’t stop there. “You never know when the next connection is going to come,” he advised. This seems to be a motto Norm lives by adamantly. He has brought in speakers from LBFE to both his church and his office, and never misses an opportunity to mention it to those he encounters. Norm even mentioned LBFE in a recent visit to his doctor, who realized he had an elderly neighbor who might be interested in hearing about LBFE.

The next major link he made was between LBFE and his office, Express Scripts, a prescription management group. Knowing that part of LBFE’s mission is finding connections within local communities, he worked with LBFE in creating a partnership between volunteers from Express Scripts and Presbyterian Homes, a nearby senior living community.

We all have something to learn from Norm. “I think the key is to take the initiative, don’t sit there and wonder about it, just start asking people,” he suggested.
The key to a long, happy life?
The key to a long and happy life seems to be an elusive mystery. There is no special elixir, or magic
spell, or even a series of steps one can take to guarantee it. However, a group of scientists at Harvard have been working for over eighty years to find a few things that might help.

The study spans the lives of hundreds of men and women, explores a number of factors, including bodily health, education, job performance, home life and more. And what did the study find
was the number one determination of happiness?

“One important lesson about what
makes for the good life emerges time and time again. Simply put, good relationships keep us happy and healthy,” Robert Waldinger, the current leader of the study, wrote on his online blog.

The study found that not only are people who are socially connected to friends and community happier, they are also physically healthier and live longer. People who are more isolated on the other hand, live for less time, and face physical decline much sooner.

So where can we find these good relationships that keep us happy? The potential is all around us, quite literally. Building relationships in our community is one of the first places to start. In the Twin Cities, Little Brothers - Friends of the Elderly is lucky enough to be one of many nonprofits working to create avenues for building connections and relationships within our very own neighborhoods.

This June, LBFE participated in an event called Peace of Pie, sponsored by the Minnehaha Communion Lutheran Church. The Longfellow Community Council, LBFE, and other neighborhood businesses and nonprofits came together to hear music, eat pie, and connect as a community.

Simple acts such as eating pie together are what lead to a life of happiness. Knowing your neighbors, or putting in the effort to maintain a friendship will have major payoff down the road, as Waldinger’s study proves.

However, for some, this is a privilege. For adults who are isolated, have limited mobility, and can’t access these neighborhood resources as easily, LBFE is here as a resource. If you want to get connected, start finding local communities. Connecting with LBFE is a great place to start.
As a supporter of LBFE – whether you’re a donor or volunteer – you’re able to see the tremendous difference you make in the lives of isolated elders in the here and now. By including LBFE in your estate plan through a bequest, your impact can live on beyond your lifetime.
A bequest – a gift made through your will or trust – is flexible and easy to update. The funds are kept available for you and your family’s needs. You can also optimize those funds through the use of wise tax-saving and income-producing strategies.

In addition, a bequest to LBFE allows you to decide how your assets will be distributed. Here are a few options:
• Leave a specific dollar amount or asset to LBFE.
• Designate a percentage of your estate.
• Gift the “residue” or balance of your estate after bequests to loved ones have been made.
Be sure to contact your attorney for professional advice when drawing up a will or estate plan.

Once you have added Little Brothers – Friends of the Elderly/Minneapolis-St. Paul Chapter to your estate plan, please let us know. You will automatically become an honored member of the Flowers Before Bread Legacy Society, which entitles you to receive an exclusive invitation to LBFE’s annual Legacy Society Event, plus recognition in our annual reports.

For more information about setting up a planned gift to LBFE, please contact Ceallaigh Anderson Smart, Development Manager, at csmart@littlebrothersmn.org or 612.746.0739.

Long before Little Brothers - Friends of the Elderly came to Minneapolis, when the Twin Cities were major hubs of milling on the Mississippi river, there was Stevens Square. Founded in 1881, it served as a home for children orphaned by the typhoid epidemic, and later as a home for older women.

Stevens Square Foundation was started as a separate entity in 1979 to support the home. It is now a grant making organization which seeks to help older adults in the Twin Cities metro area to age at home and in community. Eventually, due to changes in nursing home funding, operating as a home for older adults was no longer financially viable, and The Stevens Square Board of Directors made the decision to sell the home and consolidate assets to form a grant-making organization.

Today, Stevens Square Foundation is not only a benefactor of Little Brothers - Friends of the Elderly, it is also a fellow member of a community of nonprofits that seek to help the Twin Cities’ aging population.
Throughout its rich history, the organization has maintained a strong connection to other nonprofits in the Twin Cities working to raise funds and help elders.

“Fundraising was always part of our history, and it was part of our roots. We depended on grants and charitable contributions throughout our existence to provide high quality services,” explained Stafford. As an organization, we know from experience that “it’s hard to survive without charitable contributions and grants” she continued.

Stevens Square has found it powerful and effective to support smaller organizations that have expertise working in their local communities. “It’s really clear to us that neighborhood organizations within the community know their population best and know what the needs are,” said Stafford.

Grants from community organizations like Stevens Square are vital to LBFE, but they do not satisfy all of the serious need in the Twin Cities community for support for elders. Just as working in the community is important for a nonprofit, it is important that grants and individual donations come from the community as well. The two work in collaboration with individual donations to fund hands-on support in the community for local elders.
Summer Sizzle
Visiting Companions and Elder Friends joined us at our annual Summer Sizzle to welcome the new season. The event was held at the Danish American Center, where we had delicious food, socialized, even held a sing-a-long.
Mural Unveiling
Members of the Lake Street Community Council, Corcoran Neighborhood Association, volunteers, staff members and elders gathered outside our Lake Street office to celebrate the hard work of elder contributors and muralist Elissa Cedarleaf Dahl. The mural unveiling featured testimonies from elders, speeches from community members, music from a South High jazz group, and a ribbon cutting. One of the many exciting things to come from the event was the declaration of June 20th as Little Brothers - Friends of the Elderly Day from the Minneapolis mayoral office. Drive by to see the final product!
Volunteer Appreciation
LBFE celebrated our valued volunteers with a vintage trolley ride around the Chain of Lakes in Minneapolis. Volunteers and staff members met at the Sculpture Gardens parking lot, where everyone was greeted by colorful Burma Shave type signs reading LBFE LOVES OUR VOLUNTEERS. The scenic trip took us past a beautiful sunset, and to a pit stop at Beard’s Plaisance for Ben and Jerry’s ice cream.
Cards, Crafts and Coffee
On a rainy day in June, we were joined by volunteers from Wells Fargo and Blue Cross Blue Shield for our monthly Cards, Crafts and Coffee event. We played Bingo, cards, had great conversations, and many elders went home with prizes.
Do you consider yourself a philanthropist? You are if you donate or volunteer. While the term is often used in connection with a person who gives considerable money or time to a cause, you don’t need to be a tycoon or lottery winner to make a difference with your philanthropy.

If you’re like most of us, you have a limited contribution budget. Now is a good time to develop a personal giving plan for 2019 based on the causes that are most important to you. Determine the total amount you wish to donate, then allocate perhaps 75% or 80% to them. Consider keeping the remainder uncommitted so you can respond spontaneously when, for example, someone you care about asks you to support their worthy cause or a natural disaster occurs.

You can use additional strategies to add greater consistency, ease and impact to your giving plan, such as:
  • Monthly giving. Spread your giving throughout the year and reduce your paperwork with automatic deductions from your checking account.
  • Donations of non-cash assets. You may wish to convert stocks, mutual funds, real estate and other non-cash assets into funds for charitable giving.
  • Donor-advised funds. Setting up this type of philanthropic account gives you the ability to designate grants to your favorite charities while providing tax advantages.

The majority of LBFE’s financial support comes from individual philanthropists – like you ! For information about other impactful ways to give, visit our website.
1845 East Lake Street 
Minneapolis, MN 55407 
Phone: 612.721.1400 
Fax: 612.721.5848