Our History

Based in Chicago, RRF Foundation for Aging (formerly known as The Retirement Research Foundation) is a nongovernmental, nonprofit organization that was incorporated in 1950 by John D. MacArthur and was endowed at the time of his death in 1978.

Since 1979, RRF has awarded more than $239 million to support projects that enhance and improve the quality of life for older people. While nearly half of RRF grants support programs in the Midwest, the Foundation also supports innovative solutions that assist older Americans nationwide.

Following a thoughtful strategic planning process, in 2019 the Board of Trustees approved our new name—RRF Foundation for Aging. This new identity reflects our strong history and our unwavering commitment to improve the lives of older persons.

Past RRF Initiatives

  • 1985: The Personal Autonomy in Long-Term Care initiative examined the ethical dimensions of long-term care, bringing about changes in practice and policy, and identifying new areas for further research.
  • 1984-1998: The National Media Awards program encouraged excellence and accuracy in productions on aging and aging issues.
  • 1988: The Community Awards Program (ENCORE) in Greater Chicago was launched to identify and reward exemplary programs conducted by churches, community organizations, and social-service agencies, and to encourage their replication.
  • 1998: The Organizational Capacity Building program was launched to help nonprofit organizations make long-term improvements in their management and governance to help sustain services to older people.
  • 1993-2006: The Congregation Connection Program increased the capacity of Chicago-area religious congregations to meet the physical and mental well-being needs of aging individuals.
  • 2003-2015: The Accessible Faith Program was initiated to help Chicago-area congregations make physical improvements that enable greater participation by older people.
  • 2006: The Mental Health Training Initiative funded the development and dissemination of tools to help rehabilitation and home-health professionals address depression in older patients.
  • 2011: The National POLST Program Initiative expanded a movement to ensure that the treatment preferences of older persons with life-limiting illnesses are honored.
  • 2011-2014: The Economic Security Initiative developed and launched tools to help vulnerable older people achieve greater economic stability.

Legacy Initiatives

Accessible Faith Grant Report

From 2003 to 2015, RRF Foundation for Aging initiated the Accessible Faith Program to help Chicago-area congregations make physical improvements that enable greater participation by older adults. After awarding over $2,559,000 to support hundreds of accessibility improvements for houses of worship, the Foundation has closed the Accessible Faith Grant Program.

RRF published a national guide to help congregations plan and implement accessibility projects:

Accessible Faith: A Technical Guide for Accessibility in Houses of Worship.

Note: Referenced accessibility standards are those that were in effect at the time, the 1991 Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG).   ADAAG was superseded by the 2010 Standards, which went into effect on March 15, 2012.  A brief comment about this was added to the electronic version of the national guide to alert readers to consult the new standards.

RRF has also developed “Maximizing Your Accessibility Improvements,” a tip sheet to show congregations how to increase awareness of their accessibility improvements to encourage people who need to use them: 

Maximizing Your Accessibility Improvements

For Foundations considering funding a program similar accessibility projects, you may view RRF’s Accessible Faith Grant Application:   

Sample of the Accessible Faith Grant Application Form

Close Menu