(From Press Release) – Older Davis residents give more time, funds
Leaders in the nonprofit sector agree, if it wasn’t for the support of Davis’ active adults, things wouldn’t be the same.
Davis residents 55 and older contribute more time and money to area charities than those who are younger or in surrounding communities. Highly educated and filled with life experiences, they also provide thoughtful and valuable insight.
“They’re the backbone of our support,” said Ray Bautista, who coordinates more than 600 volunteers for the Yolo County Food Bank, which distributes more than 4 million pounds of groceries to those in need.
“Seventy to 80 percent of our long-term volunteers — meaning six months or more — are over 55. They are the ones who stick around and provide consistent support on a regular basis,” Bautista said.
They also give more than their time. “Most of our donations come from Davis, and most of those are from older adults.”
Tracy Fauver, executive director of Yolo County CASA (Court-Appointed Special Advocates for children), echoed that sentiment. Of the organization’s 135 volunteers, 50 of them are 55 or older. Specially trained volunteers advocate for abused and neglected children in the foster system.
“The majority of our volunteers are from Davis,” she said. “Davis is the number one area in Yolo County that provides us with volunteers.”
However, many active adults who want to stay in Davis are frustrated by the limited housing options, especially if they want a quiet, single-story, ADA-accessible home. Most housing in town is geared toward college students or young families.
“If we don’t plan ahead to ensure housing for those active adults, we could lose this precious resource of time, talent and treasure,” said Dave Taormino, a longtime Davis real estate developer and proponent of the West Davis Active Adult Community.
Lea Rosenberg, 70, volunteers extensively with the Yolo County SPCA and Sutter Davis Foundation board. An active member of Soroptimist International of Davis, the Davis Odd Fellows and Rebekahs, and University Farm Circle, she was named Volunteer of the Year by The Davis Enterprise three times, and Davis Citizen of the Year in 1991.
She said she supports the idea of appropriate housing for active adults. “If it’s getting seniors out of their big homes into a community that they want, I think it’s great.”
“It’s Important to have the older generations there to mentor the younger ones and keep the tradition going,” Rosenberg said. “Once people retire, they can’t wait to find something else to do — a board to join, a new adventure in their life — to give back to Davis.”
Fauver said that’s a generation we need to support. “We try to reach the younger set with things like the Big Day of Giving, but if it weren’t for our senior donors, we’d really struggle to be as effective as we are and serve as many kids as we do. Without a really vibrant community of folks 55 and older, I think a lot of nonprofits would suffer.”
Bautista said lack of housing for active adults would have a ripple effect. “Our consistent volunteers are from Davis, and that definitely would go down if we saw some of them leave. If they moved to Dixon or Vacaville or Sacramento, we’d lose a donation base and a big part of our volunteer base. It would definitely make an impact, because with any kind of nonprofit, retirees and people around that age give the most.”