Sharing Our Spaces: How Intergenerational Shared Sites Maximize Infrastructure Investments and Benefit All Generations

Generations United
2 min readOct 15, 2021

Intergenerational shared sites are a unique type of intergenerational program that pair younger generations with older adults in the same physical location, that build relationships and bring them together with activities or programs such as art, music, cooking, or yoga.

On Oct. 14, attendees learned the value and importance of shared sites and how policies can encourage their development and enhancement.

Then Donna turned it over to our first speaker, Joanne Thomson, president and CEO of Benevilla — a shared site in Surprise, Arizona.

Donna recalled her visit there a few years ago. “I was impressed by the creative ways they found to eliminate obstacles that would have stopped others,” she said. “Instead of giving up, which is easy to do, they stayed with their vision and succeeded. I’m delighted Joanne is here to tell us more today.”

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Beneville — like a few other shared sites — quickly pivoted their programming.

Additionally, their programs also went virtual. The switch was worth it to keep generations connected, even from afar.

Donna concurred.

They’re also what 4 in 5 Americans polled prefer for their older and younger loved ones.

Shared sites even made it into the reauthorization of the Older Americans Act.

Our next speaker was Chelsea Mason, director of External Relations at The Eisner Foundation, a co-sponsor of our virtual policy briefing.

After Chelsea, our next speaker was Miriam Calderon, deputy assistant secretary for Policy and Early Learning in Office of Elementary and Secondary Education at the U.S. Department of Education.

Our final speaker before the panel discussion was Carla Moore, co-chief executive officer for United methodist Community House in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Note: Stay tuned for the recording of our Oct. 14 event to check out the engaging panel discussion.

After the panel, came Donna’s closing remarks. In addition to thanking our speakers and staff, Donna did another plug for our Sharing Our Space toolkit.

We’re thrilled our attendees enjoyed the virtual policy briefing.

Check out Sharing Our Space: A Toolkit for Developing and Enhancing Intergenerational Shared Sites.

Also, subscribe to our weekly newsletter, Generations This Week, to stay connected.



Generations United

National nonprofit that improves children, youth and older adults' lives through intergenerational programs and policies. Why? Because we're stronger together.