What Is NORC Blueprint?

The NORC program model has emerged and grown over the past 20 years. While NORC programs originated in New York City, where they have also multiplied the most, they can now be found in communities in 24 other states. But until now, there have been no guidelines for designing and managing high-quality NORC programs to serve the nation’s seniors and their communities. This website – NORC Blueprint – aims to fill that void.

In 2004, the Daniels Fund challenged the United Hospital Fund to create the NORC Blueprint. The idea was to reach consensus on what it takes to launch and sustain an effective program, and to present the information in a way that reaches the broadest possible audience. With its mix of crisp guidelines, focused tools, and illustrative stories, the NORC Blueprint presents a picture of what we know today, in order to guide action towards a better tomorrow.

Three additional philanthropies joined the Daniels Fund in supporting the project – the Fan Fox & Leslie R. Samuels Foundation, the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, and the United Hospital Fund itself. The multi-year project to develop the website was launched under the auspices of the United Hospital Fund in 2005.

The United Hospital Fund created a national working group to help make the NORC Blueprint happen. The working group brought together NORC program leaders from seven states -- representing programs in urban, suburban, and rural settings -- as well as experts in health care, social services, program evaluation, business planning, and community development.

Through a series of four multi-day meetings over an 18-month period, the working group explored the features of successful NORC programs, presented tools for developing, managing, and evaluating them, and offered lessons from their own experiences in the field.

Their insights, combined with the guidance of four content experts, became the foundation for the NORC Blueprint. Once drafted, materials were circulated for review to the working group members and other stakeholders, and revised extensively to incorporate their feedback.

The result is five interrelated sections designed to advance high-quality NORC programs:

Each section includes guiding principles, supported by action steps, special considerations, and tools. While the first three sections are especially targeted at new programs, there is useful guidance here for ongoing initiatives as well. The last two sections are relevant to a NORC program at any stage in its development. Program examples are included within each section, and a separate “Stories from the Field” feature provides more on-the-ground detail about the experiences of NORC programs around the country.

In addition to allowing for the broad dissemination of information and easy access, housing the NORC Blueprint on the Web ensures that its content can be updated continuously as more is learned.

While the primary focus of the United Hospital Fund's work is New York, the impact and relevance of the NORC Blueprint are also national.

A list of all the Guiding Principles is available.

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