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Legacy

Throughout its history, as a facility, foundation, and community advisory fund, the mission of Grotta has remained focused on improving the quality of life of older adults and their families primarily living in Essex, Union and Morris counties in New Jersey.

Grotta’s history dates back to 1916 when for her 80th birthday present, Theresa Grotta’s friends formed the Theresa Grotta Aid Society for Convalescents. The society’s goal was to help needy families in Newark, as Theresa Grotta did, and later women recuperating from surgery as they transitioned from the hospital to home. In 1979, a building in West Orange, NJ, was purchased and the name was changed to The Theresa Grotta Center for Rehabilitative Services. As a 142-bed skilled nursing home and rehabilitation center, services were provided on an inpatient and outpatient basis to the elderly on a non-sectarian basis.

Facing changes in the health care industry, the skilled nursing facility was sold in 1993, and the proceeds of that sale were used to establish a private foundation, the Grotta Foundation for Senior Care. In 10 years as a foundation more than $3 million were awarded in grants to promote and support elder caregiving, senior programs at synagogues, and a range of community programs serving the elderly.

In 2003, The Grotta Fund for Senior Care was established with the Jewish Community Foundation. Here Fund focuses its efforts on grant making initiatives and achieving a meaningful difference in the lives of older adults in the Metro West area. The Grotta Fund is advised by a council, many of whom are former Grotta Foundation board members, including the great-great grandson of Theresa Grotta.

Grotta FundSince 2003, the Grotta Fund for Senior Care Advisory Council has recommended grants to more than 45 agencies, totaling over $ 3 million. Grotta funding has supported needed food, housing support transportation, and programs to enhance service delivery to seniors. In particular grants have enhanced case management services, kosher food programs, home-based nursing services, mental health services, social support and assistance, transportation, medication management, home safety, and respite care programs

Grants are awarded, twice each year, based on Request for Proposals (RFP) process. The Grotta Fund for Senior Care strives to fund programs and services that reach the most vulnerable populations in Essex, Morris, and Union county communities, aiding them to remain safely and independently in their own homes or community. While the Council generally favors projects that are innovative and collaborative in nature, Grotta also supports the expansion of national evidence-based programs that will benefit local seniors. Grotta grantees are expected to monitor their programs closely, measure impact on the quality of life of the seniors and their families and share the results of the funded project. Most grants are one year in duration, though grantees that are successful may reapply for up to three years of funding.

Grants At Work

Grotta FundEven in the face of the current national economic times, Grotta remains committed to its support for programs and services helping seniors. Described below are some notable grants in the recent past.


Grotta FundGrotta supported several grants that expanded community’s programs and services concerned with chronic disease management, medication management, mental health issues, and challenging behaviors of frail seniors in our rapidly aging population.

Many grants successfully improved the care of seniors with chronic illnesses, low vision and mental health challenges.

In 2008, funding to Holy Redeemer Home Care for additional home-based health monitoring equipment enabled 51 seniors with congestive heart failure to be remotely monitored for 90 days, resulting in early identification of medical problems, fewer rehospitalizations, and improved medication compliance.

In 2009, JFS of Central NJ initiated a program “Congestive Heart Failure: Beyond the Borders of the Hospital” which provided assistive devices, geriatric nursing oversight and improved education. This program demonstrated improved medication management and reduced rehospitalizations.

SAGE, Eldercare’s Eldercare Planning and Guidance Program, received funding in 2008- 2011, With these funds and support from the Summit Area Foundation, SAGE provides outreach service to assist older adults and their caregivers with care planning services in the area. The program’s licensed social worker and registered nurse visit each client to assess their individual situations in areas such as access to medical care, chronic illness self-management, home safety, financial needs and connections to community services.

In 2010 and 2011, Grotta supported an Intensive Case Management Program led by Family Services of Morris County. This collaborative program provides critical resources and referrals in Morris and Essex counties to help older adults facing multiple and significant mental health, domestic abuse, and public health problems. This program addresses the gaps in home care agencies and hospital discharge planners, training needs

Grotta FundGrotta funding has expanded several national evidence-based model programs for improved mental and physical health for diverse elderly populations. One notable program is Take Control of Your Health, which encourages a positive approach to self-management of chronic health conditions. Take Control of Your Health participants learn strategies for managing symptoms, working with health care professionals, setting weekly goals, problem-solving, relaxing, handling difficult emotions, eating well, and exercising safely and easily. Healthy Ideas offers A Test for Depression in Older People.

Move Today, a program promoted by the NJ Division of Health Move Today uses 30-45 minute non-aerobic exercise classes to improve flexibility, balance and stamina.

Sharing and Learning

The Grotta Fund provides its grantees with opportunities for technical assistance, learning, and networking with other non-profits. In turn, our grantees are encouraged to promote the results of their grant, leverage funding, and sustain programs which have been funded by Grotta.

Please let us know if you are interested in learning more about a specific program or area of focus.

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Advisory Council Members & Staff

President: Shelley Levine

Vice Presidents: Susan Kogan, Cathy Kuttner

Council Members: Candy Blau,  Jeffrey Braemer, Harriet Gaidemak, Fern Kumar, Ellie Lazarus, Nancy Scher, Roberta Schoenberg, Bart Schneiderman, DMD, Judy Siegel, Judi Sills

Grotta Director: Renie Carniol
 rcarniol@jfedgmw.org | (973) 929-3097

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