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News - August 18, 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 18, 2020

Contact: Martie Serna | 202-518-6493 | Martha.Serna@finnpartners.com

Goodwin House Bailey’s Crossroads Silver Panther Huddle Receives LeadingAge Virginia 2020 Advocacy Award

LeadingAge Virginia has selected the Goodwin House Bailey’s Crossroads Silver Panther Huddle as the winners of the 2020 Advocacy Award. This annual award recognizes individuals – or in this case, a group – “for exceptional achievement in advocacy initiatives that have advanced the nonprofit mission, expanded the possibilities for aging, and/or improved the legal, public and/or regulatory environment influencing the provision of aging services” or which “champions resident life enrichment and exceptional care delivery.”

“Advocacy is all about storytelling,” said Melissa Andrews, president & CEO of LeadingAge Virginia, “and who better to tell the story of positive aging in Virginia than the Silver Panther Huddle? Their voices lift up our mission and shine a light on the challenges and opportunities facing our field. We owe this group a debt of gratitude for their advocacy!”

“I am impressed and awed by the energy and commitment of the Silver Panther Huddle as they continue to support those less fortunate or marginalized, fairness in government policies and issues that directly impact older adults,” said Goodwin House Chief Operating Officer, Linda L. Lateana.

The Silver Panther Huddle is a collaborative group of residents at Goodwin House Bailey’s Crossroads (GHBC), one of two Life Plan Communities owned and operated by Goodwin House Incorporated. Members of the Silver Panther Huddle first met on February 22, 2017, as an outgrowth of the Women’s March on Washington held the previous month. With a vision to be active on issues of interest, they developed a charter, governance model and spirit of welcome to participants of all political persuasions. Their stated purpose is “to study government policies and programs at the national, state and local levels and to advocate for those policies that uphold the well-being of our democratic institutions, our neighbors and our environment; ethical government through transparency and corporate and individual responsibility; and economic fairness in budgets and taxation.”

Nearly 100 GHBC residents are involved in the Huddle. The broader group organizes smaller “huddles” that each individually focus on specific topics such as health care, the environment, redistricting, immigration and refugees, LGBTQ+ issues and stopping gun violence.

Residents choose their level of involvement. Group members (known as “Huddlers”) write postcards or letters, call officials and sponsor informational events open to all residents. Many Huddlers are also active in non-partisan activities—they staff polling places, encourage voter registration and help other residents who may want to vote early or absentee.

The Silver Panther Huddle also responds to LeadingAge Virginia requests to contact local officials about issues relevant to residents of Life Plan Communities.

“We retired from busy careers and busy volunteering, yet we remain advocates for our communities,” said Georgia Fuller, GHBC resident and one of the organizing members of the Huddle.

Here are just some of what the Silver Panther Huddle has accomplished, and why they were selected for this honor:

  • Worked to keep medical deductions in the 2017 Tax Bill, a deduction the House originally eliminated.
  • Supported expansion of Virginia Medicaid subsequent to ACA implementation.
  • Investigated proposed Medicare changes, opposing ones that had a negative impact on seniors.
  • Monitored the attempted roll-back of national and state environmental protections in legislation and policies.
  • Attended rallies for science, Earth Day and climate actions.
  • Collected signatures on a petition in favor of redistricting.
  • Supported DACA legislation and scholarships for Dreamers. Monitored other immigration legislation.
  • Established a tax-deductible fund within the Goodwin House Foundation to help immigrant Goodwin House staff finance their citizenship application process.
  • Supported the March for Our Lives 2018 and the June 2019 rallies in Arlington and Alexandria by Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.
  • Sent messages of condolence and solidarity to the Tree of Life congregation in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania after the anti-Semitic mass shooting.
  • Opposed attempts to undermine family life education in Fairfax County.
  • Supported legislation to ban discrimination against Virginians who identify with the LBGTQ+ community and urged businesses to say they welcome customers from the LBGTQ+ community.
  • Promoted SAGE (Service and Advocacy for GLBT Elders) CARE training for Goodwin House staff.

Even during the pandemic, the Huddlers have continued their important work. When COVID-19 kept residents from engaging in local events about justice and equality, they organized a vigil on the GHBC campus in memory of George Floyd. Residents and staff were able to safely attend, allowing them to participate in the wider movement toward equality.

“In addition to honoring George Floyd and joining in the nationwide protests for justice, our vigil was an exercise in the strength of community,” said Margaret Sullivan, another GHBC resident and organizing member of the Silver Panther Huddle. “Some two hundred staff and residents – many carrying handmade signs – observed eight minutes and 42 seconds of silence on the lawn, remembered that some of us had begun this work as early as the ‘40s and ‘50s and sang We Shall Overcome. Our sense of common purpose continues, strengthened by the vigil.”

About Goodwin House Incorporated: Celebrating more than 50 years of providing exceptional service to older adults, Goodwin House Incorporated (GHI) is a not-for-profit, Virginia-based corporation affiliated with the Episcopal Church. The growing family of GHI senior living and healthcare services owned and operated across Northern Virginia includes: two Life Plan Communities—Goodwin House Alexandria and Goodwin House Bailey’s Crossroads; an innovative continuing care at home program—Goodwin House at Home; and a portfolio of healthcare services and partnerships delivering Palliative Care, Home Health, Primary Care and Hospice. GHI also is the management agent for The Lewinsville Retirement Residences, Inc. serving low-income older adults in McLean and Great Falls, Virginia.

GHI also advances its mission through the Goodwin House Foundation, a 501(c)(3) supporting foundation that provides financial support to current and future residents in need and to fund programs dedicated to promoting growth and education of staff as well as overall well-being and vibrant living as we age.

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