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Aging into Poverty: Ensuring Seniors’ Golden Years Remain Golden

Thursday, October 24, 2019 -
10:00am to 12:00pm PDT
Northern California Grantmakers
160 Spear Street, Suite 360 | San Francisco, CA 94105
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Currently, one in five seniors in California is living at or below poverty – the highest rate in the country. With the demographic changes underway in the State, the challenges of senior poverty are likely to increase even if this rate remains unchanged. The Governor presents a promising opportunity to addressing senior poverty with the Master Plan for Aging, but more is needed to fill the gaps. Where can philanthropy support policy and programmatic strategies showing promise? How can cross sector collaboration reduce economic security challenges? 

Inequities in our region are only exacerbated for seniors, especially seniors of color and women of color. During this convening, our expert speakers will showcase opportunities in responding to: 

  • Legacy effect of the wage gap on retirement benefits
  • Caregiving expenses
  • Lack of sufficient safety net
  • Effects of women’s longer life expectancy
  • Low wages 
  • Lack of affordable housing leading to homelessness
  • Workplace ageism
  • Medical, student loan, housing, and other types of debt

Join us to better understand how funders can respond to the senior poverty crisis upon us. With thoughtful strategy and cross sector collaboration we can reduce existing levels of economic insecurity and racial inequities specific to seniors, and break down the additional factors women have to face.


Gina Di Giusto, Senior Attorney, Housing and Economic Rights Advocates

Gina Di Giusto is a Senior Attorney at HERA and a graduate of Harvard Law School. Prior to joining HERA in 2013, Gina provided advice on landlord-tenant issues at a local legal services program, completed a fellowship at the Superior Court in Alameda County, and spent two years representing residents of publicly subsidized housing before local housing authorities. Gina was selected to the California Super Lawyers "Rising Stars" list in 2016-18 for her work in consumer law; the "Rising Stars" list is selected by peer lawyers and recognizes no more than 2.5 percent of up-and-coming attorneys in each state. At HERA, Gina works on unfair debt collection, wrongful credit reporting, and mortgage and foreclosure-related issues on behalf of Californians in need. Gina also brings significant litigation experience and expertise addressing abuses by homeowners' associations.

Shireen McSpadden, Executive Director, San Francisco Department of Aging

Shireen McSpadden was appointed Executive Director of the San Francisco Department of Aging by Mayor Edwin Lee in December of 2015. Prior to that appointment, she served as Deputy Director of the department since 2003. Ms. McSpadden has nearly 30years’ experience providing services to people with disabilities and seniors, in both the nonprofit and public sectors. She has served on the boards of local community organizations and committees such as Glide, the San Francisco Palliative Care Workgroup, the San Francisco Long Term Care Coordinating Council, and the community advisory board of UCSF’s Center for Aging in Diverse Communities. Shecurrently serves as president of the California Association of Area Agencies on Aging. She is also a board member, representing California, for the National Association of AreaAgencies on Aging. Ms. McSpadden earned a Master’s Degree in NonprofitAdministration from the University of San Francisco. She is an alumna of Leadership San Francisco.

Kevin Prindiville, Executive Director, Justice in Aging

Kevin Prindiville is Justice in Aging’s Executive Director. He is a nationally recognized expert on Medicare and Medicaid policy and has served as counsel in several class action lawsuits protecting low-income senior’s access to public benefits.

Kevin has a long history of developing partnerships and directing strategic advocacy efforts. The author of numerous articles, reports and briefs, he frequently testifies before legislators, presents at national conferences and works closely with both federal and state regulatory agencies. He also is quoted often in national and California media. Kevin is on the Board of Directors of the American Society on Aging.

Prior to joining Justice in Aging, Prindiville worked as a staff attorney at the Pennsylvania Health Law Project in Philadelphia where he represented low-income individuals having trouble obtaining health care. He is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Law School and the University of California, San Diego. Kevin is admitted to the California Bar.

Shirin Vakharia, Program Director, Marin Community Foundation (moderator)

Shirin Vakharia serves as a program director for Health and Aging at the Marin Community Foundation. To this role, Shirin brings 20 years of experience in human services and public health in both community- based settings and the public sector.  

Prior to joining the foundation, Ms. Vakharia worked for Napa County Health and Human Services Agency as the Prevention Coordinator. In this role she planned and oversaw substance abuse prevention, tobacco control, HIV and mental health programs.

She has a Masters of Arts in Community Counseling and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Cincinnati.

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