Because of the vulnerability of older adults to COVID-19, in-person services for the aging will be among the last to return. So AFTA moved its programs to live-streamed and pre-recorded participatory workshops in music, movement, and painting. The new "pandemic-resilient" workshops rolled out first with longtime teaching artists, client communities, and caregivers and, as capacity allows, will roll out to others. Because the digital divide is particularly evident in long-term care, low-income communities, and communities of color, AFTA creates programs that reach across the divide: heART Kits delivered with meals to older adults and caregivers at home, and more live and pre-recorded programs such as poetry and short story workshops are forthcoming. Dubbed a model in lifelong learning and creative aging by the NEA, AFTA knows that the arts can lift spirits and engage minds ... no matter what crises we face.

Headquarters: MD-Montgomery County

Where They Operate: DC-Ward 2; DC-Ward 3; MD-Montgomery County; MD-Prince George's County; VA-Arlington County; VA-Fairfax County; VA-City of Alexandria; VA-City of Fairfax; Tenleytown, Chevy Chase, Downtown,Chinatown,Anacostia

Age Groups Served: Seniors (50+)

Ethnic Groups Served: African American; Asian American; Caucasian; Latino/Hispanic; Other

Schools They Work In: Summer campers at Longbranch Community Center; Parkdale High School; Summer campers from Chevy Chase Community Center; Chance Academy

Awards & Recognition

1) National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) designates our program a model in lifelong learning and creative aging.

2) Named a Trailblazer by the Maryland Department on Aging

3) Founding member, National Center for Creative Aging

4) Methodology published in "Creativity Matters: The Arts and Aging Toolkit", considered a seminal industry resource.

5) AFTA Founder Lolo Sarnoff recognized for Volunteerism by the Alzheimer's Association.

6) Featured in the national PBS documentary film Do Not Go Gently


  • Using the Arts to Promote Healthy Aging
    Fri Jul 8 2016, The New York Times  
    Personal Health columnist Jane Brody shares the importance of arts participation and its link to better health, including the work of AFTA.

Budget (FY2023)

  • $3 million or higher
  • $1 million to $3 million
  • The current budget for Arts for the Aging is: $500k to $1 million
  • Less than $500k

Catalogue charities range in size from $100,000 to $3 million. This graphic indicates the budget range of the organization featured here. If you see an organizational budget above the $3 million mark, that is because the featured charity has grown in size since it first appeared in the Catalogue. We proudly present on our website the work of these "growth" charities.

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