The program, initiated in 2005, aims to promote educational actions that encourage older people to become more active, with emphasis placed on their social activity and inter-generational relations in particular. The program is carried out mainly by supporting and promoting initiatives taken by seniors themselves, who use their potential, knowledge, experience, and time for the benefit of their own environment and local communities, and by supporting the Third Age Universities.
The “Seniors in Action” competition offers grants and training for people over 60 who wish to carry out social initiatives based on their own ideas, individually or in tandem with a younger person. The competition is addressed to active seniors enrolled in a Third Age University, as well as those cooperating with other organizations and institutions.
So far, 419 projects have been financed in the fourteen editions of the “Seniors in Action” competition: inter-generational projects, projects that encourage older people to act for the benefit of their nearest community, and projects promoting volunteer services by the seniors. The fifteenth edition is underway, with 21 projects being implemented.
To support Third Age Universities the program offers training, workshops, and experience exchange during conferences for TAU representatives. In 2004–2012, the nationwide TAU meetings were held in Cracow, Bydgoszcz, Słupsk, Płock, Warsaw, Nowy Sącz, and Katowice. Between 2011 and 2013, 14 regional TAU meetings were granted support. The program is also engaged in other events important to the TAU movement, in particular the annual Third Age Forum, which is a part of the International Economic Forum in Krynica (now organized in Karpacz), as well as the Nationwide TAU Congresses.
Since 2013, representatives of Third Age Universities may participate in TAU for Local Communities workshops which encourage the formation of volunteer groups at the Universities as well as cooperation with local communities. Nine editions of this project gathered 90 TAUs; the present tenth edition includes 10 more.
2020 was the last year of the pilot program “Tandem. Mentoring 55+” focused on engaging older people in mentoring children and youth living in environments needing support. About a dozen mentors cooperated with their proteges to boost their self-esteem and social competencies. The result was the publication “Tandem: How to Provide Inter-generational Mentoring,” a step-by-step compendium for institutions and organizations interested in such actions among children and teenagers (available for free on the website of the Program Manager). The partners of the pilot program were: the Elżbieta Sołtys Education and Kindergarten Complex “School with Passion” in Ostrowiec Świętokrzyski and Joanna Radziwiłł’s Caring Wings Foundation in Warsaw.
Additionally, from 2005 to 2008 under the grant competition addressed directly to the Third Age Universities, 131 grants were awarded for projects improving the quality of their educational offers, including computer and Internet courses enabling Third Age Universities to reach a wider audience of senior citizens, as well as stimulating seniors’ involvement in activities for the benefit of their local communities, particularly through voluntary work.
The Foundation has disbursed $6,043,434, including $334,898 for the current edition.