The Auen Foundation

News


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 www.gero.usc.edu 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 www.ranchrecover.org.
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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 www.aidsassistance.org.
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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 www.chapman.edu. For infor­ma­tion about the Alona Cortese Elder Law Cen­ter go to www.chapman.edu/law/legal-clinics/elder-law.aspx.
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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 www.desertaidsproject.org or find D.A.P on Face­book, Twit­ter and You Tube.
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