Sustaining a NORC Program

Sustainable NORC programs plan for their own success. The power of these programs is embedded in a rich and continually updated understanding of the community; engagement with a broad range of stakeholders; high-quality projects that are well-managed, responsive, and flexible; and evidence that they have made a difference to the lives of seniors and the communities they inhabit.

To do all that—and keep on doing it over an extended period of time—requires a deliberate strategy and a vigorous commitment. It takes the right mix of visionary leadership, dedicated partners, and stubborn creativity, and it demands the broad-based involvement of senior residents. Sustaining NORC programs also requires strategic planning, resource commitments from the public sector, and an infrastructure strong enough to accommodate changing circumstances.

As it takes root, a NORC program begins to make the community it serves a better place for people to grow old—and together, many such programs create a model for change that can be widely replicated.

NORC programs are developed within the context of a dynamic community and respond to the shifting priorities of their residents, as well as to shifts in their funding, leadership, and partnerships. By looking beyond day-to-day operations, NORC programs can anticipate and manage these changes.

The broad-based participation of residents and others partners allows a sustainable NORC program to take a proactive approach. Long-term success is determined not only by the effectiveness of its management, but also by the persistent vision of its leaders. Under their guidance, a NORC program embraces new approaches to supportive services and challenges other stakeholders to embrace them as well.

Implementing long-term strategies for sustainability:

  • Solidifies a NORC program’s role as change agent in the community.
  • Enhances its credibility with funders.
  • Creates a compelling story for community partners.


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