The Auen Foundation


The Auen Foun­da­tion part­ners with many orga­ni­za­tions year-round. Find out about our recently funded projects.  For other news items, please visit our News Archive page.

Auen Foundation and USC Davis School of Gerontology Partnership Continues to Revolutionize DNA Research

Nov 20, 2013

USC ResearchersA recent grant from the Auen Foun­da­tion allowed the Uni­ver­sity of South­ern Cal­i­for­nia Davis School of Geron­tol­ogy to pur­chase essen­tial research equip­ment, which will assist the biol­ogy team as it unrav­els details about dis­eases that affect older adults.

The Real-Time qPCR, also known as the DNA copy­ing machine, allows researchers and research assis­tants, many of whom are stu­dents, to cre­ate model sys­tems to deter­mine how envi­ron­men­tal changes influ­ence gene changes. This tech­nique, called poly­merase chain reac­tion (PCR), earned its cre­ators a Nobel Prize for Chem­istry in 1993. PCR maps the human genome, allow­ing researchers to pre­cisely quan­tify the num­ber of copies of genes in a par­tic­u­lar bio­log­i­cal sample.

This grant from the Auen Foun­da­tion is not only a gift to our pro­gram, but it is a gift to mankind as we unlock secrets that could help peo­ple live longer, more pro­duc­tive lives,” said Pin­chas Cohen, M.D.
Dean, USC Davis School of Gerontology.

Our nearly two-decades-old part­ner­ship with the USC Davis School of Geron­tol­ogy is extremely impor­tant to us,” said Catharine Reed, Auen Foun­da­tion Pro­gram Offi­cer. “The research and find­ings dis­cov­ered at the school help us ful­fill the foundation’s mis­sion to enhance the lives of the elderly.”

The grant also sup­plied the lab with a new Cell Cul­ture Incu­ba­tor, which allows researchers to con­trol the oxy­gen lev­els to that inside a human body. This process allows for a more accu­rate pic­ture of how cells nat­u­rally grow and reproduce.

This equip­ment is as essen­tial to a lab as a door­knob,” said Caleb “Tuck” Finch, Ph.D. Pro­fes­sor of Geron­tol­ogy and Bio­log­i­cal Sci­ence at USC Davis School of Geron­tol­ogy. “Aging is a com­plex bio­log­i­cal process that is influ­enced by both genes and the envi­ron­ment. With the Real-Time qPCR and the incu­ba­tors now in place, our biol­ogy fac­ulty, researchers and research assis­tants are able to more accu­rately pre­dict sus­cep­ti­bil­i­ties to many age-related diseases.”

The new equip­ment will enhance the university’s research into the causes and poten­tial treat­ments for dis­eases includ­ing Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

Founded in 1975, the USC Davis School of Geron­tol­ogy is the old­est and largest school of its type in the world. It offers a com­pre­hen­sive selec­tion of geron­tol­ogy degree pro­grams with ongo­ing research on aging. For more infor­ma­tion about the USC Davis School of Geron­tol­ogy or its research, visit or call
(213) 740‑5156.
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The Ranch Recovery Center Receives Grant

May 7, 2013

The Auen Foun­da­tion has awarded The Ranch Recov­ery Cen­ters, Inc. a $20,000 grant to treat women over the age of 55 strug­gling with alco­hol and drug addic­tion. Hacienda Valdez, the treat­ment facil­ity run by “The Ranch,” is located in Desert Hot Springs. This pri­mary treat­ment facil­ity is equipped to house 35 women dur­ing drug and alco­hol detox­i­fi­ca­tion and pri­mary treat­ment. Two addi­tional sober-living homes have 12 beds for women dur­ing a tran­si­tional period.

Most women who seek addic­tion treat­ment ser­vices at The Ranch have lit­tle to no income. With the help from char­i­ta­ble dona­tions, The Ranch aims to spon­sor as many women seek­ing treat­ment as possible.

When senior women come to The Ranch to begin their recov­ery from alco­hol depen­dency and are unable to pay for ser­vices, we hate to turn them away. If we do not have the funds or beds avail­able to treat these women in need of sup­port, they are unfor­tu­nately placed on a long county-funded wait­ing list,” said Rick Mesa, Pres­i­dent and CEO of The Ranch Recov­ery Cen­ters, Inc.  “This gen­er­ous sup­port from the Auen Foun­da­tion will allow us to help senior women who might oth­er­wise con­tinue in the grip of their par­tic­u­lar addic­tion. If we can’t admit them imme­di­ately, we may lose touch with them. Often women in these sit­u­a­tions find them­selves turn­ing to unde­sir­able ways of sup­port­ing them­selves and even becom­ing vic­tims of abuse. Sup­port from the Auen Foun­da­tion will improve the lives of many senior women in our community.”

The Ranch Recov­ery Cen­ters, Inc. is ded­i­cated to help­ing peo­ple and their fam­i­lies begin their recov­ery from the dev­as­tat­ing and far-reaching effects of alco­holism and drug depen­dency. The Ranch also offers res­i­den­tial pro­grams for men in two loca­tions serv­ing up to 58. The Ranch typ­i­cally treats about 450–500 men and women each year and pro­vides fam­ily ser­vices pro­grams to 90–100 sig­nif­i­cant others.

For years, we have seen the good work The Ranch is qui­etly doing in our area, and we com­mend Rick Mesa and his staff’s efforts,” said Catharine Reed, Pro­gram Direc­tor for the Auen Foun­da­tion. “We believe sup­port­ing treat­ment pro­grams like this ben­e­fit the entire com­mu­nity.” Women’s treat­ment ser­vices with The Ranch can be con­tacted by call­ing (760) 329‑2959. To learn more about The Ranch Recover Cen­ters, call (760) 329‑2924 or visit
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Grant Supports Services at AIDS Assistance Program

Apr 9, 2013

The Auen Foun­da­tion has awarded a $15,000 grant to AIDS Assis­tance Pro­gram (AAP) in sup­port of the organization’s food voucher pro­gram. The Auen Foun­da­tion began its sup­port of AAP in 1999, as one of the first Coachella Val­ley orga­ni­za­tions the Foun­da­tion ever funded.

We’re approach­ing sum­mer, which is typ­i­cally our most chal­leng­ing time because it’s the end of the sea­son, so this gen­er­ous dona­tion could not have come at a bet­ter time,” says Mark Anton, Exec­u­tive Direc­tor of AAP. “Our main pri­or­ity is to pro­vide nutri­tional sup­port to our clients, and we couldn’t do it with­out our ongo­ing part­ner­ship with the Auen Foundation.”

Estab­lished in 1992, The Auen Foun­da­tion is ded­i­cated to enhanc­ing the over­all qual­ity of life of the aging pop­u­la­tion and rais­ing aware­ness of the precious-end-of-life stage. The Foun­da­tion sup­ports char­i­ta­ble pro­grams and ser­vices aimed at meet­ing the social needs of mature adults and their families.

We love the ser­vice the Aids Assis­tance Pro­gram pro­vides peo­ple in our com­mu­nity,” said Catharine Reed, Senior Pro­gram Offi­cer for the Auen Foun­da­tion. “For peo­ple liv­ing with HIV and AIDS, hav­ing access to healthy food, means one less thing for them to worry about. We applaud the efforts of AAP and the many other part­ners involved in this impor­tant program.”

Since its found­ing in 1991, AIDS Assis­tance Pro­gram remains ded­i­cated to pro­vid­ing nutri­tional sup­port to improve the qual­ity of the lives of those sur­viv­ing HIV/AIDS. Ini­ti­ated by a small group of con­cerned cit­i­zens, led by the late Glo­ria Greene, Jean­nette Rock­e­feller, and Joanna Jak­way, AAP pro­vided meals to mem­bers of the com­mu­nity with low incomes and suf­fer­ing with HIV/AIDS. Since then, the AAP client ros­ter has grown from 20 to approx­i­mately 500 peo­ple. More than 8.5 mil­lion dol­lars has been dis­trib­uted to nearly 2,000 low-income clients in the Greater Palm Springs area.

For more infor­ma­tion about AIDS Assis­tance Pro­gram or to vol­un­teer or donate, please con­tact Exec­u­tive Direc­tor Mark Anton at (760) 325‑8481 or visit
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Grant Will Help Seniors Through Court System

Mar 6, 2013

A grant from the Auen Foun­da­tion will pro­vide about 100 seniors with free legal assis­tance. The con­tri­bu­tion was made to the Alona Cortese Elder Law Cen­ter at Chap­man Uni­ver­sity in Orange, Calif. The fund­ing will assist the Cen­ter as it pro­vides law stu­dents with hands-on train­ing to nav­i­gate low-income seniors through the com­plex court system.

Not only is this a ben­e­fit to seniors who might oth­er­wise attempt to rep­re­sent them­selves in cases of durable pow­ers of attor­ney, elder abuse and finan­cial scams, but many of our stu­dents say this clin­i­cal expe­ri­ence is their most mem­o­rable of law school,” said Tom Camp­bell, Dean, Don­ald P. Kennedy Chair in Law, Chap­man Uni­ver­sity. “It is our inten­tion that the spirit of giv­ing back starts with the gen­eros­ity of the Auen Foun­da­tion and is per­pet­u­ated through our stu­dents even after they grad­u­ate by doing pro bono work dur­ing their careers.”

Each semes­ter, pro­fes­sors work inten­sively with about 7–10 law stu­dents to develop their skills in work­ing closely with clients and their legal issues. Many of the cases require daunt­ing paper­work that must be care­fully com­pleted. The law stu­dents man­age this court require­ment and guide clients through the legal sys­tem, avoid­ing fees that can be upwards of $10,000 for pri­vate representation.

The pro­gram at Chap­man Uni­ver­sity assists peo­ple who can­not afford these legal ser­vices,” said Catharine Reed, Pro­gram Direc­tor for the Auen Foun­da­tion. “Seniors in sit­u­a­tions of phys­i­cal or finan­cial abuse or other legal cases find them­selves not deal­ing with impor­tant issues because they can’t afford it and because the process is over­whelm­ing. We believe the pro­gram at the Alona Cortese Law Cen­ter is improv­ing the lives of seniors, and we are proud to sup­port the work hap­pen­ing there.”

The Cen­ter con­tin­ues to increase the num­ber of cases it han­dles each year, thanks to gen­er­ous sup­port like that of the Auen Foun­da­tion. The law pro­gram at Chap­man Uni­ver­sity receives refer­rals from through­out south­ern Cal­i­for­nia includ­ing from orga­ni­za­tions such as the Pub­lic Law Cen­ter, Legal Aid and the court sys­tem. Many clients have had three or four court appear­ances and are still mired in paper­work and need assis­tance to fol­low com­pli­cated guide­lines and regulations.

Chap­man Uni­ver­sity was founded in 1861. It now enrolls about 6,200 stu­dents across dis­ci­plines. For more infor­ma­tion visit For infor­ma­tion about the Alona Cortese Elder Law Cen­ter go to
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Grant Offers Hope to Seniors Living with HIV

Feb 28, 2013

The Auen Foun­da­tion has awarded Desert AIDS Project (D.A.P.) a grant to help clients over the age of 50 who have been liv­ing with HIV for at least ten years. The funds will sup­ple­ment the organization’s case man­age­ment and psy­chother­apy for this age-group, which rep­re­sents 56 per­cent of its clients.

These long-term sur­vivors are best served with tai­lored pro­grams that match their unique needs,” said David Brinkman, D.A.P. CEO. “Many of these clients have been bat­tling HIV/AIDS since the 80s and 90s, when the stigma asso­ci­ated with the dis­ease was at its high­est. This expe­ri­ence cre­ated bar­ri­ers for seek­ing treat­ment. Many of these peo­ple have lost friends, spouses and fam­ily mem­bers, have unre­solved grief, post-traumatic stress or long-term depres­sion. We are very grate­ful to the Auen Foun­da­tion for rec­og­niz­ing this real need and for sup­port­ing men­tal health needs in our community.”

D.A.P. offers a team approach for its case man­age­ment. The two pri­mary experts man­ag­ing this case load have been work­ing at D.A.P. for nearly 20 years each. Through this time, a dis­tinct exper­tise has emerged for peo­ple work­ing with long-term HIV/AIDS sur­vivors, which com­bines med­ical care, social ser­vices and psy­chother­apy. As part of this holis­tic con­tin­uum of care, all ser­vices are located on a sin­gle cam­pus in Palm Springs.

Our com­mu­nity is so for­tu­nate to have D.A.P. and all the ser­vices it pro­vides,” said Catharine Reed, Pro­gram Direc­tor for the Auen Foun­da­tion. “Address­ing the needs of peo­ple liv­ing with HIV/AIDS who are 50 and older is exactly the type of pro­gram we want to sup­port, because it aligns with our mis­sion to enhance the qual­ity of life for the aging population.”

D.A.P. serves unin­sured and under­in­sured peo­ple liv­ing with HIV and AIDS by pro­vid­ing com­pre­hen­sive sup­port, includ­ing med­ical care, case man­age­ment, and social ser­vices, like food, hous­ing, and coun­sel­ing. D.A.P. also offers free and con­fi­den­tial HIV test­ing at a num­ber of loca­tions in the val­ley. To learn more about Desert AIDS Project, call 760–323-2118, visit or find D.A.P on Face­book, Twit­ter and You Tube.
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