Green House Blog

REGISTRATION for Adult Learner-Centered Education: February 5-7, 2013

THE GREEN HOUSE® Adult Learner-Centered Education Program is a highly interactive workshop available exclusively to Green House Educators. The program will be held at The Green House Project office in Arlington, VA on February 5-7, 2013.  The number of participants varies based on the needs of each organization; although, we strongly recommend at least two Green House Educators attend. Please see below to register and to learn more about this three-day program.

Purpose: To orient staff educators to the content and approach of the Coaching for Partnership curriculum

Learning Objectives: By the end of this workshop, participants will be able to:

  • Identify their own values related to their role as a educator/teacher/trainer.
  • Describe key principles and practices for effective adult learning.
  • Explain how this curriculum is designed to apply the key principles of adult learning.
  • Describe how this curriculum is designed to develop Coaching competencies for Clinical Support Team Members.
  • Describe the likely characteristics of participants and explain how this curriculum is designed to meet their learning needs.
  • Demonstrate the adult learner-centered training approach by practice teaching activities from the Coaching for Partnership curriculum.
  • Identify their areas of strength and areas needing support in order to teach the model curriculum effectively.

There is no cost to Green House organizations to register. Lunch will be provided during the training, although other participants will be responsible for other expenses (ex. travel, hotel, remaining meals).

More logistics will be available upon registration (below). The deadline for registration is January 5, 2013.

Fill out my online form.

Highlighting THE GREEN HOUSE® Project Team: Maura Porcelli, Operations Manager

Working in the world of nonprofits and giving back to her community are just part of Maura’s lifestyle.  As she says, “I’ve just always been drawn to nonprofits.”  So it’s no surprise that her Master’s Degree is in Nonprofit Association Administration!  Her many years of community service includes activities with her church such as feeding the needy, and providing shopping services for the elderly.

Maura’s professional career began at the American Council on Education where she honed her skills in critical business and operational projects through a variety of positions.  She monitored budgets, developed strategic plan initiatives, business continuity plans as well as researching and writing for national higher education publications and speeches.

After seven years she decided to try the “for profit” world as the Director of Business Operations for an education research firm.  Again, she gained critical skills in contracts, project management, client relations and financial administration.

As the Operations Manager for THE GREEN HOUSE® Project, Maura utilizes all of those skills as the lead person for contract negotiations and management for clients and consultants.  She cultivates new relationships and assists prospective clients in their pursuit of developing Green House homes.

  • 12 years of business and operational experience
  • M.S. Nonprofit Association Administration; Trinity College, Washington, D.C.
  • Business and Operations Manager, Assistant Director of Special Projects; American Council on Education
  • Director of Business Operations; Simpson Scarborough, Washington, D.C.
  • Program Management Certification; George Mason University, Virginia

Maura thoroughly enjoys international travel, in fact part of her undergraduate work occurred in Paris, France.  One of her vacation spots this past year included a return trip to France.  She has been an active member in her Alumni associations and her church.  Maura also has a soft spot for her cats named Angus and Rosemary.

The Green House Project included in Social Impact Exchange Index of High Impact Non-Profits

New national index, comparable to the S&P 500, has the potential to transform charitable giving

NEW YORK, November 15, 2012 — Today, the Social Impact Exchange launched the Social Impact 100 (S&I 100) (, the first-ever, broad index of U.S. nonprofits with proof of results and a high potential to reach even more people. Modeled on aspects of the S&P 500, the S&I 100 aggregates top-performing, evidence-based nonprofits so that funders – donors and foundations – can have confidence that they are contributing to organizations that consistently deliver impact.

The S&I 100 tracks the number of people served across the portfolio of these top nonprofits the same way the S&P 500 tracks the profitability of America’s large-cap companies. Donors are able to give directly to nonprofits in the S&I 100.

“Right now, donors have no easy way of knowing which nonprofits are truly effective at helping people in need, which means that fewer charitable dollars are going to those programs that can do the most good,” said Alex Rossides, president of the Social Impact Exchange. “The S&I 100 changes that. By taking the guesswork out of giving, the S&I 100 has the potential to transform individual philanthropy the same way the S&P 500 changed investing for individual investors.”

The S&I 100 is the most comprehensive donation platform of only evidence-based, growing nonprofits available to donors. Donors can choose from 100 high-impact nonprofits and nearly 16,000 local affiliates that are implementing their solutions. The Index features models that address the country’s most pressing issues across education, health, youth and poverty. The 100 nonprofits are rigorously screened for evidence of impact through third-party verified studies – made available to donors on the website – and are only included in the Index if they have the ability to serve more people in need. When donors visit the site, they are able to search for high performing nonprofits in the issue areas and locations that they care about most. Once they select a nonprofit, the S&I 100 allows donors to give directly to the organization in a few quick and easy steps. The number of organizations on the S&I 100 will grow as the Social Impact Exchange continues to reach out and identify additional nonprofits that meet the S&I 100’s criteria.

According to a Money for Good survey, nine out of 10 donors say nonprofit performance is important. Until now, funders have not had an easy way of knowing if their dollars are doing the most good. Of the over 1.5 million nonprofit organizations in the country, there is a dearth of rigorous information donors can trust to tell them which are the highest performers and are growing their impact.

The S&I 100 was designed and implemented through a broad, sector-wide collaboration of evaluation firms, ratings firms and other leaders. Financial institutions, funder groups and other leading organizations are helping to share the Index with donors. The Social Impact Exchange will continue to collaborate with leading organizations and experts across the field to expand and improve the Index, and to help make the platform more accessible to donors. The aim is that as donors give to a variety of worthy causes, the S&I 100 will make it easier for them to contribute to nonprofits that they are both passionate about and that have evidence of impact.

Major foundations, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and others are supporting the Social Impact Exchange. The Social Impact Exchange is also working with donor advised funds, such as Schwab Charitable, to offer the S&I 100 to their philanthropic clients.

To find out more about the S&I 100, please visit:

About the Social Impact Exchange
The Social Impact Exchange is a national membership association dedicated to building a capital marketplace that scales high-impact social solutions to improve the lives of millions. The Exchange creates the conditions for breakthroughs to go big in order to deliver impact where it is needed most. Together, Exchange members are making it easier for philanthropic giving to achieve major positive change by supporting strategies that improve lives and change systems. By creating standards to evaluate impact, identifying and tracking highly effective nonprofits, and fostering significant collaborative funding to scale up top social interventions, the Exchange helps foundations, donors, business, and government increase the power of giving to achieve greater social good. To learn more, visit

St. Martin's in the Pines honor Veterans and the grand opening of their third Green House home

 via Jennifer Ray:

St. Martin’s in the Pines hosted a celebration to honor Veterans and the grand opening of a third Cottage on November 11, 2012.

The Cottages represent a new direction in the care of elders requiring skilled nursing. Terry Rogers, St. Martin’s President and CEO, remarked, “It occurs to me that on this day, as we celebrate those who defend our freedom; who have given so much to protect our lives and the way we live, it’s fitting to also remember the way many Veterans and elders have been treated and cared for in the twilight of their lives has been less than honorable. The Cottages represent a new way forward, a revolution from institutional care to care in a home. Our hope is that one day, all elders who need assistance can receive care in a place they can call home, like The Cottages at St. Martin’s.”

Click here to read the full press release

Grow Where You Are Planted

Written by: Cyd Mason, LCSW Green House Guide
VA Illiana Health Care System


On a mid-summer afternoon Veteran Thomas M. Booher (Korean War) sat looking out the front window of Liberty House (one of VA Illiana Health Care System’s Green House homes) at the front yard.  As the Guide I visit the Green House homes with regularity and on this day I pulled up a chair and asked him what he thought about the landscaping.  To my surprise I learned that Mr. Booher had a Bachelor’s Degree in Botany from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  He pointed out that there was one tree in particular that was “too close to the house.”  He said, “as that tree grows it will destroy the foundation of this house.  It’s a Burr Oak and they get very large.  You have to remember there’s more under the ground than what you can see.  Trees have an extensive root system and that’s why one day the foundation and the roof will be damaged.  You really need to remove it and plant something smaller near the house.”

Korean War Veteran, Thomas M. Booher, Botanist and resident of Liberty House (one of VA Illiana Health Care System’s Green House homes).

Veteran Thomas M. Booher’s expertise was shared with our Green House leadership and with our staff that maintains and cares for our landscaping.  Several weeks later the Burr tree was removed and transplanted in the backyard and two crab trees were added to the front of Liberty House.  Their small stature of twelve feet will not interfere with the house foundation or its roof.  We owe a big “Thank you” to Mr. Booher for making us aware of this potential future problem!

We talked about his career  in designing and building custom homes.  “Impressive,“ I  thought.  He said, “That’s the hardest way to make an easy living!”  He grinned ear to ear as he shared that with me.

Our conversation turned to his experience living in Liberty House.  He said, “It’s just absolutely great here and that goes along with the staff.  This couldn’t work without them (shahbazim).  I can’t say anymore than that – that and with one of our RNs who ‘can spin a tale!’”

We are fortunate to have Mr. Booher residing in Liberty House.  He enjoys sharing his knowledge of plant life, music and a good joke now and then.  In the past ten months of living in Liberty House I have seen Mr. Booher “open up” and “blossom” with his fellow Veterans around the dinner table and with the  shahbazim and one RN in particular.  We truly see the building of relationships in Liberty House.  Mr. Booher is one very fine example of why embracing the Green House model was the “right thing to do.”

Green House projects for Veteran's highlighted in GrantWatch Blog

In honor of Veteran’s Day, the Health Affairs GrantWatch Blog is highlighting those foundations that have supported programs to make life better for our nation’s heros. They pay tribute to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Funded Green House Project’s work with The U.S. Department ofVeteran’s Affairs.

“The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the U.S. Department of Defense are moving toward revolutionizing delivery of skilled-nursing care for aging veterans in three locations this autumn. How? The VA is offering vets the opportunity to live in a Green House home”

To read more about these astounding project that are creating meaningful lives for veterans, click here:

Highlighting the VA Illiana Health Care System on Veteran's Day

In honor of Veteran’s Day, The Green House Project wants to give a shout out to the VA Illiana Health Care System (VAIHCS) in Danville, Illinois.  This team never lost sight of their dream: bringing a real home environment to their Community Living Centers (CLCs).  For six years staff at VAIHCS worked tirelessly to make this dream a reality.  Finally in December 2011, they opened their first Green House home, and then the second home one month later.  Over the next year, two more Green House homes will open. 

This week, the team was notified that they received the 2012 Under Secretary for Health’s Award for Innovation in VA Community Living Centers.  This award is given to a VA that has shown real leadership and innovation in veterans’ care.  The organization receiving this award has shown change in the following areas: work practices, care practices, environment of care, leadership, and government and community relationships.

This award is a testament to the determination and passion of all the individuals involved in this effort.  A comment from one veteran who said, “I never thought I would be living in a home again” or a staff member who stated that “I look forward to coming to work and I am in no hurry to leave at the end of my shift” is all the proof they need to know this initiative was worth it.

Tomah Veterans Green House groundbreaking featured on local news

Tomah Veterans Affairs Medical Center Green House homes were featured on the local news. They broke ground on their two homes, and are planning to open in Spring of 2014. As State Commander, John Fredrickson said, these homes will be, “more of a family-like atmosphere” for the veterans.

WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Bringing Game-Changing Ideas to Scale

The Green House Project has been called the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s (RWJF) signature example of bringing game-changing ideas to scale. It started with an idea 12 years ago for a housing and skilled-nursing care environment that could provide a better, warmer, and more dignified alternative to traditional nursing home facilities for frail elders. Today, there are 137 Green House homes in 22 states across the U.S., with many more in development.

In this case study for The Green House Project, Jane Isaacs Lowe, Vulnerable Populations team director at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), shares the strategy around bringing an innovation to scale.  She believes that “when it comes to nurturing social innovation and bringing effective solutions to where they are needed most, this is the dawn of a new era.”

To read the full article, click here


Tuscaloosa VA Medical Center Celebrates The Opening of Their First Green House Home

It was a clear sky with not one cloud to cause a shadow on what was about to commence:  the ribbon cutting on the first of 12 Green House homes to care for the veterans who so selflessly gave their lives to fight for the American way of life Freedom.

 Around 200 people attended the gathering in the perfect 70 degree weather.  There were 10 individuals who were all dressed the same and when they were introduced no one was surprised as they were already caring for the veterans who would live in the homes.  These 10 people were the Guardians and were wearing light blue polo shirts with khaki pants. The 10 veterans were introduced to the crowd and it was an honor to hear that they were Vietnam and Korean War Vets who would be the first to move in and live there.  Mr. Tyler spoke to the reason why they were chosen by telling a story about the Vietnam War and how when the war changed due to changes in the Vietnamese’s tactics our men were physically left in dangerous situations and also publically back in the states our men were forgotten as it was not a popular war.  Mr. Tyler dedicated the first of these homes to them because they will never forget them.

Dr. Powers, Associate Chief Staff Geriatric and Extended Care spoke to the need to care for those veterans who have dementia and how these homes are the best place to serve individuals with dementia because of the home environment.  He mentioned that some colleagues had asked him if the home would be wasted on those individuals because of their memory loss.  He mentioned a story of how the brain, mind and soul work in every human being.  The brain is the hardware, the mind is the software and the soul is what makes us human.  He told a story of a soldier who recently won an important medal for his heroism.  This soldier ended up saving 7 of his group when he went against orders to pull back.  His brain was telling him to turn away for his own safety, his mind knew the consequences of not following orders but his soul is what was the humanity that made him go in and save those people.  So even if our brain and mind are not functioning our soul is always there and that is why the homes are perfect for those living with dementia because it is home and their souls will flourish living there.

 The name of the home was unveiled at the ceremony and was chosen by the veterans and the Guardians.  It will be called The Magnolia House.

Every Home Has A Story

At a recent conference attended by our Green House Guide, Rhonda Wolpert, she heard Dr. Bill Thomas explain how important it is that a home has a story. At our Home Blessing, Laura Voth and Doug Luginbill shared the initial stories of the first two Green House homes in Ohio. House A, or 101 Willow Ridge Drive, has become Betty House and is named after Betty and Dallas Bash. Betty lived at Mennonite Memorial Home for 25 years. Dallas lived there for 3 years as well. During those 25 years Betty, Dallas and their family modeled the commitment, dedication, and love that makes family relationships successful. We pray that this same spirit of love and commitment will grace Betty House long into the future. House B or 103 Willow Ridge Drive is named Frieda House after James and Frieda Basinger. James and Frieda grew up in Bluffton and attended Bluffton University. Their careers took them to various locations throughout the country and they retired in Bisbee, AZ. While they never lived in Bluffton after college, the Basingers did not forget their family and friends in Bluffton. For three years Frieda made a $1000 gift at Christmas-time with the instruction, “Make the resident’s lives brighter.” Frieda passed away in 2009. It was only then that we discovered Bluffton University and Mennonite Home Communities were named as the sole recipients of their estate, each receiving over $500,000. This was the gift MHCO needed to move forward with Willow Ridge. We pray that the lives of the elders at Frieda House will always remain bright.


THE GREEN HOUSE® Project works with local organizations to transform the way we deliver nursing home care in America – moving from institutional programs to real homes offering licensed nursing home services, control, and meaningful lives to people of all incomes with skilled nursing needs. The Green House Project is a joint initiative between NCB Capital Impact, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and Dr. William Thomas. Capital Impact provides technical consulting services and financing opportunities to organizations interested in implementing Green House homes. To learn more, Click Here for the fact sheet