Grantmaking efforts of the Plough Foundation reflect the many pressing social and economic issues facing Memphis and Shelby County. Our grantmaking reflects these needs as well as concentrates resources in areas of special interest, selected periodically by our Trustees. In 2011, the Foundation leadership selected Aging as a study area and began the process of evaluating the feasibility of a proactive funding approach that focused on older adults.

Plough Foundation staff spent approximately four years performing in-depth research on the older adult community, a style reflective of the Foundation’s deep roots in Shelby County and high value on their leadership team’s relationships in the grantmaking world. Following this comprehensive review of philanthropy and the desires of our community’s diverse aging population, The Foundation’s Board of Trustees realized that a great commitment was needed to make a meaningful impact in this critical, yet underfunded, area.  In 2014 and early 2015, the Plough Foundation awarded an unprecedented amount in Aging Initiative grants designed to improve the lives of Shelby County seniors and increase awareness of the growing needs of older adults.

New programs funded by the grants have garnered state and national attention for the impact they’ve made on the quality-of-life, safety, independence, and emotional and physical health of older adults. In 2018, those local efforts and successes were highlighted at the three-day Grantmakers in Aging Conference, which took place October 17th-19th at the Peabody Hotel. The Plough Foundation served as the primary philanthropic patron of the conference and the Foundation’s Board of Trustees Chairman Diane Rudner performed the duties of Honorary Conference Chair, where she acknowledged and recognized the tremendous contributions of the Aging Initiative grantee lead agencies and their partners.

The Foundation’s multi-year investment in the Aging Initiative began to wind down in late 2018. This strategic investment (including the extensive research, such as the AdvantAge Initiative Survey) led to both greater awareness of our challenges, and significant advances in expertise and services, throughout Shelby County, as well as the State of Tennessee.

The Plough Foundation is no longer seeking unsolicited proposals in its Aging Initiative Legacy Area; however, to learn more about this project, please contact Katie Midgley, Director of Research and Evaluation, at or at 901-521-2779 ext. 306.